Monday, January 28, 2008
When the Civil War begins, India Moody is twelve. She and her family live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and the war profoundly affects their lives. Her father goes off to serve in the Confederate Army, schools close, and local young men who have eagerly enlisted die in large numbers. India is tutored by a young man who has theories about disease,sanitation, and how to prevent needless deaths among soldiers.The details of medical history alone makes this a title with great appeal. The story is unusually frank about the horrors of warfare. Unlike many historical novels about this period, it does not focus primarily on slavery but rather on the pride and foolishness of the Southerners who champion the fight and on the cruelties that are committed during war. Despite all the grim details of bloated bodies, amputations, and death, there is a hopeful ending. Highly recommended for middle school.