Soldier's Heart
Gary Paulsen
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Soldier's Heart

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,928 ratings  ·  302 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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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...more
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
Adrienne Morgan
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...more
Shana Loven
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...more
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...more
Alysha Speer
Jan 06, 2009 Alysha Speer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Joseph Law
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...more
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...more
Sandy A
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
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
Christy Hudson
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...more
Soldier's Heart is the story of Charley Goddard (who actually existed), a fifteen-year-old boy who lies about his age to join the Union Army. The short novel goes through his journey as he experiences the horrors of almost every major battle in The Civil War.
This book was short, with very little, extremely mild language, but it still shocked me. It portrays the horrors of the battlefield as Charley sees them. The honesty in the descriptions is shocking. I wouldn't say that I loved the book simp...more
William Barton
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...more
Terrific book. My students were riveted to Charley's story. A must read for US History (part 1) classes everywhere, and BONUS.... the story is only 102 pages, so kids won't get tired or bored with it. My hat is off to Gary Paulsen with this absolute WINNER of a book!
What I thought of this book:

This book has a great insight into war, and the contrast between what was thought of war and what it was actually like. It shows the mindset of a soldier, and the damage that was done to soldiers if they escaped war. There are very graphic battle scenes describing injuries, violence, Charley has thoughts of suicide, and some mild language.

What this book is about:

This story follows the life of Charley Goddard, and his encounters in the First Minnesota Volunteers during...more
Took about 45 minutes to read...short book for young adults....pretty honest description of Civil War battle war horrors without being distasteful. This boy enlisted at 15 b/c he didn't want to miss out and ended up getting a lot more than he bargained for.
Vanessa Genao
I read this in Humanities with my teachers this year and it was great! The details are amazing and the sophistication of the words in phenomenal. It is also an entertaining but interesting way to learn about the Civil War from the perspective of a soldier.
Jac Sevasta
ONLY giving this a 5 because I have FINALLY found an accessible war story that delivers what all my students who want to read "war stories" are actually interested in: graphic details about wounds and dead people. And from Gary Paulson no less. I'm shocked.
I really enjoyed this book due to the fact the author added a lot of things that a soldier would used to carry in their bag. I love the parts when fighting and killing would be going on to show what kind of things happened during the civil war. I loved the part when the guy said I am a man, so does that techniqually he is not a baby who lives at home or a person who fights without crying about it? That sentenced really took out to me. I liked where the setting took place, it took place in Winona...more
Sophia F
A very serious book, all about war and fighting, we jump into the perspective of Charley Goddard and see how the war impacted him in many ways. It was good for a book club book, but I don't think I'd likely read it for fun.
When I read books from the perspective of those either fighting or affected by war, it breaks my heart. This was one such book. I've read many books on the Civil War but this brought up different aspects and incidents that really made me think about the experiences of those involved. The short history at the beginning of why this book is called Soldier's Heart was interesting too. My kids and I have loved Gary Paulsen's books for years and once again I wasn't disappointed. For some of the graphi...more
Brittany Permann
Soldiers Heart by Gary Paulsen was an easy read because it was short but at the same time it was hard for me to read because I haven't ever gotten in to those types of books. It is about Charley, a young boy who lies about his age and joins a group of volunteers to fight in the war. It was the first "shooting" war so everyone was very excited about it. He was shocked to see what the war brought and had many terrifying things happen. He had to grow up faster than he planned. His whole life change...more
Charlie lies about his age to enlist in the American Civil War. He wants to prove to his family that he can provide for them. However, he gets much more than he bargained for. Charlie experiences the harshness and cruelties of war, sees friends die, and he himself gets injured. At the end of the book, he is suffering from PTSD, another name for it is Soldier's Heart.

I liked the book. It was short, sweet, and full of action. The descriptions in this book were also well written, and as this is a P...more
Charley is a young man who wants to get into the army even though he is too young. In order to fool people about his age he goes to another town where they don't know him and he can lie about it. At first he is super excited to go to war and thinks it will be a great experience. After he enters his first fight he finds out it is not something to take be excited about. The rest of the war leads to many tragedies and horrors for him to face.
I thought the book wasn't a very good read. It seemed to...more
The book reads fast, but is well written with advanced vocabulary for the general age group to which it would find greater appeal. I’d recommend it to anyone, though. I read this book with a group of middle school boys for a teaching assignment. I asked them if they thought going to war seemed cool to them before this book, after reading it - I asked them how they would feel if they had to ship off today, and the discussion was very interesting and had everyone involved. I think it changed some...more
Jesycca Cousineau
Told in a very simple and direct manner, Gary Paulsen writes the story of a fifteen year-old boy who went to fight in the Civil War. Charley Goddard, longing for an adventure and to be a part of a "shooting war" that everybody was hyping about, leaves his mother and younger brother to fight, only to find out that war is not as glorious as everybody thought. It paints a very vivid picture of the effects of war and PTSD. I recommend this book to anyone who has loved one in the military so they can...more
Carson Ball
Soldiers heart is an interesting and emotional historical fiction novel. Its based of the real life of Charlie Goddard, who you first meet as a 15 year old boy from Minnesota. Who is determined to lie about his age and enlist in the first Minnesota regiment. This book will keep you interested throughout by making you feel so emotionally close to the characters. The only down side of this book was its lack of details in some areas. Even considering those factors I would suggest this book to histo...more
Naman D
This book was about a teenager named charley who enrolls in the military during the First Minnesota Draft. He stood in a crowd lines up for a shooting war but since he did not understand what he was signing up for, he was surprised to find himself on the battlefield.

I did somewhat enjoy this book but it was not in an interesting genre. I would Reccomend this to anyone who enjoys reading about the past. If one was to like stories about war then they would like this book. Overall i think Paulsen...more
Finding a good book on the civil war is difficult. There are those that try in an honest effort to capture this period of time in our history, but completely miss. Then there are those that put all of themselves into it and hit all targets. This is definitely one of the latter.

I'd wanted to read this for a good year now, and the other day I came across it at a used book store for a dollar (got to love used book store). It was one of the best investments in a dollar I've made in a long time.

Now I...more
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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...more
More about Gary Paulsen...
Hatchet (Brian's Saga, #1) Brian's Winter (Brian's Saga, #3) The River (Brian's Saga, #2) Brian's Return (Brian's Saga, #4) Brian's Hunt (Brian's Saga, #5)

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