cover image Guts & Glory: The American Civil War

Guts & Glory: The American Civil War

Ben Thompson, illus. by C.M. Butzer. Little, Brown, $17 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-32050-4

This action-packed Civil War title launches a nonfiction series dedicated to extraordinary chapters of history. creator Thompson adopts an urgent and sometimes humorous tone that conveys infectious enthusiasm in examining all facets of this conflict that "would claim more lives than every previous American war combined and redefine the United States of America forever." The narrative effectively sketches the major causes of the conflict, bringing to life the politics, combat, and key participants. Many chapters focus heavily on major battles (sidebars delineate numbers of combatants, casualties, and victors), while others cover famous figures including Harriet Tubman; the role of women as spies, supporters, and combatants; and lesser-known political events, such as the surprisingly tense reelection of President Lincoln. Chatty, colloquial comparisons (Thompson describes a Confederate ironclad ship as being "upgraded... like an iPhone") are accessible if a bit pandering. In all, it's a rousing introduction to this defining conflict that makes the history appealing and relatable. Period photographs and other images appear throughout; final art not seen by PW. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: Farley Chase, Chase Literary Agency. (Oct.)