Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers


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At the start of the Civil War in 1861, 15-year-old Charlie leaves his farm and enlists in the First Minnesota Volunteers, not wanting to miss out on a great adventure. After experiencing the horrors of war, Charlie comes back a man changed forever. This "stark, utterly persuasive novel of combat life" ("New York Times"), by a three-time Newbery Honor winner, explores the condition of battle fatigue.

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Jun 30, 2009

Mixed Opinions on a Civil War Novel

Soldier's Heart is a historical novel set during the American Civil War. Charley Goddard, a Union soldier and volunteer from Minnesota, experiences the horrors, dangers, and fears of war. This is a short book and its intended audience is middle school students.

I have mixed opinions about this book. On the one hand, it may appeal to reluctant readers as its vocabulary is not difficult and it can be read relatively quickly. On the other hand, it has references to suicide and is quite graphic in parts. My eighth grade students also have mixed opinions about this book. Some of them liked it considerably, but some of them thought it was too gory. It may appeal more to boys than to girls. Thus, for a number of reasons, I cannot strongly recommend this book.

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