The Uncivil War. Battle in the Classroom
By Nick K. Adams
(December 2010 Civil War News)
Novel, illustrated, photographs, maps, 84 pp., 2010, Eloquent Books, www.eloquentbooks.com, juvenile, $9.99, softcover.
When competitive classmates Jeremy Wiggins and Morgan Huddleston are given an assignment to discover their Civil War roots, it appears the war may be fought again.
Morgan discovers her great-great-great-grandfather fought with the 8th Tennessee Cavalry at the Battle of Chickamauga, while Jeremy’s great-grandfather was a member of the 2nd Minnesota Volunteer Regiment and was killed during that battle.
Claiming that Morgan’s ancestors supported slavery, Jeremy taunts her for having Confederate roots while his ancestor died to protect the Union from the Rebels.
The students follow their research to a startling conclusion. This revelation condenses the war to a very personal level. Jeremy and Morgan learn the war was not about ideologies, but people.
Author Nick K. Adams, a retired elementary school teacher, has brought his background and expertise in education to this wonderful publication. While the scenario between the two Civil War soldiers is fictional, the letters of David Brainard Griffin, 2nd Minnesota, exist to give a thoughtful look into the life of the ordinary soldier.
Griffin’s letters show a devoted, concerned family man who misses his wife and children. His writing contrasts the soldiers in camp where “some [are] writing, some reading, some playing cards, some sleeping, some cooking, a’ washing their clothes, and loitering about the camp” with the excitement, dread and fear of actual confrontation with the Confederate Army.
This is an excellent teaching tool for teachers and parents who are interested in presenting an accurate perspective of the Civil War and its participants through fiction and non-fiction.
The book would be appropriate for fourth through sixth grades. The author’s goal is to make history come alive and become personal. He has succeeded.
Reviewer: Janet L. Bucklew
Janet L. Bucklew, M.A., American Studies, Pennsylvania State University, has worked for several museums including Gettysburg National Military Park and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. She wrote Dr. Henry Janes: Country Doctor & Civil War Surgeon andhas extensive background in public history, research and interpretation.