From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8 This well-written resource contains biographies of key people, information on major battles, and a general introduction to the era. The alphabetically arranged entries are easy to understand, covering all the important issues, and the black-and-white photos and reproductions add immensely to the text. Even readers familiar with the era will find fresh facts here. The personal profiles use small anecdotes to illustrate the individual's character. For example, the entry on George Pickett talks about the depression that plagued him for the rest of his life after the Battle of Gettysburg. One small flaw is that the "see" references are often not circular. The article on John Ericsson leads readers to one on the Monitor and Merrimack; however, that article is not linked back to the one on Ericsson. The same is true of the articles on Stephen Douglas and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful introduction for readers unfamiliar with the subject, and will be especially useful for reports. -Elizabeth M. Reardon, McCallie School, Chattanooga, TN
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 4-8. Bolotin provides an excellent overview of the people, places, events, and concepts one needs to know about the U.S. Civil War. The entries average two paragraphs in length, with longer ones for subjects requiring more explanation. Battles are listed under their most common name, with other designations in parentheses: "Bull Run, Battle of (Manassas in South)." A wide-ranging account such as this runs the risk of being sketchy and incomplete, but Bolotin has a good eye for what students need to understand about the war and provides a great deal of information, skillfully whittled down to its most salient points. Topics range from Stonewall Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, and the Battle of Gettysburg to medical care, black soldiers, and Clara Barton. The format is attractive, with numerous photographs. A glossary and a time line are appended, as is an author's note, attached to a reading list, which advises students how to find information on a topic when faced by an overwhelming amount of material. Buy one copy to circulate and a second one for reference. Susan Dove Lempke
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