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Now or Never!: 54th Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery

By: Ray Anthony Shepard

Here is the riveting dual biography of two little-known but extraordinary men in Civil War history—George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding, Union soldiers who served in the Massachusetts 54th Infantry, the well-known black regiment, and also war correspondents who published eyewitness reports of the battlefields.

ISBN: 9781629793405

JLG Release: Jan 2018


Sensitive Areas: Language: Mild Language, Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur, Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Violence: Mild Violence, Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur

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Awards & Honors

2018 Carter G. Woodson Book Award Honor, Secondary Level
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2017, Teen Books
New York Public Library Best Books for Teens 2017

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

School Library Journal

George Stephens and James Henry Gooding, two African American writers and soldiers, answered and extended Frederick Douglass’s “Now or Never” call to arms to help mobilize troops for the 54th Massachusetts. The disparity between the pay, conditions, and perceptions of African American Civil War soldiers is delineated well througho George Stephens and James Henry Gooding, two African American writers and soldiers, answered and extended Frederick Douglass’s “Now or Never” call to arms to help mobilize troops for the 54th Massachusetts. The disparity between the pay, conditions, and perceptions of African American Civil War soldiers is delineated well throughout the narrative, and Shepard realistically presents Stephens’s and Gooding’s reactions to the inequalities. The author will captivate readers with masterfully built suspense, exemplified in the regiment’s march through the streets of Boston and the battle for Fort Wagner, and with phrases like, “proud Charleston fell with an earth-rattling boom.” The context of the war and the political climate of the country are interjected along with the complexity of sentiments about African Americans, whether through the discussion of the riots in Philadelphia and New York City, or through excerpts from letters that reveal individual prejudices. The inclusion of a time line, maps, drawings, and photographs (none of Stephens or Gooding exist) further enriches the narrative, and Shepard explains his inclusion of epithets and the capitalization of the words black and white when referencing groups of people. VERDICT While books, such as Clinton Cox’s Undying Glory: The Story of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment have been published on the subject, this is an excellent addition to the history.—Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KY

Book Details

ISBN

9781629793405

First Release

January 2018

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

973.7/444

Trim Size

6" x 9 1/4"

Page Count

144

Accelerated Reader

Level 8; Points: 5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 11.4; Points: 9;

Lexile

Level 1140L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Calkins Creek

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Language: Mild Language, Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur, Discrimination: Reference/Discussion, Violence: War/Harsh Realities of War, Violence: Mild Violence, Language: Racial or Ethnic Epithet/Slur

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