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Soldier's Heart
Gary Paulsen
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Soldier's Heart

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,883 Ratings  ·  428 Reviews
Award-winning author Gary Paulsen brings listeners "the nightmare of the Civil War...based on the real-life experiences of a young enlistee".
Published (first published September 8th 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 16, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: engl-7701
When I first read this over two years ago, prior to teaching it to 7th graders, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I heard Gary Paulsen was a good young adult author but up until this point, I had never read any of his work. I remember hearing about it from coworkers who said it was good and gave me a brief description of the book.

Soldier’s Heart is a quick read. As I am re-reading this for the second time, I am find the pages are flying by. Paulsen does a great job of vividly describ
Erika  Forth
While I am a fan of Gary Paulsen, I was not a fan of Soldier's Heart. This novel just had way too many issues for me to enjoy it. The writing wasn't very good, and there were lots of longwinded and awkward sentences. The pacing was off as well. We get a brief introduction to who Charley is, and then he is thrown into a couple battles, and then all of a sudden it was a couple years later. It didn't feel like a novel to me; I think this would have worked better as a short story. I would have liked ...more
"Soldier's Heart" by Gary Paulsen is a novel based on Charley Goddard's experience in the Civil War.

This book is very fast-paced, primarily slowing for only battle scenes; in fact, the book clocks in at a mere 106 pages. My guess is this was intended to keep the target audience (middle-grade readers) captivated.
But if you aren't a middle grade reader, the lack of content just makes the book seem unrealistic.

Another major problem is how Charley is described in battle.
One moment Charley is
Apr 09, 2012 Gabrielle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gabrielle Bolland

Historical Fiction

Soldier’s Heart is an amazing tale about a young boy serving in the American Civil War. Charley lies about his age in order to enlist; nothing could have prepared him for the hardships he encountered. Gary Paulsen weaves a powerful tale of sickness, injury and despair. As you join Charley, you can hear the sound of the rifles and the falling of Charley’s comrades. Based on a real person, the reader feels everything Charley feels, hears everything he hears, and
Brittany Becker
Soldier's Heart is a story based on a young man, Charley Goddard. Charley wanted so bad to fight in the war that he lied about his age. He was only fifteen years old. He loved adventure and wanted to know what it was like to fight in battles.
Battle by battle, the author describes vivid images and Charley's thoughts and emotions through this wild adventure. He makes friends, but quickly loses them. He feels alone. He tries very hard to fit in, but every time he gets close to someone, so
Adrienne Morgan
Apr 03, 2012 Adrienne Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soldier's Heart is a blunt depiction of Civil War combat. Based on the real-life experiences of Charley Goddard, the novel is an account of Charley's experiences from the time he enlists in the Union army at age fifteen to a couple of years after the Civil War when he is twenty-one and his life is a shambles. The title of the book is a phrase used by Americans to label Civil War veterans who seemed mentally lost because of the war. The atmosphere at the town meetings discussing the possibility i ...more
Paulsen, Gary. (2000) Soldier's heart: Being the story of the enlistment and due service of the boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers. New York: Laurel-Leaf Publishing.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Format: Audio book

Charley Goddard is a teenage boy living in Minnesota when war is declared between the Northern States and the Southern States. Wanting to be a part of the action, Charley lies about his age to enlist in the army. Like so many people he believed this would be an adv
Shana Loven
May 11, 2013 Shana Loven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shana Loven
APA Citation: Paulsen, Gary. (1998). Soldier's heart : a novel of the Civil War. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Print
Selection Process: Kirkus Reviews

Gary Paulsen’s A Soldier’s Heart tells the tale of Charley Goddard, a fifteen-year-old boy, in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Charley, eager to squash the rebels, lies about his age to head to war. What follows is the heartbreaking horror reality of war: the harsh living conditions for troop
William Barton
Jul 11, 2014 William Barton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-13-25
Soldiers Heart is a candid depiction of the barbarity involved with the civil war. The book depicts a series of famous battles in which the characters are faced with unreasonable odds and terrors. The book follows one character in particular, Charley Goddard, who was an actual young man who served in the war. The novel is a horrific telling of what soldiers had to deal with physically and emotionally during that time in history.

I loved this book, but it is not for the faint of heart. There is a
Alysha Speer
Jan 06, 2009 Alysha Speer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: junior high students
Recommended to Alysha by: my English teacher, Mr. Smith
This book was kind of cheesy, I thought. It was a great book for teens to read about the Civil War, reading all about the bodies, the shock, and other things. It was in third person, which is not my favorite, but I will still read. The boy sneaks into the Army, not knowing what was coming for him. He survives several brutal battles.
Charlie comes home from the war...but he just can't stand life. He won't kill himself, not yet, but it's just so hard for him. He lives in a house far away from town
Kristen Gapinski
May 21, 2016 Kristen Gapinski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My students thought it was pretty cool reading about a soldier from Minnesota in the Civil War. I liked how it really told some of the experiences from beginning to end of a soldier. Great book.
Zakaria Faid
Apr 10, 2016 Zakaria Faid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charley Goddard is a tall and fairly skinny 15 year old adolescent but too young of a man to partake in the Minnesota (his state) army. He was very eager to be part of the Minnesota army, while his mother doubted that he would be selected. Surprisingly, he did get selected in the army after lying about his age and so embarked on the adventure, where he would quit home and not see his mother ever since. In the old days, the Minnesota army’s agenda was to eliminate “the Rebs” or rebellions that se ...more
Kathleen Payne
Soldier's Heart is based on the letters that Charley Goddard wrote back home to his mother in Minnesota during the Civil War. Through the eyes of this very young soldier that lied about his age and mustered in to the Army when he was only 15 or 16 years of age, he captures the essence of fighting in a war and seeing the stupidity of war. Why are we fighting? What is this war all about? I loved the part in the story when the 2 soldiers "trade goods" to on another, across the wide creek, tobacco f ...more
Angie Fehl
3.5 stars

Based on the story of real-life Civil War soldier Charley Goddard, this is a historical fiction look at what his experiences with the Minnesota Volunteers might have been like. In the summer of 1861, Charley is only fifteen years old, technically too young to enlist but like many boys during times of war, he decides to lie about his age in order to have an adventure / life experience outside of his simple country upbringing. As Paulsen describes, Charley is still too young to be able to
May 16, 2015 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
You could tell he really did his research.
Elizabeth Church
I read this book for an Adolescent Literature class. I'm a Paulsen fan, but not a war history buff. Although it was a fine read and provided a good insight into some of the Civil War battles, it is not my high on my list due to the subject matter.

Here is my brief summary/review.
Soldier's Heart: Being the Story of the Enlistment and Due Service of the Boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers is a novel by Gary Paulsen. The story is about a 15-year-old Minnesota boy, Charley Goddard,
Joseph Law
Jul 21, 2014 Joseph Law rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-13-25
Soldier's Heart, a piece of historical fiction based on an actual soldier, is a powerful read that shows the violence, pathos, terror, and boredom of combat in a way that even eludes many historical accounts. Told in the first person, it follows the underage soldier, Charley Goddard, from his premature enlistment in the Union army through the Civil War from Manassas to Gettysburg. Goddard survives the war but the war has taken a toll on him.

I have read many historical works on the Civil War from
Jun 08, 2014 Jensen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-1-12
Charley Goddard is just fifteen years old when he enlists to fight in the Civil War, obviously lying about his age. Throughout the book, the author describes how Charley's eyes are opened as he witnesses the hardship and devastation that results from war. This is a coming of age story about a boy becoming a man.
I have a really hard time with Paulsen's books, I often find them extremely boring. This one was only one hundred pages, and so there were pros and cons to this story being so short. The
Sandy A
Feb 06, 2014 Sandy A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the book Soldiers Heart the author, Gary Paulsen's main idea is, "if you want something thats important and will help others, even if you have to lie, you shouldn't let anything hold you back."I personally thought this was a really touching and sad book. The story takes place in Minnesota during the civil war where the main character, Charley lies about his age so that he could battle in the civil war. In the process, Charley begins preparing to become a soldier. He participates in many battl ...more
May 27, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read this before and I don't really know...but it didn't really interest me.
Mar 02, 2015 Austin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: form-1
In the book Soldier's Heart by Gary Paulsen the main theme is that looks can be deceiving. This book is set in 1861 about a fifteen year old boy named Charley Goddard who lies about his age so he can join a "shooting war". Little does he know this was what is now known as the American Civil War. Charley begins training as a soldier and it is much more different than he had thought. Before his second battle Charley befriends a man named Nelson. In Charley's second battle they win against the con ...more
Brittney Johnson
In 1861 Charley is a fifteen-years-old, living on a farm in Minnesota with his mother and little brother. Everyone has heard the rumor that there is to be a war, with those in the North fighting to stop the Southern rebels from doing damage to the country. No one is quite sure if the war is really going to happen, but Charley is determined to be a part of it if it is. This decision leads to a boy having to quickly become a man when faced with harrowing death and destruction that only a war can b ...more
Chris Beland
Nov 22, 2015 Chris Beland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Soldier's Heat by Gary Paulsen was a sad read. It was based about a real boy named Charley who was 15 and ran off to join the military. It started when he told his mom that he wanted to go be a man and help fight in the war. His mom agreed because like everyone else she thought the war would be over quickly and Charley would not even have enough time to get down the fighting. But the war lasted for a long time and Charley was in about every major battle. Charley witnessed what most people sh ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Grady rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grady Munroe
Core reading

In Soldier’s Heart, Gary Paulsen shows the theme, one should think before one acts. The book is set in 1861 during the American Civil War. The main character in this story is fifteen year old boy Charley Goddard. Charley is a dedicated boy, Charley lies about his age so he can be enlisted to fight. Charley thinks this is a “shooting war”, little does he know this was the bloodiest war in American history. Charley begins hardcore training, Charley is surprised becau
Kennedy Hally
Soldier's Heart is about a boy named Charley Goddard who is 15, and joins the Union soldiers in the American Civil War. He is not technically old enough to enlist in the army, but does it because it is a "once in a lifetime chance" to see a war. His mother is hesitant, but reluctantly agrees. Every part of this story is a piece of someone's real experiences in the Civil War. This book shows some of those experiences of wars, and post-war life.

In the beginning Charley is glad that he joined the a
Mar 03, 2015 Frank rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Frank Visco

The book I read was a Soldiers Heart by Gary Paulson. I believe that the reader comes to understand that war is not always whet people think it is. This book takes place in Minnesota during the civil war and other places that the army travels. The main character in this book is charley, a young man who joins the union army. Charley is a young man that lives in Minnesota and is seeing signs being posted all over about joining the army to help fight the confederate army.
Christy Hudson
Jun 09, 2014 Christy Hudson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-1-12
This is a nonfiction story, following a boy named Charley, who is fighting in the Civil War. It follows him from the start, where he lies about his age to enlist, and how eager he is to be doing this thing that he considers to be the kind of thing that men do, and he wants to be a man. It then follows all of the changes that he goes through as he goes into battle, and how the things he sees and the things that he has to do ends up shaping him.
I found this book to be very enjoyable. It was not
Calvin Kanz
May 26, 2016 Calvin Kanz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Soldier's Heart is a tale of a fictionous young man named Charlie who enlists in the Army by lying of his age. The Civil War begins to lengthen into an unexpectedly long conflict when Charlie is ordered to fight against the Confederacy. Through Gary Paulsen's style of writing, the truly horrifying aspects of war come to light through Charlie's experiences in the various major battles he participates in. Gary writes that the commonly known Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of today's armed forces wa ...more
Courtney McKinney
***Spoiler Alert*** A Soldier’s Heart is about a kid named Charley, and he wanted to join the war, so he did. He joined the war when he was 13. He experienced many battles. During the last war… sadly… he was shot. He lived through the whole time of being shot. He didn't die until he was at the age of 23.

This is a fiction book; however, the war actually happened. This is a genre that I sometimes like to read,depending on whether it is recommended as a good book. This was a really good book, and
Sarah Crawford
Feb 02, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is about a boy named Charley Goddard who is 15 at the start of the Civil War. He lies about his age and signs up with the First Minnesota Volunteers, thinking he's going on a great adventure.

The first part of his experience involves lots of drilling and little work with their guns, due to lack of ammunition. Then the group gets shipped to Maryland where they find some people supporting the Rebels.

He first battle is the battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), and it's there that he finds o
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Although he was never a dedicated student, Paulsen developed a passion for reading at an early age. After a librarian gave him a book to read--along with his own library card--he was hooked. He began spending hours alone in the basement of his apartment building, reading one book after another.

Running away from home at the age of 14 and traveling with a carnival, Paulsen acquired a taste for adve
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