In June 1861, when the Civil War began, Charley Goddard enlisted in the First Minnesota Volunteers. He was 15. He didn't know what a "shooting war" meant or what he was fighting for. But he didn't want to miss out on a great adventure.
The "shooting war" turned out to be the horror of combat and the wild luck of survival; how it feels to cross a field toward the enemy, waiting for fire. When he entered the service he was a boy. When he came back he was different; he was only 19, but he was a man with "soldier's heart," later known as "battle fatigue."
"A stark, utterly persuasive novel of combat life in the Civil War that may well challenge generations of middle-school readers."--The New York Times
"Paulsen's storytelling is so psychologically true that readers will feel they have lived through Charley's experience."--Publishers Weekly, Starred
"The nightmare of the Civil War comes to the pages in this novel from Paulsen . . . based on the real-life experiences of a young enlistee."--Kirkus Reviews, Pointer
"The novel's spare, simple language and vivid visual images of brutality and death on the battlefield make it accessible and memorable to young people."--Booklist, Starred