Part of the "Young Readers' History of the Civil War" series, this finely detailed and richly illustrated book tells the story of African-Americans involvement in the Civil War. Filled with period photographs and drawings, the author effectively combines narrative with documents and memoirs in this compelling historical account. When the war began at Ft. Sumter, South Carolina, African-Americans throughout the United States recognized the conflagration as a struggle for their freedom, long before Abraham Lincoln or other leaders of the day reached the same conclusion. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, besides ending slavery in the Confederacy, also authorized the recruitment of blacks to serve as soldiers in the Union army. By the end of the war, nearly 180,000 blacks fought for the Union, giving the United States invaluable assistance in vanquishing the Confederacy and eradicating the invidious institution of slavery. Besides detailing the exploits of African-American soldiers and their treatment by whites on both sides of the battlefield, this book also documents how, with its back against the wall, the Confederacy even employed black soldiers in the last days of the war in a futile attempt to stave off defeat. This title is ideal for school libraries and young readers with a zest for knowledge.
Gr 5-8-Two additions to one of the best series on the Civil War in recent years. In Reconstruction, Mettger faces the daunting task of explaining the confusing post-Civil War era, a time she defines as ``a period of great hope and crushing disappointment.'' She accomplishes her goal with a clearly written, well-explained history. Unflinching in the details about lynchings, the Ku Klux Klan, and corrupt governments, she manages to put a human face on the times. In Till Victory Is Won, the author reports on the many ways African Americans participated in the Civil War. Of course, the famous Massachusetts 54th Regiment is covered. But the little-knowns are not neglected-people like ex-slave Robert Smalls, who stole a steam ship from the middle of Charleston harbor and ``defected'' to the North; or Lt. Robert Isabelle of the Louisiana Native Guards. Both books have many good-quality photographs and reproductions. As with the rest of the books in this series, these two volumes should be in heavy demand by report writers and history buffs.-Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN