Jesse Bowman: A Union Boy's War Story

Jesse Bowman: A Union Boy's War Story

by Tom McGowen

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
AGERANGE: 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

School Library Journal

Gr 4-6- Jesse, 16, admires the dress uniforms and the soldiers of the Chicago Zouaves and eagerly enlists, looking forward to excitement and adventure. He soon discovers that the issues behind the fighting are much more complex than he had understood; during his travels, he meets an abolitionist soldier, befriends the daughter of a slave owner, and watches his fellow soldiers pillage a Southern town. The battle scenes are gripping and filled with descriptions of the life of a soldier. The book concludes with an 11-page section, A "Real History Behind the Story," which includes information about the Zouaves and the war itself, as well as a map and reproductions. The attention to detail sometimes makes the prose clunky, but readers interested in the Civil War will enjoy the story.-Kathleen Meulen, Blakely Elementary School, Bainbridge Island, WA

Product Details

Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date:
Historical Fiction Adventures Series
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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