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Amelia's War Paperback – November 1, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this novel inspired by the Confederate ransom of Hagerstown, Md., Rinaldi's (The Coffin Quilt) backdrop is as compelling as ever, but the narrator's undeveloped character lessens its intensity. The story begins in 1861, as 11-year-old Amelia Grafton relates the Civil War's impact on her sharply divided yet tightly linked town: "Mama and I were Southerners, but not Rebels. We were for the Union, but not the Yankees. You have to be from Maryland to understand it." When Amelia's actions inadvertently contribute to the demise of her friend's father, a Confederate-sympathizing newspaperman, and his printing press, Amelia vows to remain neutral which, unfortunately, translates as a rather passive recounting of events through most of the novel. Among the book's strengths are some riveting characters both real (Generals Lee and Custer make cameo appearances) and imagined (e.g., the fictional Jinny Pearl shoots a Rebel soldier after he attempts to rape her and disguises herself as a man to enlist). The pace picks up in the last quarter of the novel when, in 1864, Confederate General McCausland threatens to burn Hagerstown unless its citizens pay an astronomical ransom, and Amelia must finally choose sides. However, readers will likely find the unfolding of Amelia's outfoxing of the general implausible (she applies white paint to alter the ransom order) and may not stay with the book long enough to witness the highly personal price of this war. Ages 10-14. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-8-Rinaldi writes about the Civil War through the eyes of Amelia Grafton, a young teen living in Hagerstown, MD. The story takes place over a period of three years, and readers learn of the townspeople's struggles as they are forced to split in their loyalties and deal with young men enlisting and families losing their most prized possessions. Amelia, a Yankee sympathizer, wants to make a difference by participating in the war effort in other ways besides preparing food and helping the wounded, the traditional duties assumed by women. In an exciting show of ingenuity and bravery, she devises a plan to trick a Confederate officer and save her town from being burned to the ground. While Amelia's character lacks the depth required to make a connection with most readers, the story gives an excellent sense of what it was like to live in an area so affected by this war.
Carrie Lynn Cooper, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439326664
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439326667
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,695,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

ANN RINALDI is an award-winning author best known for bringing history vividly to life. A self-made writer and newspaper columnist for twenty-one years, Ms. Rinaldi attributes her interest in history to her son, who enlisted her to take part in historical reenactments up and down the East Coast. She lives with her husband in central New Jersey.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

A Kid's Review on November 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Amelia's War, a historical fiction novel by Ann Rinaldi, takes place in Hagerstown, Maryland, at small town caught in the middle between the Confederacy and the Union in the year 1862. Amelia Grafton is the 13-year-old daughter of a staunch Union man, and is determined to stay neutral and not take part in the war going on around her. Mr. Dechart, the father of Amelia's friend Josh, is arrested after he publishes an article with southern leanings in his newspaper. Because he learned of the story he wrote about from Amelia, Amelia decides to not interfere with anything related to all the chaos anymore. Less than a year later, Jinny Pearl, Amelia's older brother Wesley's girlfriend, decides to disguise herself as a man and runs away to join the army. All around her, Amelia's friends and family are making decisions and joining in the war, be it in the army or helping out at hospitals. Amelia hasn't made it her war, like everyone else has. Jinny tells her "It isn't your time yet, that's all... when the time comes, you'll know it." Amelia's War is a fabulously accurate account of the American Civil War and how its wake took a toll on the people of Hagerstown. Rinaldi's vivid snapshot passages bring the compelling tale alive with the characters and surroundings that shape Amelia's life. "There he sat in a place of honor, all gussied up in his new cavalry uniform with the sash around his waist, the sword, and the hat turned up on one side with a feather. And those shiny boots..." Amelia's War is an intriguing story of "danger and menace, loyalty and love, during a war in which not all the casualties are on the battlefield, and some of the deepest wounds are invisible." When the final chapter is read and the answer to how Hagerstown got away with paying a lesser ransom to General McCausland without even knowing it is realized, Rinaldi's work seems nearly perfect in its conclusion.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished this book literally five minutes ago. It's Friday night and normally the last thing I would be doing is reading but this book is different. I even declined going to a party just so I could finish it. It has everything you would ever want in a book especially a wondrful ending. You can really see how Maryland was cut in to by the Civil War. My favorite part is when Josh's Uncle is going to burn the town unless he gets 200,000 dollars and Amelia...Well I won't tell you what happens. Ann Rinaldi took a true fact of History and made a thrilling book. I highly reccomend it. (It is not my favorite of her books though, I prefer the Last Silk Dress and A Break With Charity).
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By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This was not the best rinaldi ive ever read,. but it was one of her best ones to come out in the past few years. I love how rinaldi takes a myth, or mystery, and solves it with a spunky young girl. If you liked this book you will also like.. Mine eyes have seen, by ann rinaldi. i also think you will like 'a ruby in the smoke' and all subsecquent novels by phillip pullman. katherine lasky has some good historical fiction out right now also. whoever you are and what ever your looking for in a book, you will love this book. theres some romance, a lot of controversy, and some downright tough dicitions. i loved this book.
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A Kid's Review on February 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I thought this book was interesting because it tell the story of one place being divided on separate sides a war. Also because it tells alot of facts about Maryland's history. Amelia is not going to take sides in this war. Her and her frined Josh are fighting beacause Amelia is not helping this war and he feels that she should take part in it herself (not join the war but help out somehow). Her brother Wes goes off and joins the army,Her mother goes an starts working at the hospital she made a promise to God that she would help in the war somehow because she wanted to help her son out because she was scared. After the tragic death of Amelia's best friend dies in the war and Josh felt like she should be notifed first if anything happened to him . Overall the story was really exciting and it kept me interested throughout the whole book. Not knowing what will happen next. If you want to find out what happens read Amelia's War .
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A Kid's Review on December 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Book AMELIA'S WAR by Ann Rinaldi is a very well written book and deserves 4 stars!

Ann Rinaldi truly defines the how people lived in a time of war and death. She also shows how people living in Amelia's home town suffer from the war. Houses are broken into and horses are stolen right under their masters noses. People get reports daily of how many people are dead and those small handful who know them weep and leave town in fear for their lives. Ann Rinaldi, even trying to describe this time of peril, makes her characters come to life! The battle fields she describes are terrifically defined and accurate.

This book has many genres including war, hope, and even a little bit of romance. While this war is going on people are running away from town to survive. Rebels and Confederate Soldiers are becoming restless and needy. Some towns folk who have left before the soldiers came into town have come back to find their houses totally ruined and looted. I loved this part it brought total tension into the book when folks returned home they didn't know where to go so they just fled from the enemy.

This book is amazing the details and characters just bring it out into the real world. I'm a thirteen year old boy who goes to a middle school in North Carolina and like to play football.
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