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Archive YA/Children Group Read > 2019 April Across Five Aprils

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message 1: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (last edited Mar 30, 2019 01:58PM) (new)

Rosemarie | 9690 comments Mod
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt tells the story of five years in the life of a teenage boy during the American Civil War.
It takes place in southern Illinois, and describes how the war affected Jethro's family and their farm.

I was checking some of the reviews of this book, and they vary widely. I enjoyed this book and would read other books by this author.

Please share your thoughts and comments on this book, which was nominated for a Newberry medal in 1965.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 195 comments I read this a week or so ago. I liked it, but didn't love it. I will look forward to the conversation about it though!


message 3: by Tracey (new)

Tracey (traceyrb) | 1371 comments This is my second read but this time as an audiobook. I liked it both times but I knew very little about the American Civil War before and this was an interesting introduction to it. I can see if you already knew much you might not like it as much. I liked the way the author had the family divided over the issues at hand just as the nation was divided. One thing I did know before reading this was that the number of Americans killed during the Civil War was more than the total number of all wars since. That makes you think what a terrible event it was. I think civil wars are more terrifying than other wars because it is a people turned against one another. The same occurred several times in the UK such as during the time of Empress Matilda and King Stephan, the Wars of the Roses and of course the English Civil War in the 1600s.


message 4: by Gem (new)

Gem  | 159 comments I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed it. I found it realistic and feel like it didn't gloss over the horrors of the war. We often teach our children about the generals, the battles, locations and of course we memorize the Gettysburg address all while skipping over the injuries and casualties of the men fighting (on both sides). I only recently learned (and I'm over 50) that there were prisoner of war camps where multitudes of men starved to death simply because they had no resources to feed the army much less the pows. It's a sad and appalling time in our history the more you learn about it.

One of the things I found particularly interesting was how the author addressed George McClellan. Although he was hugely popular and adored by his men at the time, history has seen him as the buffoon he really was. I felt like the author gave nod to that opinion by having Jethro's (brother or brother in law... sorry I don't remember which) express his displeasure of McClellan.


message 5: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 9690 comments Mod
I liked this book because it showed how regular people were affected by the war.
It is truly appalling what happened in the prisoner of war camps on both sides, but especially those in prisons in the south because they had limited resources.

I think that well researched and well written historical fiction and is a good way to learn about other time periods than our own.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 195 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I liked this book because it showed how regular people were affected by the war.
It is truly appalling what happened in the prisoner of war camps on both sides, but especially those in prisons in t..."


I agree. Historical fiction almost always prompts me to read more nonfiction on the time/place so that I can figure out more info.


message 7: by Paula (new)

Paula Miller (paula_miller_eagle_librarian) | 1 comments I love historical fiction and really wanted to love this book, but it just wasn't winning my heart. I enjoyed learning about Jethro's family, community, and the hardships of the war on them, but the last part of the book began to read like a history textbook describing the different battles of the civil war. It was interesting, but I just didn't love it.

Gem wrote: "I only recently learned (and I'm over 50) that there were prisoner of war camps where multitudes of men starved to death" . I am just learning this too! Horrible, horrible situation. So many men died in this war during battle and then to think that others died in the POW camps from starvation is so sad.


message 8: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 9690 comments Mod
I am glad you found the book interesting and learned something from it, Paula.

I know how disappointing it is to want to love a book and be disappointed.
That has happened to me occasionally, and the worst is when I just couldn't finish the book, no matter how hard I tried.


message 9: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 476 comments I finally was able to get a copy of the book. I loved the sense of time and place in Across Five Aprils and how the author is able to show the horrors of was without having to use graphic violence.


message 10: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 9690 comments Mod
That is what impressed me too, Manybooks. It was low-key and had a sense of reality.


message 11: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks | 476 comments Rosemarie wrote: "That is what impressed me too, Manybooks. It was low-key and had a sense of reality."

And I also really love how the conversations are all in vernacular. I really gives a sense of immediacy and colour.


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Across Five Aprils (other topics)

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Irene Hunt (other topics)