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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars �Soldier�s Heart�, a perfect example of Gary Paulsen�s merit
Although the amount of books based on Civil War is huge, very few books have talked about the life of simple soldiers in detail in order to know how the soldiers of the Civil War felt in the war. Gary Paulsen, a gifted writer, has filled up that absence quite successfully by only one book, named Soldier's Heart. Based on the Civil War experience of a real boy Charley,...
Published on June 17, 2000 by Fahim MD Tazwar

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Teenager in the Civil War
In 1861 Charley is fifteen years old, living on a farm in Minnesota with his mother and little brother. Everyone has heard the rumor that there is to be a war, with those in the North fighting to stop the Southern rebels from doing damage to the country. No one is quite sure if the war is really going to happen, but Charley is determined to be a part of it if it...
Published on July 2, 2007 by A. Luciano


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars �Soldier�s Heart�, a perfect example of Gary Paulsen�s merit, June 17, 2000
This review is from: undefined (Audio Cassette)
Although the amount of books based on Civil War is huge, very few books have talked about the life of simple soldiers in detail in order to know how the soldiers of the Civil War felt in the war. Gary Paulsen, a gifted writer, has filled up that absence quite successfully by only one book, named Soldier's Heart. Based on the Civil War experience of a real boy Charley, he brings the worst nightmare of the war into the pages of this book. Charley Goddard, a hard worker, soft hearted, adventure loving fifteen years boy has never been any place except his birthplace, Winona, Minnesota. When the war begins, the superficial images of the parade, uniform, pretty girls excite him and lead him to join in the Union army, lying about his age, since men under eighteen aren't allowed to go to fight. But as the harsh reality becomes clear, when he gets in the war, his all images vapor like heated camphor. He hasn't even thought about how terrible the war could be in reality. In his first battle his mind cries and prays to God, "I am not supposed to see these, GOD. No person supposes to see these. How can you let these happen?" But as the time passes Charley changes totally. He participates in all major battles of Civil War and finally gets wounded in the battle of Gettysburg. Gary Paulsen shows how a man's choice or mind changes when he participates in a war and uses Charley, as an example, who likes the shining revolver after war instead of other pretty things that he has liked before gets in the war. Paulsen's tiny details about battlefields help realizing how horrible the Civil War's battles were and also let the reader feel the way characters of the book have felt. Although this book is short and does not clearly describe some events, worth is beyond the price in currency. I have no doubt, if you start reading this book, you won't stop yourself until you reach to end and I, myself, am its great evidence. I highly recommend this book to those who are studying Civil War, especially the high school students, because some places of that story require better quality of understanding. The students who are new with English literature will be helped by this book to understand the easy level of written English.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST CIVIL WAR FICTION BOOKS I HAVE READ!, December 8, 1999
Soldier's Heart is an engrossing tale of the Civil War as seen through the eyes of the young hero of the book. Charley is a fifteen year old boy who longs for the excitement of the war and so he lies about his age and enlists in the Union Army. He is not prepared for the horror he experiences or with the reality of war. The author does a good job of letting the reader see and feel what the character experiences as he goes from situation to situation I think this book would be a good one to use in class when studying the Civil War. It really brings home the realism of the Civil War. Mr. Paulsen's details are wonderful, even the slang words of the time are included without being overdone. I was surprised to find also that this story was based on the life of a real Union soldier. I highly reccomend this book, especially to middle school students and to teachers who teach about the Civil War.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Great Book!, September 20, 2000
A Kid's Review
A Soldiers Heart is a book that I would recommend to other readers not only because of the great details that Gary Paulsen put into it, but because you relive the Civil War. I liked this book because it's about a boy that is 15 years old, Charley Gaddard. He lied about his age and joined the Minnesota Volunteers. Gary Pualsen is a wonderful writer, and Soldiers Heart is one of his best novels. The gore is not all that great, but you get used to it. This is a great book to read if you are learning about the Civil War. Charley was pretty brave for going into the Civil War at the age of 15. What a big task.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Washington Middle School 8-111 Boys really liked this book., November 19, 1999
Kenny, Shawn, Cody and Chris liked this book because it was very graphic, descriptive and gory in most stages of the book. It was also a good book to read as a historical fiction requirement for History class. The boys would recommend this book to other readers that like Gary Paulsen's books, especially those about survival. Cody would like to recommend this book to anyone unfamiliar with Paulsen because this book will make you a fan.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Teenager in the Civil War, July 2, 2007
By 
A. Luciano (Lowell, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers (Mass Market Paperback)
In 1861 Charley is fifteen years old, living on a farm in Minnesota with his mother and little brother. Everyone has heard the rumor that there is to be a war, with those in the North fighting to stop the Southern rebels from doing damage to the country. No one is quite sure if the war is really going to happen, but Charley is determined to be a part of it if it is.

He convinces his mother that he can handle himself as a soldier and tells her the eleven dollars a month he'll be paid will help her out, and she agrees to let him go. He signs up, lying about his age so they will let him into the army, and begins his training.

At first things are horribly boring. The volunteer military spends much of its time sitting around, doing drills that don't use up their ammunition, and eating really bad food. Charley is considering deserting and simply going home, when finally his unit marches into battle.

Their first battle is a bloodbath--his unit tries to march across an open field while rebel soldiers shoot at them from above. Charley isn't sure what he thought a shooting war would be like, but it was certainly nothing like this. As the war continues and Charley is a part of more and more battles, he learns what war really is, and sees more than his share of the horror of it.

I liked that war wasn't glamorized at all in this book--the narrator spoke of the boredom between battles and the horror of the battles themselves. Nothing was made out to be fun about it. I also liked that Charley was so shocked and couldn't get over what he had seen. He was just a kid when he went into war and it wouldn't have been realistic for him to handle it well.

However, this book was a little too simplistic. It didn't give any of the nuances of Charley's thoughts and feelings, and didn't explore the feelings of anyone except this one main character. I would have liked a bit more depth.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review For Soldier's Heart, November 29, 2004
This review is from: Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers (Mass Market Paperback)
The book Soldier's Heart, written by Gary Paulsen is a tragic and heartfelt book. It chronicles the life of Charley Goddard and his service throughout the Civil War.

Charley, a fifteen year old boy living in Minnesota, is living through a tumultuous time in history. There is a war brewing, and he wants to be a part of it. Although only fifteen, Charley enlists in the First Minnesota Volunteers, and is quickly wisked away to the war. He experiences the rigors of Fort Snelling in "drilling" and "manual of arms", and learns how to cope with the less than filling rations. After remaining at Fort Snelling, his company left to relieve the regular army at the frontier forts.

Charley faces the horrors of war for the first time at Bull Run. Facing an unrelenting barrage of bullets from the Rebels, he sees his comrades shot dead as he himself fears for his life. After finally getting to safety (via "Falling Back in Good Order") it is evident that this is not what Charley expected, and he will never be the same again. This begins the sorrowful undertone that stays throughout the book. This was a horrible war, and this first battle delivers the harsh reality of what these men went through.

Throughout the next chapters, Charley is stationed in Washington D.C. He learns the important skill of "farming" (stealing food from rebel homes). He tries to live normally in camp, and when visiting the city. At this point in the story, he becomes sick with dysentery as many soldiers did at this time. It turns out that more soldiers actually died from disease than battle wounds.

After getting over his illness, Charley reports back to action just in time for his second clash with Rebels. Right before, he meets a replacement, Nelson. The battle is well won, and the Union has the Confederates running. On the way back, Charley notices Nelson laying wounded on the field. He had been shot in the stomach, and no amount of medical care could save him. This part conveys such hopelessness and sadness as Nelson knows he is already dead. He ends it quickly with a bullet from his own rifle rather than agonize through the pain.

Charley lived through another encampment through winter. When food was scarce the soldiers had to eat the horses rather than other meat. Many were repulsed by this, but were forced to eat it out of will to survive. This leads up to a large battle in Richmond, Virginia. His unit came upon a Rebel calvary, but quickly and easily defeated them only to turn around and face an infantry, 2,000 men strong. After a few volleys it came down to bayonets, and Charley fought his way through the line, until there were no more rebels to kill.

Charley's final battle was in Gettysburg. It began with him watching the Confederate army get demolished by Union artillery. But, the men alive still plowed forward up the hill. At this point Charley again clashes with the rebels in close combat and is hit multiple times, now realizing his own mortality.

Read the book to find out what happens in the final chapter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best books!, June 12, 2000
By 
Jose Rueda (United States) - See all my reviews
Soldier's Heart is a excited and realistic book that describe the life of a teenager soldier in the Civil War. This book does not contain fiction stanzas even though is a book, this book has the cruel story of a soldier of 15 years old who joined the Union army in the Civil War to fight against the Confederacy. The cruel and the excited contain of this book makes the book be one of the best of Gary Paulsen. This book is compared with NightJohn book because has similarties of cruel stories of war and of slavery. Those two books from the same author has and explain the true of what life is inside a war and inside slavery. Reading this book i have answered many questions that i had before read it. Questions that only in few good books like this one that contain the reality and not much fiction. In this book anyone can find many things and can find answers to questions about wars in life. In this book the author had a convination that makes reality and that makes the reader with wonders of the tomorrow's life. I really recomend this book to anyone does not matter the age, race, or nothing else, this book has words that makes people see in the mirror of the todays life. I think that the author, Gary Paulsen is good in describe the actions of his characters, he travel the readers to his way to make us to understand. He is a really good writter, he had showed his excellence with the NightJohn book. I really liked and enjoyned reading this book, i recoment to anyone! Is a really good book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Work, March 3, 2006
This review is from: Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers (Mass Market Paperback)
I read this book last year in my English class. I really didn't want to read it. It was about war and for some reason I forced myself to believe that this book was going to be absolutely horrible. I was definetly wrong.

Though very tramatic, this book was written beautifully, with so much detail. I got so deep in this book that I imagined I was there with Charley. Gary Paulsen did a great job!

I would say that the ending was very good.

My English teacher had us talk about what the title of the book was about before we read this. She had us brainstorm about what the title meant. There were many ideas but what I believe "Soldier's Heart" means is after seeing all that death, hostile events, and experiencing horrible events you're not the same person. Paulsen refers to it as a Soldier's Heart. Once in a bloody war, you have a soldier's heart...some soldiers just couldn't handle it after the war and some could.

My favorite lines from this book are:

"War is always,

In all ways,

Appalling"

I highly recommend this book for anybody over 13 and up.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, November 13, 2009
By 
Robert B. Weaver (Erie, Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The 1st Minn Volunteers are one of the most famous regiments of the Civil War, suffering tremendous losses to save the Federal line on the second day at Gettysburg. I'd read Mr Paulsen before and was very excited to see how he handled the Civil War. Let me begin with the things he does well: Charley learns quickly and stunningly that war is not picnicing and glory. He becomes hard and callous, but at the same time struggles with the disconnect within himself. He also struggles with what we now call PTSD, which is the point of the book. I'm surprised other reviewers haven't given this point a nod, since Paulsen himself talks about it in the forward. The battle sequences are grim and realistic, if a little cinematic. They felt more like a video game walkthough than a literary experience. What he doesn't do well: Paulsen did his homework on the Civil War, just not enough of it. He can tell us what uniform the 1st Minn wore at the beginning of the war accurately, but fails to put any correct commands in the mouths of any of his commanders. There is also some dialogue which seems more like modern reenactment talk than documentable period vernacular. He describes how to fire a muzzleloading musket, but uses incorrect drill commands in the battle scenes. The scene in which the wounded soldier commits suicide with his own musket is moving; it's also not accurate. There is no evidence to support this reconstruction. The chronology is problematic: the "first battle" is 1st Bull Run (Manassas), which for some reason he seems to believe was a multi-day battle. The "third battle" is some un-named but horrific conflict. The map shows it in eastern Maryland. It seems to feel like Antietam (Sharpsburg), but, if this is so, it's incorrectly located on the map. And why not name it? The conclusion I'm led to with an incorrect location and no name is that it didn't actually occur. Finally, there is Gettysburg. The 1st Minn. action here is relatively well described, especially for the young adult audience. Here, for some unexplained reason, the war narrative ends, although as we know, the war continued.
Most troubling is the last chapter, set on a summer day in 1867. Perhaps this is a spoiler alert: but has no one noticed that young Charley commits suicide with that Confederate revolver he took to his solitary picnic? This is a tragic and hopeless ending for a book which could have much to say to young people about getting help to deal with tragedy and trauma. As a story resolution, "Soldier's Heart" becomes a grim story with a bleak ending. I would be extremely reluctant to recommend this book as a school project for this reason, unless the instructor takes a great deal of time to explore other healthier alternatives to resolve PTSD or other forms of hopelessness young adults face. There's much this book could have been, unfortunately, it only partially succeeds at all of them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book for Teenageers or readers of any age, June 18, 2002
By 
jay s (Phoenix, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers (Mass Market Paperback)
I had this book on one of my summer reading lists. It is a great book for teenagers and if this is on YOUR reading list, I surely suggest it. The book is pretty short and I finished it in one car trip in about 3 hours (and I'm a slow reader!) However, it does have some rather descriptive battle descriptions and should not be recommended for the squeamish reader. Also, if you are going through depression, it wouldn't help you because the general theme of the book is sad.
So, if you're looking for a short book to read that is filled with action, then this is definitely a book of distinction.!
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