Cover image for Rifles for Watie
Rifles for Watie
Keith, Harold, 1903-1998.
Personal Author:
[First Harper Keypoint edition].
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, 1987.

Physical Description:
xi, 332 pages : map ; 18 cm
General Note:
"A Harper Keypoint book."

On cover : "Winner of the Newbury Medal."

Originally published : 1957.
Reading Level:
910 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.1 14.0 75.

Reading Counts RC High School 7.1 21 Quiz: 09745 Guided reading level: NR.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Eden Library Y FICTION Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Young Adult
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library Y FICTION Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Classics
Central Library Y FICTION Young Adult Mass Market Paperback Central Closed Stacks
Central Library Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult

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Jeff Bussey walked briskly up the rutted wagon road toward Fort Leavenworth on his way to join the Union volunteers. It was 1861 in Linn County, Kansas, and Jeff was elated at the prospect of fighting for the North at last.

In the Indian country south of Kansas there was dread in the air; and the name, Stand Watie, was on every tongue. A hero to the rebel, a devil to the Union man, Stand Watie led the Cherokee Indian Na-tion fearlessly and successfully on savage raids behind the Union lines. Jeff came to know the Watie men only too well.

He was probably the only soldier in the West to see the Civil War from both sides and live to tell about it. Amid the roar of cannon and the swish of flying grape, Jeff learned what it meant to fight in battle. He learned how it felt never to have enough to eat, to forage for his food or starve. He saw the green fields of Kansas and Okla-homa laid waste by Watie's raiding parties, homes gutted, precious corn deliberately uprooted. He marched endlessly across parched, hot land, through mud and slash-ing rain, always hungry, always dirty and dog-tired.

And, Jeff, plain-spoken and honest, made friends and enemies. The friends were strong men like Noah Babbitt, the itinerant printer who once walked from Topeka to Galveston to see the magnolias in bloom; boys like Jimmy Lear, too young to carry a gun but old enough to give up his life at Cane Hill; ugly, big-eared Heifer, who made the best sourdough biscuits in the Choctaw country; and beautiful Lucy Washbourne, rebel to the marrow and proud of it. The enemies were men of an-other breed - hard-bitten Captain Clardy for one, a cruel officer with hatred for Jeff in his eyes and a dark secret on his soul.

This is a rich and sweeping novel-rich in its panorama of history; in its details so clear that the reader never doubts for a moment that he is there; in its dozens of different people, each one fully realized and wholly recognizable. It is a story of a lesser -- known part of the Civil War, the Western campaign, a part different in its issues and its problems, and fought with a different savagery. Inexorably it moves to a dramat-ic climax, evoking a brilliant picture of a war and the men of both sides who fought in it.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Gr 7-12-Harold Keith's 1957 Newbery Award winner (HarperCollins, 1987 pap.) provides a broad overview of the Civil War in the Midwest while focusing on the adventures of 16-year-old Jefferson Davis Bussey. This recording does an excellent job of presenting the story to a new generation of students. Narrator Tom Stechschulte brings each character to life with his excellent renditions of their voices and personalities. There is some violenceÄgeneral war acts and a firing squad deathÄbut nothing is described too graphically. There are many jump-off points for class discussion.-Pat Griffith, Schlow Memorial Library, State College, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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