Friday, July 17, 2020

Review of "The Boys’ War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War," by Jim Murphy

Review of
The Boys’ War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War, by Jim Murphy ISBN 0395664128

Five out of five stars
A recognition that child soldiers is not a new thing
 The American Civil War was a brutal event, where Americans killed other Americans in large numbers. One largely ignored fact is that some of those in harms way were in their early teens. Some were as young as twelve. Officially, boys in that age range were not to carry weapons and fight, many were given assignments as musicians, specifically drummers. In the noise and chaos of battle, the sound of a drum could generally still be heard, so they were used to communicate messages to the troops. Of course, this required that the drummer be embedded in the fighting.
 This book contains the war memoirs of some of the boys on both sides of the fight. There were many reasons why these boys volunteered, most of which have not changed. The desire for excitement and adventure, a release from the labor and boredom of farm life and sometimes just to be contrary to their relatives and leave home. Like all others in the ranks, these boys experienced the brutality of war, where men were sliced and diced to pieces and some of them were killed.
 There have been many stories in the media about how modern warlords have used child soldiers in their battles against their enemies. This book is a reminder that this is not new and when the ranks needed to be filled out, the American armies did the same thing.

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