Children's Literature Reviews for Teaching History

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Friday, December 31, 2010

The Judas Field

Title: The Judas Field
Author: Howard Bahr

Topic: The Civil War
Grade Level: 9-12
Students: Many strong readers, just a few struggling or reluctant readers
Rating by: Charles Laramie (

Historically Accurate?
(4) Yes and also includes historical notes, primary sources, etc.
(3) Yes
(2) A few inaccurate or misleading portrayals
(1) Not a bit

(4) Everyone - even the most reluctant readers – can get on board
(3) Can be used for a whole class read
(2) Can only be used with a small high-powered reading group
(1) Recommend only to students that love reading

An Engaging Story?
(4) Almost all students will beg to keep reading
(3) Most students will get caught up in the story
(2) Some students will read ahead by mistake
(1) Students will groan when the book is mentioned

Prompts Discussion?
(4) Students will still be talking about it in the hallway
(3) Will prompt discussion about major issues in the past as well as today
(2) Will prompt discussion about the characters and the events in the book
(1) Will not prompt discussion

A Comment from Charles Laramie:
The book The Judas Field deals with the characters' experiences in the Civil War through flashbacks. We hear a lot about PTSD today but what Civil War veterans must have had to deal with can only be imagined. It's likely that thousands drank themselves to death or committed suicide. The book does not in anyway glamorize war. It's much better and more hard hitting than The Red Badge of Courage.

Amazon's Product Description:   
"After returning from the Civil War, Cass Wakefield means to live out the rest of his days in his hometown in Mississippi. But when a childhood friend asks him to accompany her to Franklin, Tennessee, to recover the bodies of her father and brother from the battlefield where they died, Cass cannot refuse. As they make their way north in the company of two of Cass's brothers-in-arms, memories of the war emerge with overwhelming vividness. Before long the group has assembled on the haunted ground of Franklin, where past and present--the legacy of war and the narrow hope of redemption--will draw each of them to a painful reckoning."

Link to Reviews on Amazon
Link to the book at Google Books
Buy this book from your local bookstore via Indie Bound

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