Children's Literature - Kathleen KarrSmalls was the pilot of a cotton steamer in the Charleston harbor who managed to "boatnap" his ship and deliver it to Union naval forces in 1862. Along with the boat he also rescued his wife and children and the families of his black crew from slavery. Through the story of this one forgotten hero, Cooper also explains the milieu of slavery within anti-bellum and wartime Charleston, and the continuing struggle of freedmen during the period of Reconstruction. This slim volume, studded with excellent period illustrations and informative maps, goes far in explicating the greater causes and purposes of the Civil War through the microcosm of one incident.
School Library JournalGr 5-8-Smalls was a slave in Charleston, SC, who worked as the pilot on a cotton steamer. In May, 1862, he and eight crew members commandeered the boat and, after stopping to pick up family members, ``defected'' to the Yankees. He went on to become a hero in the African American community and a U.S. Congressman. Cooper brings his story to life quite well, elucidating the confusing era of Reconstruction so that it is easily understood. The book includes a good glossary and black-and-white reproductions. A wonderful addition to any library, filling a much-needed gap in biographical material for this era and adding some diversity to Civil War collections.-Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN
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