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Boys War

Boys War

3.0 2
by Jim Murphy

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First-hand accounts including diary entries and personal letters, describe the experiences of boys 16-years-old or younger who fought in the Civil War. More than 50 archival photographs.


First-hand accounts including diary entries and personal letters, describe the experiences of boys 16-years-old or younger who fought in the Civil War. More than 50 archival photographs.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers of Russell Freedman's Newbery-winning Lincoln: A Photobiography , viewers of the recent PBS Civil War documentary series and even Nintendo-addicted preteens will find themselves immediately caught up in this dramatic and at times tragic book. Murphy's exemplary narrative history of the Civil War focuses on the contribution of boys--some as young as nine, many not yet teens. He skillfully interweaves excerpts from the diaries and letters of countless young men who, either seeking escape from the drudgery of farm work or embracing fantasies of glory, participated in America's most brutal and bloody war. Handsomely produced, the book does not shrink from presenting the stark images of youngsters killed or mutilated in battle. The extensive use of contemporary archival photos reinforces the power of the understated text. Ages 9-14. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
It has been estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of all soldiers in the Civil War were under 16 years of age - some 250,000 to 420,000 of them. In his remarkable account, Mr. Murphy traces the war's progress from the youngsters' perspectives, interweaving his narrative with excerpts from their diaries, letters, and journal. The eager enlistees' evolution to disillusioned, battle-scarred, and weary survivors is powerfully dramatized by the stark, sepia photographs, particularly those of battlefields littered with the dead. This is an invaluable resource for any discussion of war - today's of yesterdays'.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-- Making extensive use of the actual words--culled from diaries, journals, memoirs, and letters--of boys who served in the Union and Confederate armies as fighting soldiers as well as drummers, buglers, and telegraphers, Murphy describes the beginnings of the Civil War and goes on to delineate the military role of the underage soldiers and their life in the camps and field bivouacs. Also included is a description of the boys' return home and the effects upon them of their wartime experiences. Boys 16 years and younger, Murphy states, made up perhaps as much as 10-20 percent of the total number of soldiers who served in the Civil War. Little did these boys realize that they would become like young Pvt. Henry Graves, who was able to `` `look on the carcass of a man with pretty much such feeling as I would do were it a horse or hog.' '' Private Henry and his contemporaries were direct and simple in their observations and possessed, says Murphy, ``an eye for everyday details.'' Their accounts bring to life, as no other versions can, the Civil War and all of its glories and horrors. An excellent selection of more than 45 sepia-toned contemporary photographs augment the text of this informative, moving work. --David A. Lindsey, Lakewood Junior/Senior High School, WA

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.25(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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Boys War 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Beagle99 More than 1 year ago
This book was great, great resource for history. Sometimes reality is hurtful to hear but we need to hear it so history is not repeated...used it as a resource book for homeschool.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book and it was the worst book I ever read. It made me cry to hear what the boys went through. War is stupid. I was required to read this for a 5th grade project to learn about how authors write non-fiction work, what resources they may use and the different types of structure to show how an event took place. I think this is an inappropriate book for 5th graders.