Each year on July 4th we celebrate Independence Day, the point where America declared independence from the British. A young country stood up for its rights! That was 1776. A long time ago!

Rid of the British, well things did not go smoothly, tensions became obvious, the people in the south did not agree with the people in the north. Some 80 years later the young country faced its darkest hour, the American Civil War. While often painted as a straight North South issue, in reality it was far more complex. Families became ripped apart, and although it may sound cliché, there were situations where brother did in fact fight brother on the battlefield.

Almost to the day that the Declaration of Independence was signed the Civil War faced what was likely the bloodiest and most pivotal battle, Gettysburg. Exact numbers of casualties may never be known, but most estimates put it somewhere between 46,000 and 51,000. This brutal battle waged for 3 days at the beginning of July 1863.

I am a fan of history, but by no means an expert. History is a subject that grows and grows, more stuff gets added hourly, but the downside is that less and less time in the school curriculum is devoted to important  episodes of our heritage.  In my opinion this is a huge mistake. Understanding the past gives a clearer understanding of the present, and maybe even a glimpse into the future.

The question is, how do you attract young readers to history? Most history books are dry works of sheer boredom! But it does not have to be that way.

I bumped into ex-teacher and now author Joel Moore a little over a year ago. His ambition was to say the least grandiose. Create 4 works of historical fiction (faction) about the Civil War and view it through the eyes of a young man caught up in the conflict. Joel is a man that is good to his word. He wants to immerse the young reader, he preaches what he teaches.

A great example is this picture taken inside the Gettysburg museum.

Joel Moore 3

Even better are these two pictures. The young men are his grandsons.

Joel Moore 1

Joel Moore 2

I believe they are both 14, and both have a great interest in the Civil War, not so much from the dry boring books, but by being part of reenactments.

To quote Joel:

I leave for Gettysburg tomorrow morning with two grandsons who will be helping dress as brothers in the opposing armies, family divided

To discover Joel Moore and his wonderful work, please check out his web site. I so far have only read book two Up From Corinth, but am busy on the others.

Simon Barrett

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