Rifles for Watie


Rifles for Watie is an American children's novel by Harold Keith. It was first published in 1957, and received the Newbery Medal the following year.

Set during the American Civil War, the plot revolves around Jefferson Davis Bussey who is sixteen and caught up in the events of history. Actual historical personages (e.g. Generals Stand Watie and James G. Blunt) and battles (e.g. Wilson's Creek and Prairie Grove) are seen from the viewpoint of an ordinary soldier, enabled by the choice of protagonist. Harold Keith spent many years interviewing Civil War veterans and visiting the sites depicted in the book, resulting in an authenticity that is rare for historical fiction that targets a young adult audience.

The setting, west of the Mississippi, is also not typical of Civil War novels, so the reader gets a perspective on the war not generally available in other books, let alone one found in children's books.

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