The Boys' War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War

by Jim Murphy

Hardcover, 1990


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Call number

973.7 Mu


Clarion Books (1990), Edition: First Edition, First Printing, 128 pages


Includes diary entries, personal letters, and archival photographs to describe the experiences of boys, sixteen years old or younger, who fought in the Civil War.

Local notes


User reviews

LibraryThing member awiltenburg
This book is indescribably steep!! This book took me on an adventure into US History I wasnt prepared for!! It walked me through photos and text describing the Civil War ranks, the enrollment lines. Although the rules say you must be 18 to fight, boys were allowed to be buglers and drummers as
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young as 12. I read about the boys feelings of potentially getting lost in a unit of 100,000 men fighting another 100,000, standing by watching men die, picking up fighting where the dead left off, and even collecting the bodies of the dead as late as a year later!! I was speechless!! The photos told the story with gruesome detail!! I would use this book cautiously with 7+graders in talks and studies related to my tags.
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LibraryThing member scnelson
When was the last time a boy could join the army and fight in a war in this country? The Civil War, that's when. At a time when being a teen didn't have the connotations that that age has today, boys left parents and homes and friends, and went off to what they thought would be a grand adventure.
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Just as Europe's young men would find fifty years later, war came with more drudgery and horror than it did adventure and glory. In both cases as well, the boys quickly were transformed into soldiers and came to see war for what it really is. This account of the boys who fought in the War Between the States uses excerpts from diaries and letters to let us see what those boys actually saw and thought and felt as they fought for their country in America's bloodiest and costliest conflict.
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LibraryThing member KennaEmerson
This piece of historical non-fiction offers students a way to relate to other young people while learning about the nitty gritty of fighting in the Civil War at a young age. Both Confederate and Union boy soldiers are discussed in depth, with black and white photographs and excepts from their
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personal diaries. This book would be appropriate for fourth through eighth grade, although the reading level is fifth grade. It would be a nice source of primary documents for students who are not feeling engaged during a Civil War lesson but who still need the details and facts (while remaining interested). I would use this during a lesson to link it to a repeating theme in class on the history of children's' rights.
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LibraryThing member TStarnes
The Boys’ War by Jim Murphy is an interesting book. Its perspective of the Civil War is different from any other book about the conflict. In most books, you’ll probably find some historian with lots of facts and statistics giving you a bystander’s point of view. The Boys’ War however will
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put you in the action and still have factual information you expect from a history book. More importantly it shows you the war from the perspective of boys who were involved.

There are a few things that aren’t so great though. The cover could really use some work. It is very pain and doesn’t seem to fit the events in the book. Also, like one of my writing teachers once said, “I like how when he decided it would be crazy, he made it all the way crazy”, meaning there are points when he should have not done quite as much. For instance the book needs focus less on the small details, like how uniforms would get mixed up. Then again, nothing is perfect.

I personally like reading about the civil war and the assassination of Lincoln, so this book was a good choice for me. It’s a quick read that you could probably finish in a day if you wanted to. It can sometimes be a bit graphic and there is a fair bit of action, but mainly the book is about what daily life was like in the war. You might enjoy it if you like historical fiction and especially if you are a kid.
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LibraryThing member RalphLagana
This is not one of Jim Murphy's best. It is informative and I think that boys from ages 11-14 will find it remarkable, but somehow it didn't quite grab me as much as I hoped it would. I did appreciate the larger size of the book, which allowed me to examine pictures easily.
LibraryThing member williamlong33
This book uses first-hand accounts from boys as young as 12 who served in the Civil War. It describes their experiences in the war and provides a way for younger readers to connect to history. Text is heavy on material and experiential details, but light on dates and specific events. A good
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starting point for generating interest in a historical topic.
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Original language


Physical description

128 p.; 8.5 inches


0899198937 / 9780899198934


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