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Abby McGanney NolanWarren doesn't skimp on the deprivation, disease and destruction felt all around, but neither does she ignore a child's excitement.
—The Washington Post
This detailed look at the Battle of Vicksburg takes the tack of viewing the siege through the eyes of three children who were eyewitnesses and left written records of their experiences. Lucy McRae, 10, was a young resident from an upper-crust family. Her experiences of living in the caves that the Vicksburg residents dug to keep themselves safe during the shelling certainly draw parallels with those of children in modern-day locations such as Sarajevo. Willie Lord, 11, shared a similar experience to Lucy's. His family was broken up when his fragile mother was evacuated with the children to the countryside, only to find that she could not manage without her husband, the local pastor. They, too, dealt with life in the caves. Frederick Grant, 12, the son of Union General Ulysses S. Grant, accompanied his father throughout the campaign. His narrative gives the Union perspective. Excellent use of primary-source documents, maps, diagrams, and period reproductions adds depth and interest to what is almost a day-by-day recounting of this crucial siege. This volume is not only an excellent source for reports but is riveting historical reading as well. Pair it with Jim Murphy's The Boys' War (Clarion, 1990) for a look at America's bloodiest conflict through the eyes of its youth.-Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA
"This volume is not only an excellent source for reports but is riveting historical reading as well." —School Library Journal
"The constant bombardment of the town; the very real dangers and inconveniences of hiding in Mississippi River caves; and the alternately festive and morbidly curious citizens of Vicksburg, who would regularly view the battle—all combine to present readers with an 1863 seldom pictured in textbooks." —The Horn Book
* "The many quotes offer insights into the points of view of Vicksburg residents and soldiers on both sides of the conflict. . . . Vivid, informative history." —Booklist, starred review
"A unique perspective on a pivotal Civil War campaign." —Kirkus Reviews
Posted June 8, 2009
Under Siege! Is another wonderful "you are there" history experience for young readers. How amazing to be able to read the words of three people who as children experienced, firsthand, the siege of Vicksburg.
Not only does one get a sense of what it must to have been like to cower in the hastily dug caves while the Union army shelled the town, but one also gets a full accounting of the battle from the Union side, through the eyes of Frederick Grant, who stood beside his father, Ulysses Grant, one of the giants of the Civil War.
With the maps and the accounts of the battles leading up to Vicksburg, readers can see just how important geography was in the war. They'll get a clear idea of the strategic importance of Vicksburg to the Union cause.
Children also will be intrigued with the photographs and drawings - especially the newspaper printed on the back of wallpaper during the siege.
I've bought two copies of this fascinating book for two 12-year-old grandsons, who are history buffs.
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Posted May 21, 2013