Cover image for Ghosts of the Civil War
Ghosts of the Civil War
Harness, Cheryl.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2002]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations, maps ; 27 cm
The ghost of Willie, President Abraham Lincoln's older son, transports Lindsey back to his own time, where she sees and hears many things from both sides of the Civil War. Includes passages from contemporary documents, a glossary, biographical sketches, and a bibliography.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.9 1.0 82901.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Lindsey couldn't have cared less about the Civil War, let alone a battle reenactment. After all, who cares about a boring old war that happened more than a hundred years ago?And then she meets Willie -- but he's not just another kid, he's actually Willie Lincoln, and he's traveled back to the present to explain exactly what the Civil War was really about. He takes Lindsey by the hand and leads her on a tour like no other as they witness heated debates about abolition, secession, and patriotism. They visit Fort Sumter as the war is declared, witness bloody battles like Bull Run and Gettysburg unfold before them, and then watch General Lee's surrender to Grant at the Appomattox Court House. And just when Lindsey thinks this gruesome, terrible war is all over, she watches with terror as the tragic assassination of President Abraham Lincoln occurs right before her eyes. Filled with detailed maps, glossaries, biographies, and dynamic, glorious illustrations, Ghosts of the Civil War brings this monumental era in American history fully alive. It's a journey that Lindsey -- and every reader along with her -- will never forget.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-5. Similar in format to Harness's Ghosts of the Twentieth Century (2000), this story opens with a girl and her parents attending a Civil War battle reenactment. Striking up a conversation with a boy dressed in nineteenth-century garb, the girl discovers that he's the ghost of Willie Lincoln. Together they travel through time and view events taking place before, during, and after the Civil War, from the Lincoln-Douglas debates to the assassination of President Lincoln. The pages are packed with information hand-lettered in the vertical borders of each spread. The paintings are full of period details, mini-dramas involving ordinary people as well as famous figures in the war, and speech balloons carrying the children's conversations and comments from other people in the crowded scenes. Appendixes include cameo portraits and brief biographies of significant people, a map showing campaigns and battlefields, information on flags and famous firsts of the war, a glossary, and two brief bibliographies. An imaginative and strongly visual introduction to the Civil War. Carolyn Phelan

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Young Lindsey, bored and cranky as she visits a Civil War reenactment with her parents, is transported back in time when she meets the ghost of Willie Lincoln. Starting with the arrival of the first slaves in 1619, Willie explains the origins of the war and its history. Using highly detailed, captioned paintings, sidebars, and annotated maps, Harness imparts a great deal of information on each spread. In fact, there is no white space in the entire book. The excellent-quality artwork and hand-lettered captions were created using watercolor, ink, and colored pencil. The major battles and campaigns of the war are described, as are political events such as the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. The story concludes with the assassination of President Lincoln, who, reunited with his beloved Willie, sends Lindsey back to her waiting parents. The final pages of the book include biographical sketches of the major figures, a large map summarizing the battles and troop movements, pictures of the various flags, and a list of wartime firsts. This book, while chock-full of information, is nearly impossible to read aloud to a group and may miss its target audience. Younger readers, attracted by the pictures, will be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information. Older children who would benefit from the detailed presentation may be wary of the easy format and the contrived fictional framework. Still, this is a good choice for elementary students with strong reading skills who are studying the period, visiting a reenactment or battlefield, or interested in the War Between the States.-Rita Hunt Smith, Hershey Public Library, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.