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When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 (Dear America Series)
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When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864 (Dear America)

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  2,729 ratings  ·  119 reviews
A Confederate girl growing up in the South during the Civil War reveals the hardships of southern life as the war tore her family and the nation apart.
Hardcover, 152 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Scholastic Inc. (first published 1996)
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Ana Mardoll
When Will This Cruel War Be Over (The Civil War) / 0-590-22862-5

Quite frankly, this book is terrible and fails on many levels. Historically, it is useless, because it subverts real and important history in favor of overt racism. A single glaring example: on page 29 of the diary, the narrator describes the "weekly classes" that her mother gives to their slave children or, as she terms, "her little scholars". In a book set in 1864, in Virginia, in the midst of the Civil War, the plantation family
...more
Kelsey Hanson
As far as Dear America books go, this one was pretty heartbreaking. It does a descent job of showing the desolation of the South towards the end of the Civil War and the effects are lasting leading to a less than happy ending. This book does show that when it comes to war of any sort there is no "good" side or "bad" side with atrocities committed on both sides. Emma also shows that she is a product of her environment with her opinions on abolitionists. Overall, this one was pretty sobering and l ...more
Willa Gibson
It is the story of Emma Simpson, and her life through the Civil War. While she struggles with her crazy life, so does the Southern Army. The book opens with her brother coming home... in his death suit. How could it get any worse?
Nicole
This is probably my least favourite of these books. Every character was a stereotype and Emma's family idealized beyond belief. It did do a good job of protraying the unrealizing racism of the Souhtern viewpoint, but it was still cringeworthy to read. There were historical inaccurcies that made me roll my eyes (it was illegal for slaves to read, let alone be taught by their masters). My main problem however, was that it was a book about the Civil War that was boring.
Beverly
The book begins in 1863, the third year of the Civil War. Emma's only brother, Cole, comes home in a pine coffin. All students of this war know disease killed more than bullets, and this is one example. Cole was wounded, but died from pneumonia.

By 1863, all know this war is not an adventure. It is beginning to cause hardship in the South. All the husbands and sons are fighting and wives are running the plantations and dealing with the food shortages as best they can.

Emma's Journal records the
...more
Sarah Foote
When Will This Cruel War Be Over? The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson by Barry Denenbar is historical fiction. The audience may be as young as fourth grade and typically female. This is a story of a young girl living through the Civil War, and told through her. Although she is not a soldier, her brother and people she knew were soldiers. This book is great for young students wanting to know about the Civil War in an enjoyable fashion, a Diary. It leads to students wanting to know more about the ...more
Heidi
I really like "the diary books." I think they are an excellent way for youth to get glimpses at various cultures and historical events. This particular book is a teenage girl's perspective from the South. "Touchy" subjects are handled well in these books, and I like that. I love history, and I love children's/YA literature. So I'm hard pressed to find one of these that I haven't liked, yet. Good for the 7-12 age group.
Victoria
I will admit that I had wanted to read this book when it came out about 15 years ago or more, when I first had it. Unfortunately it was ruined in a flood so I never got a chance to read it (and for two years before that someone was borrowing it). Now that I am 30, I decided to read it.

I don't know if this is a true journal account or not, but it was very realistic to what I believe a young girl in the south during the Civil War might write in her journal. I didn't really enjoy it as much as I h
...more
Ashley
I feel like I need to give these books more than 3 stars, because I absolutely LOVED all of them when I was growing up. I read them like crazy. I just don't remember what I thought of each... But, I recommend them for younger kids (or anyone really) that likes history/ historical fiction. Fun, quick reads that teach you something.
Callie Stillion
This book was about Emma, a girl, living during the Civil War. She goes through many tragic times, and normally it`s with family, but twice with friends. Her Mother is sick, and instead of getting better and better, she gets worse and worse. But after lots of things, Dr. Harris being there twice in one week once, Emma doesn`t know what to do. She knows that Mother would not let her lose hope! After Mother dies, more and more bad things happen. First, her new friend, Tally goes off to war. Then h ...more
Trish
Historical Fiction for girls, ages 8-12 and would be a good introduction to the War between the States. This is supposed to be a young girl's diary, but the author is a man, and that is evident when you read the book. I believe it gives a good glimpse into what the South went through and how their lives were turned upside down.
A very sad story of the horrors of war (without getting too explicit); especially how one's own relatives and countrymen were at odds with one another. The family in the s
...more
Toni Tawes
Dear America, The Diary of Emma Simpson, When Will This Cruel War be over? by Barry Denenberg. It is a historical fiction and age range is between 8-12. The story is about Emma Simpson and her family. There family falls apart when the Civil War reaches their home and now her father and brother have to go to war but she hopes that the war will soon end. The really likes this book. It takes you back to a time in history in the life of a young woman. It shows children not to give up and lose their ...more
Elaine Shipley-pope
When Will This Cruel War Be Over? is the fictional diary of Emma Simpson. She is a young girl living in the confederate south during the civil war. As a book it was okay. I really enjoy books that are written in a style to mimic journals. Its nice to read little stories from such a personal point of view. I've been working my way through the Dear America series in search of good home schooling material. These are excellent resources for it. In terms of this specific book I do feel like its a lit ...more
Jenn (Booksessed)
I used to love this series when I was a kid, and the kid in me still loves it. I was wandering around the library and the series was just calling to me from the shelf. I found a title that I hadn't yet read and am so glad I did. If you're not familiar with the series, Dear America a series of fictitious diaries written by young children during historical eras or events. This particular book takes place in Virgina during the Civil War and is written by Emma Simpson.

Even though the series is inten
...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
I absolutely love this series, as each book featured in it takes the reader back into a different time in our country's history. It's both an exciting and educational read. Though I'm out of the targeted age range for these books, I find them to be just as engaging as I would if I was reading these as a young reader. Barry Denenberg does a brilliant job at giving the reader an inside view of the life of a young girl living through the Civil War.

Emma Simpson has grown up in the south in a rather
...more
Geraldine
I had mixed feelings about this book. I liked that it was old fashioned and proper. It's different than other, more common books. Her experiences can be relatable to the readers and can’t be at the same time. There are many people who go through losses but, not the tragedy they went through. So it keeps it relatable and new, which is important. I would recommend this book to people who like tragedies, history and biographies. It is a younger level book, as in, it's really easy to read for the mo ...more
Lauren Kramer
This is a diary of Emma Simpson who lived during the Civil War in Gordonsville, Virigina, 1864. The diary entries cover from one Christmas to the next, covering what happens within one year's time. In dealing with the war, many tragedies happen to Emma, including: her father's absense, her love Tally's absense, her mother's death, and her home being invaded by the Union army, etc. Emma's diary entries express her emotions and depict rather truthfully of what anyone would be feeling during these ...more
Rebecca
Born into a wealthy Southern family that owned a large plantation, Emma Simpson had a carefree life until the Civil War began. But then the war changed her life forevr. Her father, brother, uncle, and the young man she loves go off to war, and her brother and uncle died. Emma thought the hardships of war would be mostly suffered by the soldiers on the battlefield, but she was wrong and now life on their plantation has become very difficult.

First, there are rumors that the slaves Emma always thou
...more
Anna
At first, this book seemed to be a bit disorganized. It didn't feel like the author was really putting together a coherent and linear story. However, I soon began to realize that Emma's diary is much like how a real person would write a diary - with singular sentences on some days and long paragraphs on others, not always in a story-like fashion but often with small observations like, "Today was sunny." I ended up liking that attempt at realism.

Finishing it, I felt like this book was much darker
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

Growing up on a Virginia plantation in the mid-1800s, slavery has been part of Emma Simpson's entire life. Now, she and her mother are working tirelessly to keep the place running in the absence of her father, who is somewhere to the south fighting the Yankees.

Emma hears constant reports describing the ignorant Yankees and their disapproval of holding the black people against their will. The slaves she's known on her father's planta
...more
Megan Marie
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Lauren
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Kelly
I love this series, but this particular book disappointed. It was so short, barely 133 pages, and many of the entries were only a sentence or two. I didn't feel like I built a connection with Emma. The diary is about the civil war, yet it lacked details. I've read better. Plus, I hate the new cover, the old ones are WAY better looking. (That's just a random opinion)
Millie Shumway
Emma is just coming of age and wanting to experience the things normal teenage girls do like parties, fine dresses, pretty hair updos, and handsome young boys, but she is forced to grow up even more quickly with the outbreak of the Civil War and the drafting in of her father and her new infatuation, Tally. The story follows Emma's diary entries that talk about difficulties with the slaves, her mothers' moral strength and failing health, and her excitement at receiving letters from her father and ...more
Julie Pfeiffer
A fictional historical book written as a diary of Emma Simpson. This book gives a running history of the year 1864-1865. Emma is a fifteen year old southern girl whose father and brother have gone off to fight the Civil War. Her brother dies early on in the book. She is faced with many horrific challenges throughout the year, including death, take-over of their home and battles near their plantation home. The book, written as a diary, gives excellent insight as to what the war would have been li ...more
Tiffany
I remember when I first received this book, alongside The Winter of Red Snow and A Journey to the New World. That was when I was a lot younger than I am now and my collection of dear America books expanded to include numerous other titles that never failed to captivate my interest. I rarely put them down until I had finished reading them, as I found myself doing again tonight.

This particular story is of a southern girl, age 15, who grows up in the south in a somewhat glamorous life only to have
...more
Aspen Deters
The books name is Dear America When Will this Cruel War be Over? The author is Barry Denenberg. The gerne is historical novel. This book is about a young girl named Emma Simpson, as she experinces the Civil War and sickness.I rated this book two stars because it is not more detailed about the Civil War.
Keylee Harvey
This semester I have read the book "When Will this cruel war be over?"The book was very well thought and described.This book is realistic fiction.ITs also a story.I rated this story 4 stars because it was ok but I wasn't that much ingaged in it.I hop you will read it too.
Valerie
I was hoping for more accounts from the war and not just the perspective of a girl at home waiting for her brother/father/fiancé to come home and battling illnesses. There were some interesting accounts of what was happening at home at this time though.
Meaghan
I read this six or seven years ago and am writing this review from what I remember. God, this book was boring. Many of the diary entries were only one or two sentences long, for example "I washed my hair today." Also, the protagonist was obsessed with the novel Jane Eyre and kept making references to it, which I found annoying because I've never read Jane Eyre and, I suspect, most of the target audience of 9 to 12 year olds wouldn't have read it either. I suppose it was a bit of a novelty to rea ...more
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12691
Barry Denenberg is the critically acclaimed author of non-fiction and historical fiction. His historical fiction includes titles in the Dear America, My Name is America, and Royal Diaries series, many of which have been named NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. His nonfiction books have covered a wide array of topics, from Anne Frank to Elvis Presley. After the publicatio ...more
More about Barry Denenberg...

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