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You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier!: A War You'd Rather Not Fight Paperback – March 1, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Antram was born in Brighton, England. He studied at Eastbourne College of Art and then worked in advertising for 15 years before becoming a full-time artist.

David Salariya was born in Dundee, Scotland. He has illustrated a wide range of books and has created and designed many new series for publishers both in the U.K. and U.S.A. In 1989 he established The Salariya Book Company. He lives in Brighton with his wife, the illustrator Shirley Willis, and their son, Jonathan. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Series: You Wouldn't Want To...
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Children's Press(CT); 37582nd edition (March 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0531163938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0531163931
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The good: I liked the approach, "You wouldn't want to be a Civil War soldier - a war you'd rather not fight." After 35+ years of reading about the subject, I have come to the same conclusion. I also liked the humorous style. It seems wholly original to me.

The bad: It's flawed in a number of places...

The cover - Are those modern rifle *cartridges* flying through the air, not the bullets? I suspect the artist, David Antram, has never fired a real gun or he'd know better! The minie ball is an important part of Civil War knowledge - why not depict it?

Page 5: A Confederate naval ensign (the rectangular flag) is shown crossed with the Union flag. More accurate to show a Confederate battle flag, which was square.

Page 7: The protagonist is shown wearing Ambrose Burnside "wraparound" sideburns and mustache. This is very atypical facial hair in the Civil War. Better to show a full beard - or, since the reader is likely to be a child - no facial hair.

Page 12 and page 21: Black men are shown in white Union army regiments. In fact, they were segregated. This, I suspect, is a nod towards political correctness.

Page 17: The Battle of Antietam is depicted in mud or brown dirt with fortifications. In fact, the battle was fought on farmland - no fortifications.

Page 19: The Gettysburg hand-to-hand combat was fought in the woods, not on a dirt field as depicted.

Page 20: I wear wool uniforms when I reenact the Civil War. They are not itchy.

Page 20: Robert E. Lee is shown with dark hair. In fact, it was white.

By the way... on pages 22 and 23 there is lots of blood shown in a hospital scene. In fact, in the library copy I used, somebody (parent? librarian?) taped the pages shut. Naturally, I untaped them.
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Format: Paperback
The "you wouldn't want to ..." series is great to teach children history, because it shows what life was like. How gladiators trained, how knights fought, and so on. This is very interesting for children.

This book only mentions a few details of daily life. Instead, it is a list of battles with their dates and a few details. That makes it boring and irrelevant to the target audience.

Save your money for something really good, such as You Wouldn't Want to Live in a Wild West Town! (You Wouldn't Want to...) or You Wouldn't Want to Be an American Pioneer! (You Wouldn't Want to...)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My 7 and 9 year old boys love all of these books! I enjoy reading them/with them as well. Very informative and entertaining at the same time. These books really have jump started my youngest sons interest in reading.
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Format: Paperback
I just discovered this series and I've been reading a few of them for fun this summer.

"You Wouldn't Want to Be a Civil War Soldier..." is entertaining and it contains solid, accurate history presented in a visually interesting format.

While I've been looking a few of these over for my own personal entertainment, my almost 4th grade daughter has been sneaking them out of the stack and reading them without any encouragement from me. Imagine! Kids surreptitiously reading history!

The only complaint I have about the back is the total lack of African American faces in the drawings. The book notes that 179,000 African American soldiers served in the war, which is good but fails to include a single African American in the drawings. While it mostly makes sense due to the strict segregation of the army (the book follows one soldier from Connecticut who joins before the First Battle of Bull Run and stays until Appomattox), if I had been the editor I would have insisted on including African Americans on pages 26 & 27, the pages that talk about the siege of Petersburg and the Battle of the Crater. African Americans made up the bulk of the Union troops in the first wave of the Battle of the Crater and it would have been a great place to include some different faces in the art.
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Format: Paperback
We are a family of avid readers from oldest to youngest (even though he can't quite read well for himself yet). As homeschoolers, we are always trying to find books to supplement our favorite subject: history. We especially look for history books that we can read to the preschooler to draw him into what we're learning in history. Since it's just too much to review every book we've read in this series, I'm going to do a combination review of this book and the series as a whole right here.

THIS BOOK: This particular volume is taken from the perspective of a Union soldier. It is rather obvious from the cover that the soldier is on the Union side, but I think I would have preferred the title to delineate that a little more. Or, better yet, I think it might have been neat to devote half the book to each side for the balance of perspectives. However, within the book there is some description of both sides and of some of the similarities and differences. And, all in all, I liked the perspective of it, incorporating side-specific information. All in all, I found this perfect for what it is: a picture book with basic information on what it meant to be a Union soldier in the US Civil War.

SERIES: This series covers such a wide range of history that we can easily find 10 books per year that fit into what we're learning. Each book gives a glimpse or overview of the topic covered. They are not written in story form, but in interesting fact form, so frequently they throw in tidbits that you don't typically find in a normal history book. They are also appropriate for just about every age. My youngest is captivated even at four, my girls at 8 and 10 devour them over and over again, and my husband and I can't wait to read each new book. So far we have not found one that we dislike.
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