BEFORE THE CREEKS RAN RED by Carolyn Reeder

BEFORE THE CREEKS RAN RED

Age Range: 10 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

O’Dell Award–winner Reeder (Shades of Gray, 1990) returns to the Civil War era with three connected stories of boys coming of age as their county is about to do the same. Timothy Donovan is at Fort Sumter as the secessionist fervor mounts across the harbor. Being a bugler for the First United States Artillery is preferable to being a printer’s apprentice, as he was back in New York. But now, with war brewing, Timothy isn’t so sure of what he’s gotten himself into. “But I don’t want to die! I never swore to defend the flag with my bugle.” Soon after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, Joseph Schwartz finds himself amid the conflicts in a Baltimore of divided loyalties. Joseph is a Unionist, but being too public in expressing loyalty to either side can make one a target of violence. As his mother says, “I think there is no safe place in these troubled times.” When the Maryland legislature votes against secession, Timothy’s life seems a bit more secure; at least his father’s job on the docks will be safe and family life will not be so disrupted. Gregory Howard lives in Alexandria, Virginia, where Federal warships are now a “brooding presence.” Gregory sympathizes with the Confederacy and sees the conflict as a second War for Independence. Reeder weaves a large amount of history and politics into her story and effectively shows how the march toward war gained momentum. However, the history is told at the expense of the story, the separate stories hindering the development of characters to care about or a plot to get absorbed in. An offering that will appeal mostly to Civil War buffs. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 10+)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-06-623615-0
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2002




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