Monday, March 28, 2011

Nardo, Don. Bull Run to Gettysburg: Early Battles of the Civil War.

Nardo, Don. Bull Run to Gettysburg: Early Battles of the Civil War.
Compass Point Books/Capstone 2011 64p 33.32 978-0-7565-4368-6
ms VG-BNS Civil War (Compass Point)

Causes, strengths and weaknesses of both the Union and the Confederacy, important battles, and innovative uses of ships and manpower, brilliant strategies and poor decisions are highlighted.
Don Nardo combines his natural writing style with an elevated, but not over-the-edge use of vocabulary to make this book a good choice for middle school readers as well as for advanced elementary readers or high school fans. Civil War enthusiasts will not be disappointed with the details of battles, the sequencing of the chapters and the summary information on each important battle. After a creative introduction, Nardo introduces the reader to the early battles and names such as Beauregard, McDowell, McClellan and Lee. Bull Run is a battle which resulted in the retreat of the Union and a prediction of a long war. This battle showed the power of the Confederacy. Afterward, Lee went on the offensive and once again, the Union army retreated after the second battle of Manassas. In the next chapter one learns of the decisive wins of the Union at Nashville and Pea Ridge in the West. Cities continued to fall, including New Orleans. Back up north, record numbers of dead resulted from the battle at Antietam, and the Battle of Gettysburg changed the course of the war. An outstanding chapter chronicles the contributions of the African Americans, the famous battle of Fort Wagner, highlighted in the 1989 movie, Glory, and the extreme bravery of the blacks as they fought side by side, without equal pay, to contribute to the ultimate victory of the Union. Finally, Nardo summarizes the events of the Battle of Gettysburg to end his book. One could easily see the use of these chapters to support the social studies teacher. The vocabulary and timeline are complete, and the bibliography shows the extent of Nardo’s research to complete the book. Squaresky, Martha

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