In June 1861, when the Civil War began, Charley Goddard enlisted in the First Minnesota Volunteers. He was 15. He didn't know what a "shooting war" meant or what he was fighting for. But he didn't want to miss out on a great adventure.
The "shooting war" turned out to be the horror of combat and the wild luck of survival; how it feels to cross a field toward the enemy, waiting for fire. When he entered the service he was a boy. When he came back he was different; he was only 19, but he was a man with "soldier's heart," later known as "battle fatigue."
About the Author
Gary Paulsen is the distinguished author of many critically acclaimed books for young people, including three Newbery Honor books: The Winter Room, Hatchet and Dogsong. His novel The Haymeadow received the Western Writers of America Golden Spur Award. Among his Random House books are The Glass Cafe; How Angel Peterson Got His Name; Caught by the Sea; Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books; The Beet Fields; Alida s Song (a companion to The Cookcamp); Soldier s Heart; The Transall Saga; My Life in Dog Years; Sarny: A Life Remembered (a companion to Nightjohn); Brian s Return, Brian s Winter and Brian s Hunt (companions to Hatchet); Father Water, Mother Woods and five books about Francis Tucket s adventures in the Old West. Gary Paulsen has also published fiction and nonfiction for adults, as well as picture books illustrated by his wife, the painter Ruth Wright Paulsen. Their most recent book is Canoe Days. The Paulsens live in New Mexico and on the Pacific Ocean.
"A stark, utterly persuasive novel of combat life in the Civil War that may well challenge generations of middle-school readers."--The New York Times
"Paulsen's storytelling is so psychologically true that readers will feel they have lived through Charley's experience."--Publishers Weekly, Starred
"The nightmare of the Civil War comes to the pages in this novel from Paulsen . . . based on the real-life experiences of a young enlistee."--Kirkus Reviews, Pointer
"The novel's spare, simple language and vivid visual images of brutality and death on the battlefield make it accessible and memorable to young people."--Booklist, Starred