Sunday, May 9, 2010

When Will This Cruel War End?

How would it feel to have your brother, your father and your boyfriend away at war? What would it be like having bands of the enemy army roaming through your property and taking your food supplies? How would you deal with being sequestered to the upper level of your home while enduring the noise and inconvenience of enemy officers using your home’s main floor as their headquarters?

The fictitious Emma addresses all this and more in When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864. She reflects at times on her old life with it’s new pretty dresses and fine carriage rides but mostly writes about her current state of affairs, including what she is reading, news about the neighbors, who is sick, how difficult her cousin is being, her visits to the stable, the demise of her home and the arrival of letters from her boyfriend and her father. On Wednesday, November 23, 1864 part of her entry states, “At times I feel like I am a thousand years old—that is what this cruel war has done to me.”

What an excellent choice for entertaining reading that offers insight into the Civil War through confederate eyes. This is one of the many titles offered in the Dear America series. I reviewed another one, Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary of Hattie Campbell, here.

Ages 9 and up

Activity: Tea and biscuits with apple butter may have been a typical breakfast for Emma. Use this recipe to make your own apple butter.

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