Rifles for Watie

Rifles for Watie

by Harold Keith
4.7 75

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Overview

Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith

Jeff Bussey walked briskly up the rutted wagon road toward Fort Leavenworth on his way to join the Union volunteers. It was 1861 in Linn County, Kansas, and Jeff was elated at the prospect of fighting for the North at last.

In the Indian country south of Kansas there was dread in the air; and the name, Stand Watie, was on every tongue. A hero to the rebel, a devil to the Union man, Stand Watie led the Cherokee Indian Na-tion fearlessly and successfully on savage raids behind the Union lines. Jeff came to know the Watie men only too well.

He was probably the only soldier in the West to see the Civil War from both sides and live to tell about it. Amid the roar of cannon and the swish of flying grape, Jeff learned what it meant to fight in battle. He learned how it felt never to have enough to eat, to forage for his food or starve. He saw the green fields of Kansas and Okla-homa laid waste by Watie's raiding parties, homes gutted, precious corn deliberately uprooted. He marched endlessly across parched, hot land, through mud and slash-ing rain, always hungry, always dirty and dog-tired.And, Jeff, plain-spoken and honest, made friends and enemies. The friends were strong men like Noah Babbitt, the itinerant printer who once walked from Topeka to Galveston to see the magnolias in bloom; boys like Jimmy Lear, too young to carry a gun but old enough to give up his life at Cane Hill; ugly, big-eared Heifer, who made the best sourdough biscuits in the Choctaw country; and beautiful Lucy Washbourne, rebel to the marrow and proud of it. The enemies were men of an-other breed - hard-bitten Captain Clardy for one, a cruel officer with hatred for Jeff in his eyes and a darksecret on his soul.

This is a rich and sweeping novel-rich in its panorama of history; in its details so clear that the reader never doubts for a moment that he is there; in its dozens of different people, each one fully realized and wholly recognizable. It is a story of a lesser—known part of the Civil War, the Western campaign, a part different in its issues and its problems, and fought with a different savagery. Inexorably it moves to a dramatic climax, evoking a brilliant picture of a war and the men of both sides who fought in it.

Winner, 1958 Newbery Medal
Notable Children's Books of 1957 (ALA)
1964 Lewis Carroll Shelf Award

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780694056132
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date: 06/24/1987
Age Range: 12 - 14 Years

About the Author

Harold Keith grew up near the Cherokee country he describes in Rifles for Watie.A native Oklahoman, he was edu-cated at Northwestern State Teachers College at Alva and at the University of Oklahoma.

While traveling in eastern Oklahoma doing research on his master's thesis in history, Mr. Keith found a great deal of fresh material about the Civil War in the Indian country. Deciding he might someday write a historical novel, he interviewed twenty—two Civil War veterans then living in Oklahoma and Arkansas; much of the background of Rifles for Watiecame from the note-books he filled at that time. The actual writing of this book took five years.

Since 1930, the author has been sports publicity director at the University of Oklahoma. He is married and has a son and daughter.

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Rifles for Watie 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
bru888 More than 1 year ago
This is the book that began my lifelong interest in history. Why it is not available as a Nook Book is somewhat puzzling. Along with "Johnny Tremain," which also won John Newbery Medal and IS available as a Nook Book, "Rifles for Watie" is a book that I hope to interest my grandson in (unfortunately, my own kids never took an interest in history). To that end, I just purchased it for the third time in my life.
Pentax_Pastor More than 1 year ago
I read this book shortly after it came out when I was in the 7th grade. I loved it then and have since purchased it for my own library. I even read it to my children when they were young and they loved it too. Wonderful story and told in an extremely entertaining and fascinating way. Superb book about a significant period of American history and told from a very different perspective than most other books about the American Civil War.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book ,I thought, was very boring in the beginning but got more exciting later in the end and middle!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Rifles for Watie", in my opinion, is the best book ever written. At the beginning of the story the main character, Jeff Bussey, is on his way to sign up for the union army. He thinks he is going to get glory and fame, but he has no idea what he is in for. The war actually makes him stronger because he has to think on his toes constantly, forage for food, and watch his new friends die from war. He is sent to the confederate army as a union spy. He did not expect to make friends with the rebels, but he finds out that the whole war is basically just normal people fighting about their opinions. While with the the confederate army, Jeff falls in love with a southern girl named Lucy Washbourne. This isn't your typical war book. It is sort of an action/ romance novella in a civil war setting. Harold Keith, the author, did a great job of telling about the Civil War from both sides. He captured a good idea of what would've been going through the soldier's heads. I admit that I was lost once or twice throughout the story, but I was never lost for long. Harold Keith did very well when it came to making sure the readers don't get bored. It is one of those books that are hard to put down. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the all time great books. Not "just another Civil War" book. Truly shows how complex this conflict really was. The best way I have found to show people that there were no "good guys" and "bad guys" in the Civil War. Truly makes the point that it was not black and white!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an extremely excellent book to read for all ages. I personally dislike historical books, but after reading this book it has definitely changed my output on historical books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! Even though I mostly read books of the fantasy genre, when I started reading Rifles for Watie I couldn't put it down!! This book is a must read for all ages! My friend and I both agree it should be made into a movie....
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book talks about a young man going through war and how he perceives everything around him. I have never been good with understanding history which did not help when reading this book. I would highly recommend having a good amount of knowledge of the Civil War before reading this book. Although I did find it an interesting read when I read the parts about their day to day lives. I would also suggest reading the author's comments about the story in the back of book afterward. I would recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved the adventure in this book. The best part of the book is when Jeff is escaping from the Confederate Army.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book back in Junior High, but unto this very day I still remember Rifles for Watie. I my own opinion this book is a classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
rifles for watie is a historical book. I personally do not care for these types of books but since it was adventureous it was kind of enjoying. i recommend it to any body who enjoys the civil war.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. I loved every page and couldn't put it down until I was finished. It has the old Disney theme to it. If you are good and honest then good things will happen to you. This book is also uplifting in the attatude toward people. There are good people out there no matter what side they are fighting on. The world doesn't always have to be the dark horrible place that we often think it to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that Rifles for Watie was an interesting mix between adventure and a little bit of a love story. Thankfully, the adventure overshadowed the love part. I thought it had good historical accuracy and was a very good book. I think that it was very deserving of the Newbery Medal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book! If you have to read a war novel for an English class this is the one for you!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i think that the book Rifles for Watie is an okay book. I am almost done with it. My english teacher told us to read it. It's not the best book, but if you like reading about histrical stuff, this is the book for you! I'm not saying this book is bad, I am just saying that I personally don't like it a lot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a very desctiptive and an interesting book... i've read it twice and want to read it again... no wonder it won an award!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Praise to Harold Keith for including extraordinary depth within his literature. This novel was not just a story line, but a explanation of the main character, Jefferson Davis Bussey, and his personality. Keith continued throughout the story to have Jeff's decisions be consistent with his personality which lead the reader to experience everything Jeff was going through, and that, is what truly makes a great novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I read it at school, and even though most books you read at school get boring, this one didn't. It is definitely one of the best books I've ever read, and I read A LOT, so that's saying something. Amazing. I would recommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My fourth grade teacher read it to the class back in 1967. I've never forgotten it. What a wonderful book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently read the outstanding book by Harold Keith, called 'Rifles for Watie.' This book was an historical fiction phenomenon. This book received every bit of the 5 stars for its remarkable plot, description and intensity. I live in a North Carolina and I am a middle school student who loves to play soccer and talk with friends. 'Rifles for Watie' is superior story centered around the Civil War. Jefferson Davis Bussey, the main character, is a courageous farm boy whose only dream is to support the North by joining the Union. Harold Keith's descriptions of the war practically put you inside a soldier's boots. Jeff met some very trustful friends and enemies through his adventures with the Union. The plot of 'Rifles for Watie' was mainly about the story of how Jeff coped with all of the adversities of war. Throughout the war, Jeff had to cope with death of friends, homesickness, and being yelled at by a sergeant with personal issues. Keith describes Jeff's emotions and feelings so well, you can compare Jeff's thoughts and actions to how you would react in his situation. I would highly recommend this book to historical fiction readers and people who have an interest in wars. I would also recommend these titles: 'All Quiet on the Western Front, Watership Down, The Swiss Family Robinson, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book rules! i had to read it for a book report and i just kept on reading and was done in like 3 days. The book makes you feel like you sre right with Jeff and his friends in the civil war action! the author makes the book come alive for all the readers! read it and see what i mean
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a civil war project. At first it seemed really boring but I ended up liking it! It's an ok book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
one of the best books i read
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading this book I just couldn't put it down. So I would suggest this book to anyone who asks for a good book. So if you want a good book to read pick up a copy of rifles for watie and find a comfortable spot where you can be alone and Just Read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I had to chose a book about the Civil War for a book report in fifth grade. I hadn't really read a lot about the Civil War before I read this book but I had learned some about the war in school. A lot of the reviews said it was boring but I decided to read it anyway. I was expecting it to be somewhat boring!! I am so glad I picked it up and read it!! It was very informative and from what I had learned accurate as well.