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Before the Creeks Ran Red Hardcover – January 7, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (January 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0066236150
  • ISBN-13: 978-0066236155
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,150 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-The tense months between December, 1860 and July, 1861 are portrayed in three related stories about three 14-year-olds caught up in the beginnings of the Civil War. Orphan Timothy Donovan counts himself lucky to have traded a dreary apprenticeship for the trim blue uniform of a U.S. Army bugler, but his comfortable post in Charleston becomes deadly when South Carolina secedes and turns rebel guns against the harbor forts. In Maryland, Joseph Schwartz, gifted son of German immigrants, is doing well as a scholarship boy at an exclusive Baltimore school. His biggest problem is hiding his working-class status from the wealthy students, until war fever and peer pressure force him to decide whether he truly believes in the Union. For Gregory Howard, national tensions are mirrored painfully within his loving family in Alexandria, VA. His father stubbornly remains a loyal Unionist while Gregory, his mother, and siblings welcome secession and despise the Federal troops occupying their city. Each story includes convincing period details, and the three protagonists emerge as credible individuals struggling to be true to themselves in times of fear and uncertainty. The author includes two short sections of historical notes that will be useful for classroom discussion and for readers curious about how much of the book is factual.
Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. These three stories, about three different characters, take place, one after the other, at the beginning of the Civil War. The Southern states were seceding, but few people had an inkling of the long, bloody war ahead. The book begins with Timothy, a 14-year-old Union bugler stationed at Fort Sumter during its bombardment. The second story is set in Baltimore, where a mob of local secessionists attacks Northern volunteers headed to Washington. Joseph knows where he stands, but does he have the courage to tell his South-supporting classmates? When Union troops take over Alexandria and declare martial law, Gregory finds that the conflict is no longer high-minded and political, but ugly and intensely personal. Just as the country stands uneasily on the brink of war, Timothy, Joseph, and Gregory stand on the brink of manhood, and Reeder deftly shows how escalating tension and violence in the outside world push each character to examine more closely his preconceptions, his actions, and his choices. A rewarding interpretation of the nascent war, when many people expected that the first land battle would also be the last. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By MooShoo Pork on March 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. Although I love historical fiction it isn't as dear to me as regular old fiction, but this book changed that. It is the story of three different boys, all about the same age, living in different places in the US during the months preceding the American Civil War.

The first character is Timothy. He is a bugler in Fort Sumter and his story was my favorite. Timothy is an orphan but he's quick and clever and really nice.

The second character is Joseph who goes to a prep school in Baltimore. He's a Unionist but he doesn't tell anyone because all of his friends are Confederate. This story is about his struggle to keep his identity hidden while his friends and nieghborhood are Confederate, and is twon is torn in half by rioting and violence.

The final character was Gregory, a Virginian who lives in Alexandria. The most interesting thing is that his father is Unionist but the rest of the family iss Confederate. It explores the tensions within and without the family, and the atrocious behaviour of the Union soldiers when they conquer the town.

These three stories are very interesting and amazingly well-written. Not only do they describe the tensions between the North and South, there are also underlying themes like revenge, identity, and loyalty. THe only prolem with this book was that it was too short. The author created wonderfully compeling characters, but didn't go anywhere with them. This story might have been better if it was divided into three seperate books, or if all of the characters meet at one point. We never find out the final fate of any of the people, including the relatives who have gone to war. Still, this story is more about the history than the people, which is a shame, and that is why I give it four stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ace VINE VOICE on January 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a Civil War buff I really appreciated her thorough research, and the way these stories were tied in with one another - although this bok is classified as Fiction (but based on actual history), these narratives embodied the soul and essence of critical places and history in the early moments in the Civil War.

Those individuals peopling these stories, although fictional for the most part, swept me up in the locale, the events, the emotions of a country divided, of loyalties hidden in order to survive, of friendship and camaraderie woven together with disloyalty and treachery.

Yes, each story ended incomplete- but each story paved the way for the next progression in the slow but inexorable march toward the war that threatened to divide and tear asunder our newly independent country.

I could easily use my imagination to craft another story for each of the 3 endings -- how those people survived during and after the Civil War, how they were called to arms, how they fled, or died.

Or Carolyn Reeder might want to come back in the future and craft a sequel -- but I liked the way each narrative ended -- with uncertainty but with great shows of heroism, cowardice, craftiness, and human emotion in families who, though divided in loyalties, chose at that moment to stay together and help one another survive.

This book brings to mind (to me, anyway)- another book "Rifles for Waite". In my imaginary sequel, any one of those characters in Ms Reeder's excellent book might JUST come into contact with this man, or his troop, later on in the Civil War.
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A Kid's Review on March 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Timothy and Joseph have very similar lives and problems when the civil war is starting. First, Timothy and the men at their fort find out that the southern people are going to attack all the forts so they leave to go to fort Sumter. They men at the first fort blow up that fort so the southern people cant use it. Second, Joseph and the rest of the town find out that northern troop are coming through their town. So they get ready for the troops. Third, when Timothy comes to the new fort he is making more enemies than friend, and everyone is going crazy because, cap tin Doubleday wont let them leave for food. One time one of the southern people come to give the men food but Doubleday won't take it because he thinks it might be poisons. Forth, since the south cut off all boats coming from the north people are going with out food. And the shops and market wont open or come because they are to scared to come. Timothy and Joseph have very similar problems but in the end their life's seem to end the same.
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