Reviews for Marching to Appomattox : The Footrace That Ended the Civil War


Booklist Reviews 2009 January #1
In this dramatic day-by-day account, Stark chronicles the tense six-day chase in April 1865 that ended with the Army of Northern Virginia s failure to break out of the encircling Union forces. In both the text and the realistic painted illustrations, the view alternates between scenes of the mud-spattered, cigar-smoking Grant amid long lines of blue-clad foot soldiers and the more dapper but increasingly grim Lee, desperately looking for some escape route for his weary, ragged troops. Stark recounts in detail the two generals historic culminating meeting and closes with an amicable symbolic parting between a "Yank" and a "Johnny Reb," who set off for their respective homes. A simplified map at the opening and an afterword and useful reading list at the end round off this absorbing alternative to the likes of Zachary Kent s Story of the Surrender at the Appomattox Courthouse (1987) or Tom McGowen s Surrender at Appomattox (2004).

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Short sections of text, copiously illustrated with dramatic watercolor, gouache, and casein paintings, describe the days leading up to the surrender of Robert E. Lee and his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to the determined Ulysses S. Grant. This powerful and memorable portrait of the end of a bitter struggle skillfully incorporates some primary source material. A foreword and afterword provide additional facts. Bib. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 December #1
From April 3 through April 9, 1865, the last important battles of the Civil War were fought as the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia fled from Petersburg and Richmond, followed closely by the Army of the Potomac, which trapped them at Appomattox. Day by day, Stark charts the race between the troops of the fleeing General Robert E. Lee and his pursuer, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, and the ultimate surrender. Realistic paintings in watercolor, gouache and casein depict a determined but rumpled and muddy Grant, enthusiastic boys in blue, both black and white, and exhausted Confederates in grey led by the handsome, sharply dressed Lee. An opening map that shows the location of each major battle introduces a clear narrative that is detailed enough to make this chapter in American history come alive. Excerpts from correspondence between the two generals and chapter-opening lines from participants add authenticity. The bibliography represents the author's research but does not, unfortunately, include titles for further investigation by young readers. This flaw notwithstanding, fine fare for young history buffs. (afterword) (Nonfiction. 8-11) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2009 May/June
Ken Stark has provided a wonderfully illustrated look at the closing days of the Civil War. The timeline format makes it easy to follow the series of events that took place after the fall of Richmond as General Lee and the Confederates retreated to North Carolina, while General Grant tried to rally the Northern soldiers to cut them off. Quotes are provided throughout the book from soldiers, as well as generals, giving this a strong voice. Interesting facts that are often left out are provided, making this a truly unique read. Stark does well to keep action up, develop main characters such as Lee and Grant, and move the story along. Those students unable to read the story will be enthralled by the beautiful illustrations that adorn each page, telling the story on their own. The only drawback is the slightly choppy format. That being said, this book will have wide curricular use, including a fun review even for upper grades. A map, pictures of important individuals, epilogue, and selected bibliography round out this useful resource. Recommended. Spencer Korson, Media Specialist, Bullock Creek High School & Middle School, Midland, Michigan ¬ 2009 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 January

Gr 3-5--The beginning of April 1865 was a pivotal time in the Civil War. Following a defeat at Richmond, VA, the Confederate forces tried to outrun the Union troops and get to waiting reinforcements in North Carolina. Instead, Lee's men ended up trapped by General Grant's army. The week culminated with Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House. Stark frames this war vignette effectively for young readers. While calling the events a "footrace" may not do justice to the horrors of war, it is a creative way to present the information. The text is folksy and conversational, but quotations are not directly attributed. The author is respectful of both Grant and Lee, and depicts the soldiers on both sides as having more in common than not. The illustrations are a great strength. Rendered in watercolor, the inclusion of gouache and casein gives the hues a vividness and depth not always associated with the medium. The soldiers look strong and determined, in victory and defeat. Stark's attention to detail means that the famous "silent witness," a doll left in the parlor before the generals arrived, appears in the background of a spread that shows them shaking hands. Report writers will need a more straightforward approach to the topic, such as Andrew Santella's Surrender at Appomattox (Compass Point, 2006), but this book has appeal for the many children who enjoy reading about the Civil War or who may be visiting the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.--Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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