THE PASSAGE by James Killgore


Age Range: 12 - 16
Email this review


Besides offering adventure and a cause to fight for, war is supposed to make men out of boys. But, as 15-year-old Sam Wood realizes—too late—“War had not made a man of me. It had only killed the boy I was.” His passage is the literal one of running the gauntlet of Federal ships on the Mississippi River near Vicksburg on board the ironclad CSS Arkansas, but it is also his passage from a boy eager to join the cause to a disillusioned slightly older boy with many losses. Killgore’s first novel for young adults is well-told and firmly in the tradition of a war story in which the protagonist joins a cause and returns broken and embittered, wondering how anyone believed in the glories of battle and patriotic rhetoric. Dialogue is sometimes used too much to carry the message and the pace is uneven, but this will be a good tale to match with Richard Peck’s superb The River Between Us (2003), also set on the Mississippi in the early days of the war. (map, author’s note, bibliography) (Fiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-56145-384-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Peachtree
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2006