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With Every Drop of Blood: A Novel of the Civil War

With Every Drop of Blood: A Novel of the Civil War

4.2 11
by James Lincoln Collier, Christopher Collier

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Fourteen-year-old Johnny promised his father, who was gravely wounded while fighting for the South, that he would take care of the family and not run off to fight. But when there's a request to take his mules and wagon on a bold mission to supply the Rebel troops, Johnny can't resist the chance for revenge as well as a good payday. Times are tough without his father


Fourteen-year-old Johnny promised his father, who was gravely wounded while fighting for the South, that he would take care of the family and not run off to fight. But when there's a request to take his mules and wagon on a bold mission to supply the Rebel troops, Johnny can't resist the chance for revenge as well as a good payday. Times are tough without his father on the farm, and food is scarce for everyone. But his plan goes awry when he's captured by Cush, a runaway slave. Johnny doesn't like taking orders from a black man, but he has no choice: He's heading for prison camp wondering what will become of his family and himself. Along the way, he learns some surprising views about the war, forms an unlikely bond with Cush, and finds his long-held feelings about the issues surrounding the Civil War brought into question. This critically acclaimed novel is geared for children Grades 5 and up.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Collier brothers ( My Brother Sam Is Dead ) here paint a strong, affecting picture of the Civil War era, of the grueling work and privations of the home front as well the chaos and carnage of the battlefield. When Pa is wounded in action in 1864 and comes home to die, he extracts a promise from Johnny, the book's 14-year-old narrator, to stay on their farm in Virginia and look after the family. But a few months after Pa's death, Johnny undertakes a dangerous mission to bring food into besieged Richmond--and maybe avenge his father's honor. Instead, he and the family's team of mules are captured by Blue Coats; even worse (to him), the soldiers are black, and the youth suffers the ignominy of taking orders from a former slave his own age, Cush Turner. At first Johnny takes advantage of his captor's kindliness, but ultimately he becomes friends with Cush and even saves his life. When the war ends, Cush and Johnny set off toward home together, the latter observing, ``For sure it is going to be a long time before kids of slaves and kids of slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood,'' but adding that staying friends is worth a try. The sensitive treatment of this unlikely relationship recalls Patricia Calvert's equally fine novel, Bigger . Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
The ALAN Review - Charles R. Duke
While trying to transport food to the Confederate troops, young Johnny is captured by a Yankee - Cush, a runaway slave. Although Johnny has trouble accepting Cush as his equal, eventually the two come to appreciate each other, and Johnny ends up rescuing Cush when he is captured by the Rebels. The story highlights the division between whites and blacks at the time of the Civil War, but it also shows in a very human way how such differences can be overcome when survival becomes a common bond. The narrative moves quickly, and the events that bring the characters together are historically true. Though the book contains some racial slurs, the authors provide a clear historical context for their presence in the story. Boys age ten and above should find this a fast-moving, thought-provoking story about the Civil War and about the role that race played in it.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Like Patricia Beatty's Turn Homeward, Hannalee (Morrow, 1984) and Paul Fleischman's Bull Run (HarperCollins, 1993), this title gives readers a vivid portrayal of the Civil War. Johnny, 14, promises his dying father that he'll stay on their Virginia farm with his mother and younger sisters. The opportunity to strike a blow against the Union Army is irresistible, however, and the boy convinces his mother to let him join a wagon train carrying food to Confederate soldiers. He has been brought up to believe that all blacks are stupid; thus, when captured by a black Union soldier about his age who insists that Johnny teach him to read, he deliberately tricks him. Reaching the Union camp, Johnny is surprised when Cush saves him from imprisonment; as the novel concludes, he saves Cush's life. Richly drawn, the two boys exhibit many of the foibles found in people everywhere, and their developing friendship is believable. Authentic battle scenes add spice to the story. A two-page foreword discusses the use of the word ``nigger'' in the book. Sure to become popular.-Jo-Anne Weinberg, Greenburgh Public Library, NY
Hazel Rochman
We'd got to be friends by mistake. The theme of my enemy, my friend is at the core of this docu-novel of the Civil War. Johnny, 14, a young, white rebel soldier, is captured by a black Union soldier, Cush, a runaway slave. As they get to know each other in the mess and slaughter of battle and retreat, the two boys gradually lose their mutual distrust, and each risks his life to save the other. In a first-person narrative, Johnny describes his own change of heart from bigotry to the recognition that Cush is a person and that slavery is wrong. His own family was too poor to own slaves, but Johnny has been raised with the prevailing stereotypes about niggers. A preface entitled About the Use of the Word Nigger in This Book explains that historical accuracy requires the use of the term, that many of the kinds of people portrayed here would have used that term, and no other. It's the large canvas that will draw readers to the story, especially the facts about the battles in all their confusion and terror, though there is also some sense of the Southern kid who's not at all sure what he's fighting for. And no easy comfort is offered; whatever the outcome of the war, Cush and Johnny know that racism is still a bitter reality.

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Blackstone Publishing
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Meet the Author

Born in New York City in 1928, author James Lincoln Collier is beloved by young readers in particular for the award-winning historical novels he has written with his brother, historian Christopher Collier. A graduate of Hamilton College, Collier served in the U.S. Army after college and then worked as a magazine editor for several years. Perhaps his most famous children's book is the Newbery Honor Book he wrote with his brother, the popular Revolutionary War story My Brother Sam Is Dead. The father of two children, Collier is also an accomplished trombone player. He lives in New York City, where he continues to write and play jazz music. Christopher Collier was born in New York City in 1930. He attended Clark University where he earned his B.A. and he received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has taught school in Connecticut and at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is currently Professor of American History at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. Like his brother James, Christopher Collier is by avocation a musician (his instruments are the trumpet and flugelhorn). He and his wife Bonnie live in Orange, Connecticut, in an old (1790) house they have restored. He is the father of two sons and a daughter.

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With Every Drop of Blood 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very good, dont get me wrong here. My only problem is this is not the full book we have here. The book I'm using in class has over 136 pages, where as this one only has 125.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read it in school and i really enjoyed it i would really recomend it to anyone older than10 if you really want to understand it and the full meaning. It is areally good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a stunning book about friendship during the Civil War despite the fact of race differneces the Colliers have done a great job with this book, and i recommend it to anyone who loves a story about friendship and doesn't mind a few gory war scenes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
With Every Drop of Blood is a really good book. I had to read it in reading class this year and didn't want to put it down at all to do the worksheets that my teacher passed out for it. I usually don't like reading about war because it's too gory, but James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier did a wonderful job at describing the war just enough. The two authors also did an awsome job at the dialog. They made the characters talk the way you would have heard them talk if you had been right there during the Civil War. I also think the message in the book was quite clear in this book, and a meaningful one at that. I would recommend this book to young adults who would understand the dialog well and know what the characters are saying and to everyone who loves to read about historical wars, friendship, and getting to know people better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this story first when I was in the 5th grade, and just now, 4 years later it is still a good read. Very descriptive, really has a lot of feeling and emotion. I still love it, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good book on the Civil War, or even just looking for a good story to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brian Schreur Mrs. McCormack English, 8Z Book Review With Every Drop of Blood James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier Action Johnny is a southerner who lives during the Civil War. When the opportunity of a lifetime comes along, Johnny can't resist. The Colliers way to add suspense and drama to a book is unmatched. Johnny is a loving boy who only wants the best for his family. After his pa dies, he promises he wouldn't get involved with the War, but in order to provide the best, he has to disobey Pa. When he makes his journey, a few things go wrong along the way, and Johnny has to make some vital decisions that could cost his life. Throughout the book, I made connections from With Every Drop of Blood, to The Giver; and movies such as "The Gladiator." One connection that I made was when Johnny was captured, to a scene in "The Gladiator." Another connection I made was how Johnny was frightened after being caught by Confederate Soldiers. I compared that to the scene in The Giver, where Jonas is frightened on his way to Elsewhere. Although this book was really good, there were parts where the reading was difficult. Some strategies I used included: Rereading, Picturing back, asking questions, and making predictions. Most of all, I wouldn't put the book down because if there was I spot I couldn't understand, and I put the book down, I couldn't understand it later. All I would do is reread until it made sense, and then I would move on. Overall, I rate this book a nine out of ten.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was assigned to read this book for an english class and i personally had no interest in it. but after reading all the problems and situations that the lead character, johnny, goes through while befriending a black boy the same age, i couldn't put it down. all the things the two go through was worth reading and it really shows the meaning of friendship within two races and against racism. it was a great book overall, besides the few detailed battle scenes. i must-read for any teenager.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book titled'With Every Drop of Blood' is extremely well-written and is exciting. I definitely reccommend this book to anyone who likes to read about the Civil War.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An excellent and informative novel that captivates and moves any reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book not only helped me learn about the Civil War, but it helped me learn about how people were treated because of where you were from.