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The Little Bugler: The True Story of a…

The Little Bugler: The True Story of a Twelve-Year-Old Boy in the Civil… (1998)

by William B. Styple

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This is a history for children – probably children around ten years old, or so, I would say. It concerns the true story of Gustav Schurmann, a four foot, seven inch tall, twelve-year-old boy from New York City who joins the 40th New York Regiment – the Mozart Regiment – along with his father in 1861. (The father gets sick, is invalided out, and dies later on at home.) He serves as a drummer in the 40th and then as bugler and orderly – mostly for a series of different generals. He is present and under fire at a number of the early, Eastern Theater battles. He spends a short time at the White House, on furlough, as companion to Tad Lincoln, the President’s son. (Tad, by the way, as portrayed here, is kind of a nauseating sounding brat.) After Gettysburg, he is promised by the wounded General Dan Sickles that he will sponsor him for entrance into West Point, Gustav goes home to his now widowed mother and young sisters in order to get an education. (Typically, the promise from the controversial, politician-general is never honored and instead of having a career in the military, Schurmann becomes a bookbinder.)
I can’t say that I really liked this book for it was so obviously written down to the level of a child and therefore a little cloying. Another thing I found annoying was the imaginary dialog and descriptions of what Gustav was seeing, experiencing and thinking even though he left no record, written or otherwise of his thoughts and feelings concerning his war experience. Styple is not really cheating for he plainly states in the Introduction the limitations he faced in writing the book and the device he used in recreating the dialog, but I still found it annoying. Perhaps a child would not. It was o.k. ( )
  Fourpawz2 | Sep 14, 2008 |
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War fever swept New York City.
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In this book, Dr. Brookfield offers valuable advice to teachers, both new and veterans, who grapple daily with challenges, thrills, and failures in the often chaotic environment of the classroom.

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