The Civil War in Missouri In 1863, at fifteen, Matt Howard is old enough to join the Southern guerrillas and help protect Missouri from Union forces. But Matt would rather farm than fight - tending his beloved pa's land is the next best thing to having him still alive. What's more, to safeguard her six children, Matt's mother insists that the ...
The Civil War in Missouri In 1863, at fifteen, Matt Howard is old enough to join the Southern guerrillas and help protect Missouri from Union forces. But Matt would rather farm than fight - tending his beloved pa's land is the next best thing to having him still alive. What's more, to safeguard her six children, Matt's mother insists that the family take a neutral position. In Missouri's Civil War, which pits neighbor against neighbor, armed men often bang on doors in the middle of the night, shouting "Union or Secesh?" The wrong answer can get a civilian killed. Matt's mother is from the North, and when Ma decides to move them back, Matt is torn: Should he abandon his farm or his family? And what about his friend Jesse, who has no doubts about joining the guerrillas? What will Jesse say if Matt runs away? In this large, gripping examination of the Civil War in Missouri, a boy bewildered by the madness around him wrestles with questions about family ties, friendship, and loyalty. "Guerrilla Season" is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-08-11 Like Richard Peck's The River Between Us (Children's Forecasts, July 14), first-time author Hughes's strong Civil War novel depicts the plight of families caught between warring neighbors. Although his Missouri family "officially" takes a neutral political stand, 15-year-old Matt Howard secretly sides with the South. So does his friend Jesse, who plans to follow in his brother's footsteps and become one of Quantrill's boys (the Quantrill band "preferred to be called partisan rangers, and they answered to bushwhacker or guerrilla. But the Federals considered them outlaws"). Unlike outspoken Jesse, however, Matt keeps his opinions to himself. Since the recent death of his father, Matt's main interest has been running the family farm, a task that has become increasingly difficult as both Federal and Confederate soldiers terrorize his rural community. The author gives readers an unbiased, unromanticized glimpse of war as she slowly but surely relays a compelling story about courage and sacrifice. Adding a note of interest and authenticity, she fashions the character of Jesse after Jesse James. Her educated speculation of the gunslinger's childhood is as convincing as other intelligently wrought references to period songs, games and weaponry. History buffs will appreciate Hughes's accurate detailing of the events and moods of a tumultuous time. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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