Book Title:  Rifles For Waite                                       

Author:  Harold Keith

Publisher: Harper Teen

  • ISBN-10: 006447030X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064470308

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages:  352

Ages:  12 and up

Awards:  Newberry Medal (1958), Lewis Carroll Shelf Award

Why Did I Choose It?  Not only was this book a Newberry Medal Award winner in 1958 and thus on my stack of "must reads", it came highly recommended to me as a book my oldest son would love by a homeschool mom and her son, who had read the book many times.

A Bit From The Back Cover:   Jefferson Davis Bussey is sixteen when the Civil War breaks out.  He can't wait to leave his Kansas farm and defend the Union against Colonel Waite, leader of the dreaded Cherokee Indian rebels.

But Jeff soon learns that there's more to war than honor and glory...

My Review:  This was one of the best historical fiction novels on a war that I have ever read.  This is what Charlotte Mason would truly deem a living book. The story pulls you into the life of the protagonist immediately. There is a true understanding of the thoughts of the people who lived in that time - an understanding of why people were for the war and why they were against it.  And not only that, but a true understanding of the conflicting emotions felt by young infantry soldiers as they marched for miles and experience hunger, exhaustion, death and the realization that even the enemies are human.   The details of the war uncovered in this story amazed me; things that I have never learned about in the textbook education I had in the public schools.  The book was wonderfully written by a native Oklahoman - who was working on his master's thesis in history when he wrote the numerous notes that would develop into the award-winning novel. The pace keeps the reader alert and wanting to finish the story and  learn more about this time in our nation's history - a real living book.  I HIGHLY recommend it!