Reviews for Voices of the Civil War : Stories from the Battlefields

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 November

Gr 4-6--These books don't quite live up to their billing as "engaging…first-hand accounts" of individuals directly involved in the conflicts. Dark colors, bold fonts, and battlefield artwork and photography suggest compelling content, but the writing just doesn't deliver. It's surprisingly flat and disengaged, failing to convey wartime emotions, and the profiles of, for example, U.S. Army captain Eddie Rickenbacker and Russian peasant Maria Botchkareva in World War I, are superficial and abbreviated. These books might serve some low-level readers just coming to the subject matter, but they, too, will likely feel frustrated at the lack of in-depth, interesting information on these people who deserve better copy than they get here.

[Page 65]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

VOYA Reviews 2011 February
Each book in the Voices of War series presents the unique personal stories of five individuals who did their best to return home from the battlefields in one piece. Voices of World War I: Stories from the Trenches features the war-time accounts of an American soldier, an American pilot, an African warrior who fought for France, a German U-boat commander, and a female Russian peasant who organized a troop of female soldiers. Voices of the Civil War: Stories from the Battlefields includes the stories of Confederate and Union soldiers, colonels, and doctors, as well as the story of a female freed slave who traveled with a Union regiment and opened a school for freed slaves after the war. Although the stories are not told in first person, the authors incorporate quotes in an attempt to make them more vibrant. With references to lice, disease, death, and loneliness, this series certainly does not sugarcoat war but also does not feature images that might upset middle school students. A simple introduction to the causes of the war and a two-page conclusion stressing the cost of the war are meant to put the stories in context. These books are best as additional texts for students learning about these wars because they do not contain an outline of the events or a time line. Although these volumes are not likely to be a resource for middle school social studies reports, students interested in history will enjoy them, especially the well-labeled maps and pictures throughout.--Amy Wyckoff Copyright 2011 Voya Reviews.