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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 11 up.
This story in the "Historical Fiction Adventures" series tells the tale of a seventeen-year-old boy who decides to join the Union forces, specifically, the elite Zouaves during the Civil War. The narrative follows young Jesse Bowman's story and does an excellent job of incorporating real events such as Civil War battles, weapons, uniforms, rations, living conditions, and the effects of the war on both soldiers and civilians. The characterization and dialog are less smooth. Various issues are addressed that pertain to the Civil War in particular, such as the issue of slavery, and some that can apply to any war, such as treatment, and mistreatment, of civilians. The young Jesse Bowman who is so eager to become a Union soldier for the sheer excitement of it soon sees the darker side of war. An interesting section at the end gives historical information about the Zouaves in particular and the Civil War in general. Reviewer: Kathryn Erskine