Yankee Blue or Rebel Grey?: The Civil War Adventures of Sam Shaw (I Am American Series)

Overview

As cousins take up arms against one another and America's bloodiest war unfolds, young Sam Shaw grows to realize that choosing sides in the conflict is far more complicated than he had thought. Connell details significant battles and profiles key historical figures as she conveys the heart-wrenching turbulence of a family and nation divides.

Illustrated text, letters, and diary excerpts follow the fictional Abbotts in Ohio, whose son fights for the Union, and their ...

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Overview

As cousins take up arms against one another and America's bloodiest war unfolds, young Sam Shaw grows to realize that choosing sides in the conflict is far more complicated than he had thought. Connell details significant battles and profiles key historical figures as she conveys the heart-wrenching turbulence of a family and nation divides.

Illustrated text, letters, and diary excerpts follow the fictional Abbotts in Ohio, whose son fights for the Union, and their relatives in Tennessee, who support the Confederacy, during the Civil War.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
As America divided in the War Between the States, so did the families of America. Sam Shaw is the younger brother of Eli, a Rebel soldier; their cousin Henry fights for the Union army. Despite the title of the book, Sam's experiences are really secondary to those of Eli, Henry and their mothers, who are sisters. Nonetheless, his character, who ages from 13 to 16 during the course of the book, gives the target reader a peer with whom to identify. Readers who thought slavery was the cause of the Civil War will learn how that issue was symptomatic of the larger one of states' rights. But interpersonal relationships take center stage in this account, which focuses less on political aspects and instead on the enormous physical and emotional toll of the war. The book is one in the "I Am American" series from National Geographic, which also includes titles exploring Colonial America, the Oregon Trail and Ellis Island immigration. As would be expected, the books highlight the importance of place in America's past, using a format that combines background narrative text with letters and journal entries from a fictional family to supply a human touch. While keeping a strict chronology, these slim volumes avoid getting bogged down in the sequence of events, focusing instead on the feelings of ordinary people who changed and were changed by America's history. The combination of different illustration styles is well-executed; photographs, when available, are particularly good. Each title includes a glossary and a limited reader's guide that includes internet resources and a few questions and exercises encouraging readers to think further on the subject. 2003, National Geographic Society, Ages 8 to 12.
—Diane Frook
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792251798
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 6/10/2003
  • Series: I Am American Series
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.06 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 0.13 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 1, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Yankee Blue or Rebel Gray?

    Yankee Blue or Rebel Gray? The Civil War Adventures of Sam Shaw is an instructive introduction to young readers on the Civil War. The book is a blend of factual history with the fictional Shaw and Abbott families. Even though the title says that the book is the adventures of 13 year-old Saw Shaw, the story actually belongs to his mother Julia who lives with her family in a farm near Franklin, Tennessee and the correspondence with her sister Edwina in Columbus, Ohio. Both women have a son who leaves for war, one for the Union another for the Confederacy. What really stands out in this book is that the author Kate Connell captures the spirit of how Americans wrote during the Civil War, which makes the letters and dairy entrees; while simplistic for young readers, accurate. Though it is impossible that two sisters from the North and South during the Civil War would have been able to have kept in contact. The epilogue was realistic, without any of the "they lived happily every after" immediately after the war stuff.

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