When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 (Dear America Series)

by Dear America

Hardcover, 1996



Local notes

Fic Dea





Scholastic Inc. (1996), Edition: Library Binding, 156 pages


The diary of a fictional fourteen-year-old girl living in Virginia, in which she describes the hardships endured by her family and friends during one year of the Civil War.


Original language


Physical description

156 p.; 7.7 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member sgerbic
Reviewed December 2006

Quick read, but grabs you as the other Dear America books do. Emma is 14 or 15 years old living in Virgina. Her family is very anti-abolitionist and father is fighting in the war on the Confederate side. Brother Cole dies on the first page and death is mentioned nearly every
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10 pages. One diary entry is almost perfect with what I read in the "For Cause and Comrades," book, and that is about how Yankee soldiers would ask for $500 not to burn a Southerners house down. After escaping from these men another group would arrive demanding the same thing until there was no more money and then the house would be burnt down. This diary gives sympathy to the South, but only some. They cannot see that holding slaves was wrong, white power was wrong and treating slaves as if they were a farm animal was condescending and made it difficult to feel sympathy for them. In the "C and C" book the Yankees talk about how backwards the South is, the slaves did everything and industrialization didn't take hold as they had the slaves to do the labor. I also despised how the Southern women said they cleaned the house till it was spotless, when they were just supervising the cleaning.

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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
This diary captures the civil war from the perspective of an adolescent, southern girl living on a plantation. Because she is in Virginia, her home and her family's livelihood, along with those of many of the neighbors, is ruined and stolen by enemy soldiers. While it's more sympathetic to the
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southern perspective, it would be a good story for teaching point of view in a historical context.
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LibraryThing member meggyweg
I read this six or seven years ago and am writing this review from what I remember. God, this book was boring. Many of the diary entries were only one or two sentences long, for example "I washed my hair today." Also, the protagonist was obsessed with the novel Jane Eyre and kept making references
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to it, which I found annoying because I've never read Jane Eyre and, I suspect, most of the target audience of 9 to 12 year olds wouldn't have read it either. I suppose it was a bit of a novelty to read about the Civil War from the side of ordinary southern gentry (a perspective you don't often see) but there must be better books with that perspective. Give this one a miss.
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LibraryThing member nataliev1311
This book takes you into the mind and heart of Emma Simpson as she faces the realities of living in Virginia during the Civil War. Though a quick read, this diary-style book captures the tragedy of war felt by all sides of the conflict. The true gem of the book is the epilogue and following pages
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with information about the Civil War and what life was like during those times. It's interesting to read about the real Emma Simpson and how her life unfolds after the books' end. The facts about the war and everyday life add needed layers to the book. It's this exploration that give the book life, as the reader then knows for certain this girl did exist and lived through much tragedy while also placing events in a larger context.
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LibraryThing member awiltenburg
The journal of Emma Simpson, in 1864 VA, a child living through the horrors of the Civil War. Touching. Useful for historical issues, war, social studies, writer's craft, journaling, dates, changes. Part of the Dear America Series. Grades 4+
LibraryThing member bplteen
Review by: Natasha

Though Topics: Responsibility
When will this cruel war be over? is a about a fourteen year old girl named Emma Simpson. Emma’s brother was in the civil war. Emma’s brother died in the civil war and her family was thinking of past times with him. Emma hated the civil war
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because it killed her brother. I hated when Emma talks about her brother. I also love when Emma talks about the good and funny times she’s had with her family and brother. While Emma was getting over her brothers death, Emma works on her father’s farm. On the farm, they harvest (corn, hay) and raise animals.
People who like dairy entries should read this book. I recommend girls around the age 13 or 14 to read this book because it seems like a 8th grade book to read. Girls would understand it better than boys (girls have more emotions then boys). Boys would just put this book down because of the drama.
I’d give this book a four star rating because the book wasn’t the best but it was ok because it was interesting but the words were kind of hard to understand.
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LibraryThing member justagirlwithabook
I don't remember much of these books as individual books, but I remember reading them all as a young, avid reader. I think that ultimately these books are the reason why I love historical fiction novels so much. They all did such a great job of taking me to a different time and place and making it
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come alive, seeing the world through an older, historical lens. I highly recommend any of the Dear America books to younger readers who love history and need to get hooked on reading!
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LibraryThing member taralentz
Emma's brother was killed in the Fall of 1863 and the family will not have Christmas celebrations due to the war and loss of her brother. Emma decided at the beginning of 1864 to read more than she did the previous year. As the year goes on basic supplies start to run out. Emma writes in her diary
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almost everyday about her life, her family, and her neighbors.
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LibraryThing member GlenRH
It was like reading a diary. Sometimes it was interesting, but most of the time it was rather mundane. And it took me quite awhile to get through it.

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