So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Emma and the Civil Warrior

Emma and the Civil Warrior by Candy Dahl

Set in the two weeks between April 11 and 26, 1865, this book tells the events of the Union Army's occupation of Raleigh NC as seen through the eyes of one 12 year old girl, Emma Graham, who lives a couple of blocks from the state capitol building.

When last heard from, her father was fighting with General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, but the Yankee soldiers say General Lee has surrendered to General Grant. So Emma worries about what has happened to him in the 3 years since he left. She lives with her mother and her 5 year old brother. Jinny, a free black woman, cooks and lives with them. The day before the Union troops marched in, the government officials and Confederate troops marched out of the city and left a single black slave, who author Dahl names Simon Battle, to secure the Capitol building. When the Union soldiers arrive they set up a signal station at the top of the Capitol building with Lieutenant George C. Round in charge.

Emma is initially hostile to Lieutenant Round and the invading troops, who see sees as the enemy, but the lieutenant, knowing that Lee has surrendered to Grant in Virginia and that Confederate General Johnston is in Durham with General Sherman negotiating the terms of his surrender, is so polite and kind.

Ms Dahl has researched her topic well and provides an accurate and engaging look at this small piece of a vast war. Through her detailed look the reader gets a glimpse of the issues and complexities of the broader war. Written for young adults, this is a war without the gore approach suitable for the age group that will be especially of interest to North Carolinians and Raleighites.