MY VICKSBURG by Ann Rinaldi


Age Range: 10 & up
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A two-page bibliography demonstrates that no amount of book research can compensate for cultural tone-deafness and a willful disregard for coherent plotting. Both inform the slight tale of Claire Louise Corbet, daughter of a Confederate physician and sister to a Union one, who holes up with her family in a cave during the siege of Vicksburg and debates whether to turn in a Confederate deserter. It’s hard to say what’s worse, the inaccuracies or the hopelessly unrealistic story. Foremost among the first is the freedom and welcome that Claire Louise’s brother receives in Vicksburg despite turning traitor; one of the Civil War’s most basic truths is that most Confederates hated Yankee turncoats. Emblematic of the second, an enslaved man (one of the Corbet family’s four loyal retainers) works in his free time—during a siege, no less—to earn money for the Confederate deserter’s escape, instead of for himself. Rinaldi’s African-American characters are Uncle Tom’s direct descendants, complete with cringe-inducing dialect: “I wuz thinkin’, suh, if’n it be okay wif you and your mama...” There’s no excuse for this one. (Historical fiction. 10 & up)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-15-206624-6
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2009


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