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I have never read a Civil War tale that moved me the way that this one did. I have never read a Civil War tale that was written as a series of free-verse poetry journal entries. The journal is broken into five sections. A letter is included at the end. This structure gets the reader emotionally involved with Everly’s external and internal struggles.
The journal begins on April 1, 1861. This section is called “The Pacifist”. Kendal Everly and his students are safe in his classroom. His students are excited about the war, but they have no idea exactly what this war is going to give and take away from them. Then he decides to enlist in the Union army. His decision makes him think of the innocent way his children mimic the soldiers they admire.
As he dons his Union uniform, the reader enters the “In the Blue Suit” section of his journal. His first journal entry, after he enters the army, is dated May 25, 1861. Summers brings in allusions to adventurers and Greek gods. The sword he carries on his hip becomes Zeus’ lightning bolt and the gold buttons on his suit are the eyes of Ares. On their down time, the students ask Everly to tell them tales of Robin Hood and The Musketeers. He hopes that they will be as victorious as the heroes in stories he tells.
This book would be a wonderful addition to a Civil War collection or on the shelves of a classroom. So much knowledge can be farmed from this work of literature. Besides the knowledge, the emotional conversation you can have this text is one worth having. I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
Review by: Valeria A.
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