Union blues;Childrens books

5th February 1999 at 00:00
SOLDIER'S HEART. By Gary Paulsen. Macmillan. pound;3.99.

Gary Paulson has put himself in many dangerous situations, but he has not been a soldier in combat. You would think otherwise after reading this novel about the Americal Civil War.

Paulsen's vividly realistic story is told by a Union volunteer from Minnesota, Charlie Goddard, a young boy who really did fight in the war, was severly wounded at Gettysburg, and died some years later, aged 23.

Ultimately, this book tells us, nobody survives a bloody conflict, neither those who die on the field of battle, nor those who linger on to struggle with new enemies - battle fatigue, shell shock or, in modern parlance, post traumatic stress.

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