The Boy's War by Jim Murphy

December 7, 2011
By Eric Huerta BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
Eric Huerta BRONZE, Aurora, Illinois
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The 1992 ALA Best Book for Young Adults and The Golden Kite Award Book for Nonfiction in 1990, The Boy’s War by Jim Murphy is about the difficult life of young Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. The Boys’ War is told in third person omniscient, and Jim Murphy includes real experiences, quotes, and photographs from the soldiers in the Civil War. The Boys’ War by Jim Murphy is a non-fiction book which contains many facts but little to no bias. The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, outside of Fort Sumter. Young boys on both sides, the Union and Confederate, faced similar situations. Many of the young boys enlisted in the army to leave the boring lifestyle at home, but they soon felt homesick. The camp life was harsh on the young boys. The young soldiers lived in tents, or sheds, and had short supplies of food. A pastime in camp included gambling, pulling pranks, and occasionally, the priest or minister would come to give a sermon. As the Civil War progressed, the fighting became more aggressive, but many soldiers died of sickness, disease, malnutrition, or exposure. After the Union victory in the war, the young soldiers returned home. At first, the young boys enlisted in the army to leave home or follow their friends, but in the end they fought and died for the same reason as many of the older men, to defend their homes and freedom. This shows that social influences can determine a person’s future, that feeling alone and scared can cause people, in this case young boys, to mature and change, and being courageous and brave can cause many to accomplish amazing things. In my opinion, underage boys shouldn’t have been allowed to fight under any circumstances during the Civil War, because they weren’t disciplined, and some had no experience in handling a gun. The Boy’s War glorified war in some ways, but demonstrated the struggles and fears of many young boys.

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