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|March toward the thunder|
Author: Bruchac, Joseph
Louis Nollette, a fifteen-year-old Abenaki Indian, joins the Irish Brigade in 1864 to fight for the Union in the Civil War.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 122347
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 44147
School Library Journal - 07/01/2008 Gr 7-10-In the summer of 1864, Louis Nolette, a 15-year-old Abenaki Indian from Canada, is living in New York when a Union recruiter convinces him that it's worth the bounty to join an Irish brigade marching from New York to Virginia. Bruchac fills the account of their battle-filled march with logistical and practical information about tactics, fortifications, and the daily life of soldiers, and some insight into Louis's family and past. Despite its setting, however, the text is remarkably devoid of conflict. Though he is the sole Indian in his regiment, Louis endures minimal chiding from his peers. Almost every battle scene is described in retrospect. Readers experience little action along with Louis, and no central plotline urges them forward. Fellow officers and soldiers are largely one-dimensional, and many characters (including an Irish sergeant, a woman dressed as a soldier, a captured Reb, and a member of a Negro unit) provide token wartime perspectives. Abe Lincoln, Indian General Ely Parker, Walt Whitman, and Clara Barton all make unnecessary appearances. Louis himself, who is predictably described as strong, silent, and valued for his animal-like hearing and vision, shows depth of character only in interactions with another Indian he meets along the march. He is ultimately rescued from a saw-happy field doctor by his mother, who has heard from "the trees" that he needs her. With an unconvincing resolution to an unremarkable narrative, this title will likely be used only by teachers needing a fact-filled supplement to Civil War lessons.-Riva Pollard, American Indian Public Charter School, Oakland, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2008 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2008 It was probably the respect associated with the uniform, rather than the salary or even the sign-on bonus, that convinced Louis Nolette to succumb to the enticements of the Union recruiter and join the Irish Brigade in the Civil War, even though few could lay less claim to Irish heritage than the Abenaki teen relocated to the U.S. from Canada. Regardless of motivations he doesn’t completely understand himself, Louis is now slogging through Northern Virginia in a deadly game of hurry up and wait, alternating frustrating periods of suspended hostilities with fierce engagement with General Lee’s forces. Bruchac reconstructs the Fighting 69th’s battles in the closing year of the Civil War through the experience of the fictional underage teen, loosely based on Bruchac’s own great-grandfather. Although accounts of individual battles are riveting, it is Louis’s relationship with his messmates that shapes the novel. No one quite knows how to categorize the bronzed soldier in their section (“You a mulatter or a Injun?”), and the confusion and good-natured teasing rankle Louis; he manages to recognize, though, that this is an ungainly first encounter for all of them, and the extreme demands of war quickly bond the young men with unshakable loyalty. Bruchac interjects a substantial amount of orchestrated serendipity with historical figures, but on the whole, the blend of military history and human interest will keep readers thoroughly involved in Louis’s drama. EB - Copyright 2008 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 04/15/2008 Fifteen-year-old Louis, an Abenaki Indian from Canada, enlists in the U.S. Army in 1864 and serves with New York’s Irish Brigade. Basing the main character on his great-grandfather, Bruchac takes readers close to the Civil War soldier’s reality, from grimy field hospitals, where the term sawbones was a horrifically accurate term for a doctor, to the grim battlefields, which experienced soldiers entered only after pinning the pieces of paper to their shirts that would identify their bodies. Although written in third person, the story includes Louis’ thoughts in italics, a device that brings readers closer to this laconic but sympathetic character. In lighter moments, Louis and his Mohawk friend, Artis, trade barbs, to the discomfort of fellow soldiers who misunderstand their brand of humor. Appended are an author’s note on his family history, another on the Irish Brigade, and a bibliography of source materials. A fine choice for readers who want war stories that include plenty of action, as well as reflection. - Copyright 2008 Booklist.