How I Found the Strong by Margaret McMullan

How I Found the Strong

I confess that I enjoy reading about the Civil War.  I find this period of American history particularly interesting.  With this confession in mind, it is no surprise that I very much enjoyed How I Found the Strong.

In the spring of 1861 the men of Smith County, Mississippi are eager and proud to march off to the war with the North.  They plan to defend their beliefs about slavery by quickly defeating their enemies and they expect to be home by Christmas.  Frank, “Shanks”, is the baby of the Russell family and, at 10 years-old, he is too young to join his father and older brother Henry (who is 14 years old) when they enlist in the Confederate army.  He is also too skinny and weak to even look the part of being a soldier.  He is deeply disappointed to be left at home.  He so wants to make his Pa proud.

During the ensuing years of the war, Shanks helps take care of things at home.  He experiences the joy of new life, the sadness of death and desertion, as well as the daily struggles of farming during the war.  He grows bigger and taller and he witnesses many moments that will shape him for the rest of his life.  He also questions his own beliefs about both slavery and the war.

The author based this book on a manuscript by her grandmother’s great uncle.

Posted by: Wendy

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