The 1957 historical fiction novel, Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith, was based off of real events that happened in the American Civil War. In the beginning, Jeff (the main character) and his family are attacked by bushwackers. Jeff decides to join the army on the Union side (anti-slave) and train as a infantry man. Jeff gets into some skirmishes over the first two years, but really sees combat first hand at the battle of Prairie Grove. There, he shows bravery that awarded him the medal of honor, the highest award any soldier can earn. After the battle, Jeff trains as a spy and crosses into enemy territory to gather info. He is only supposed to be there a couple of months but his visit extend into years. When at last, the confederates find out about him and the info he has gathered, they try to arrest him, but Jeff bolts and starts the daring escape back to friendly territory.
Rifles for Watie is a very interesting young adult story, that won the John Newbery Medal. I also liked how Harold Keith portrayed Jeff as a person with feelings, not just as a soldier who blindly follows orders. The way that I personally feel about Rifles for Watie, is it was a terrific novel and it very well deserved the Newbery Award. I recommend this novel to anyone who is a history buff or just likes to read in general.