This is one of my favorite books, and it has been ever since I first read it, probably over 20 years ago. Jeff's journey as a soldier during the Civil War seems somewhat improbable, insofar as to have all of those things happen to one man is improbable. However, as I understand it, the author interviewed a number of Civil War veterans and combined many of their experiences into the life of a single protagonist.
It's a wonderful story and a wonderful view into the lives of the average soldiers during America's Civil War.
Jeff Bussey walked briskly up the rutted wagon road toward Fort Leavenworth on his way to join the Union volunteers. It was 1861 in Linn County, Kansas, and Jeff was elated at the prospect of fighting for the North at last.
In the Indian country south of Kansas there was dread in the air; and the name, Stand Watie, was on every tongue. A hero to the rebel, a devil to the Union man, Stand Watie led the Cherokee Indian Na-tion fearlessly and successfully on savage raids behind the Union lines. Jeff came to know the Watie men only too well.
He was probably the only soldier in the West to see the Civil War from both sides and live to tell about it. Amid the roar of cannon and the swish of flying grape, Jeff learned what it meant to fight in battle. He learned how it felt never to have enough to eat, to forage for his food or starve. He saw the green fields of Kansas and Okla-homa laid waste by Watie's raiding parties, homes gutted, precious corn deliberately uprooted. He marched endlessly across parched, hot land, through mud and slash-ing rain, always hungry, always dirty and dog-tired.
Jeff Bussey is probably the only soldier to fight the Civil War from both sides-and understand each. Jeff Bussey is sixteen when the Civil War begins. He can't wait to leave his Kansas farm and defend the Union cause against the dread Stand Watie, Indian leader of the rebels. As an infantry soldier, Jeff must march for miles, exhausted and near starvation. He must watch friends die in battle and know that eery step he takes may be his last. Then he is sent to spy behind enemy lines. If he's caught, he'll be shot. But the worst danger of all is his discovery that the revels-even Watie-are men he can like and admire. On top of that, Jeff falls in love with a rebel girl. The only thing that divides them is their cause. Jeff mus choose: Escape the enemy or join it.
a differnt look at the civil war in the west
Awesome telling about a boy and his journey as a Union soldier during the Civil War.
Loved all of the references to actual figures involved in the Civil War in this historical fiction book. We couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen to Jeff next. Although he was a Yankee, he could sympathize somewhat for the Confederates & actually bonded with them. We all know that the war wasn't actually over slavery, but this book doesn't really go into the causes of the war, just the soldiers struggles with fighting against those who are oftentimes family and former countrymen. Would recommend this to those who would like to get a view of what it would've been like to be engaged in a war against those who are not really "bad" guys and the lack of understanding the Northern soldiers had as to why they were even oppressing the Southerners. There was much confusion on their part owning to many who fought for the North held slaves themselves and many southerners who didn't even own slaves gave their lives fighting for independence from an oppressive government. A great read for those who can truly think for themselves and aren't just brainwashed by the "winner" of this War of Northern Agression.