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Get age-based picks. Battles are described graphically and in detail, including the gruesome deaths of comrades. Charley contemplates suicide. Parents need to know that this realistic depiction of war will open teens' eyes. The book covers major Civil War battles and details injuries and diseases among the soldiers. Though he enlists dishonestly, Charley does his best.


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Details injuries and causes of disease among the troops. It's great as an adjunct to history study, and for reluctant readers. Add your rating See all 1 parent review. Add your rating See all 2 kid reviews. When fifteen-year-old Charley lies about his age and enlists in the Minnesota Volunteers to fight in the Civil War, he has no idea what war is like. He soon finds out. Months of boredom are punctuated by weeks of disease, hunger, and cold, and days of terror and horror as he fights in several of the major battles, including Bull Run and Gettysburg.

He returns home an old man at twenty-one, shattered in mind, body, and spirit. In an author's note, Paulsen tells us he died two years later of poorly healed wounds and what we would call post-traumatic stress. Includes map and bibiliography. Gary Paulsen pulls no punches in depicting the physical, emotional, and psychological effects in this absorbing Civil War chronicle based on a true story.

Soldier's Heart by Gary Paulsen - Teacher's Guide - uvinigyz.tk: Books

With his characteristic blunt and muscular prose, Paulsen strips away the illusions and the rose-colored filters, and shows readers the truth. Unvarnished truth is Paulsen's weapon, and he wields it formidably in descriptions of battles so graphic and yet so moving that the reader doesn't know whether to shudder in revulsion or weep at the waste of it all. Amid the carnage and stupidity, perhaps most devastating of all is watching young Charley turn from boy to old, old man within just a few years. Parents should be prepared to discuss this book with their children: They will be disturbed -- and if they're not, or if they think it's cool, then even more discussion is necessary.

Families can talk about the realities of war. Did the graphic realism of this book surprise you? Has it changed your view of the Civil War and other battles? Do you think war is as painful for soldiers today as it is for Charley? Why or why not? Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

This took me an hour and a half to read. It was a very good book and kept me active in the book. Oct 16, Matthew Lewis rated it really liked it. Charley was a farm boy in Minnesota and lived with his mother on a farm. Charley wanted to join The Continental Army. He tried to enlist in the army and is accepted because the general does not know that Charley is not 18 until later in the book. Paulsen widely expresses how underaged soldiers should not and can not handle the unpleasantries of The Revolutionary War, although Paulsen can come off as unpleasant.


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  • Paulsen expresses that the soldiers are too young to fight in such a gruesome war. Paulsen shows this when Charley is in his first battle and does not want to hear the sounds of the war The generals are accurate for once, and they show how being exposed to mature ideas can and will affect you permanently in your life.

    Soldier's Heart

    People try to expose themselves to ideas they should not be doing while they are too young. They have adrenaline rushes and want to experience life in a way they could not before. People do break the rules because they want to have some fun while they are underage. Sometimes people break the rules when they are out with their friends. They can help one another, which can help each other. Throughout the book, Paulsen shows how the soldiers are unstable and unable to do the work of a real soldier. Even though Paulsen can come across as a harsh person, he does this to inform the world of the dangers of doing work that is not designed you.

    This book should be recommended to anyone who enjoys historical first-person fiction and some gruesomeness. Rating: 3. Mar 31, Kenneth Wade rated it liked it Shelves: This book is very fast-paced, primarily slowing for only battle scenes; in fact, the book clocks in at a mere pages. My guess is this was intended to keep the target audience middle-grade readers captivated. But if you aren't a middle grade reader, the lack of content just makes the book seem unrealistic. Another major problem is how Charley is described in battle. One moment Charley is looking around the battlefield.

    Then, in the next sentence, he is suddenly filled with "savage rage". Here's a direct quote: "Charley glanced at him, surprised. Nelson had been there. Cocky Nelson. He was nowhere to be seen and Charley hadn't seen him get hit, hadn't seen him fall. Charley ran on, Some men slowed, satisfied that they'd won the fight, but Charley couldn't stop running and soon found himself in front of the line. He would have been shocked to see himself. His lips were drawn back showing his teeth, and his face was contorted in a savage rage. He wanted to kill them.

    He wanted to catch them and run his bayonet through them and kill them. All of them. Stick and jab and shoot and murder them and kill them all, each and every Rebel's son of them. Overall, "Soldier's Heart" is an inoffensive Civil War novel for middle-grade readers. But, other than that, little can be said. In the end, this novel is just mediocre and unmemorable. Mar 31, Gabrielle rated it really liked it. Charley lies about his age in order to enlist; nothing could have prepared him for the hardships he encountered.

    Gary Paulsen weaves a powerful tale of sickness, injury and despair. Based on a real person, the reader feels everything Charley feels, hears everything he hears, and fears what is to come. The entire Civil War is covered and the reader witnesses the return of broken soldiers, and comes to realize the damage war causes. Oct 16, Louie Coke rated it liked it.

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    Frightened but evolving into a man Book Review of Soldier's Heart by Gary Paulsen Imagine being an average and ordinary year-old boy working on the farm. Charley decided to ignore his mother's objections, lie about his age, and enlist into the Union army. Gary Paulsen uses some of the famous battles in the civil war to back up his point, including the battle of Gettysburg and the first battle of Bull Run. This explains how far they had to walk to fight each battle and the amount of ballot they faced.

    Not only did they have to walk miles and miles to most likely die, but they also had to carry equipment on their backs. Since the Civil War four years, Charley and his comrades had to last through boiling summers to cold winters, only wearing the same clothes. Ever since he heard those words, he knew he was going to join the army.

    He had no idea how, but he knew he could. He talked to his mum about enlisting into the Union army, and as any other mother would, she said no. One day he snuck out and went to enlist into the Union army. Everywhere he looked, all he saw were dead bodies and blood. Charley started gagging and knew he should have listened to his mother. However, there was no way he could go back in time, so he had to man up and deal with the blood, guns and dead bodies. Throughout the novel, Gary Paulsen does a good job of telling the readers that Charley matures throughout the book.

    He has gotten used to the cold, harsh winters, and the rotten smell of human flesh around him. He now knows that he committed, and he has to stick to that commitment. Even though Charley sends his mother cards, he still misses her with his entire heart. However, towards the end of the novel, Charley realizes that he is at an all-time low, and starts to become suicidal. The book ends with telling the readers that he sits by a river, having a picnic with a Confederate pistol by his side, dealing with suicidal thoughts. In conclusion, Charley now knows that his mother knows best and that he should always listen to her advice.

    If he had listened to her objections in the first place, he would be at home working on the farm just like the rest of year-old boys instead of risking his life with old men. Overall, this novel will never get boring due to all high action battles Charley faces. Work Cited: Time4Writing.

    Aug 29, Kerrie rated it it was ok. I'm torn on this book. One the one hand, it's a quick read that gives a very good and often graphic look at what life was like for a civil war soldier. As such, it might be a book that would hook a teen boy who might not love reading and get him interested. On the other hand, there is virtually no character development and the plot skips from battle to battle with no real story development or flow.

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    I found I really didn't care much about Charley as a person. Maybe the author's purpose for this I'm torn on this book. Maybe the author's purpose for this short book is to give a look at the conditions a 15 year-old boy faced as a soldier in the war and not to develop a full blown novel. Not sure. May 25, Ry Lan rated it it was amazing.

    The book was excellent, yet it was a bit short. The story was great because it went to detail about each battle. The book had many true historical details, like what the surgeons did during the war.

    Soldier's heart

    The plotline is very entertaining, and I think anyone would enjoy reading it. The characters were also very well chosen and simple. It is a very humbling experience to learn about a little boy who has had to endure so many hardships. View 1 comment. Jul 05, Brian rated it liked it. The audio book was enjoyable, with the prologue and epilogue adding value to the story itself. There is even an interview with the author prior to the reading of the book. The book itself is disappointingly brief. It doesn't go into near the depth that I would have wanted, focusing the majority of the work on the wonder of being in the military prior to the actual nastiness of battle.

    There is little appreciation of the southern perspective in this book, nor a recognition of the impact of the war The audio book was enjoyable, with the prologue and epilogue adding value to the story itself. There is little appreciation of the southern perspective in this book, nor a recognition of the impact of the war on the civilians. Although I appreciate the efforts made to authentically bring to life a true story from the Civil War, it would have been great to go into a little more detail.

    Rifles for Watie is an example of a book that provides a more rounded soldier experience in an engaging voice. May 07, Lauren Waters rated it really liked it. This is a quick read with a lot of action. I also appreciate the metaphors the author used to describe the Civil War and the fact that the novel did not shy away from the gruesomeness of the battles and time period.

    May 31, Joshua Mcilroy rated it really liked it. I liked Soldier's Heart a lot but I thought the book went too fast.

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    The book didn't really talk about Charley's Goddards background. The storyline of this book was great and they really explained how the war was. Sep 27, Jordan rated it it was ok. It was good i didn't really understand the ending but it was really really really good. Feb 15, Dalton Major rated it really liked it. Charley Goddard is a teenage boy living in Minnesota when war is declared between the Northern States and the Southern States. Wanting to be a part of the action, Charley lies about his age to enlist in the army.

    Like so many people he believed this would be an adventure that would last only a few months. The first few weeks consisted of nothing but drills, drills, and more drills. Charley and the rest of his company can't wait to get in the action. He finally gets his chance in the First Battle of Bull Run. He finds that battle isn't as glorious or exciting as he believed.

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