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We were there, too!

By Courtney Williamson / November 8, 2001



Here, at last, are the true stories of an often ignored population, told with all the vigor, candor, and color of youth. Packed with more than 60 inspiring, and sometimes downright incredible stories, "We Were There, Too!" tells the history of young people in America with wonderful breadth.

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The Civil War section, for example, contains stories about both the Union and Confederate sides, as well as two young boys who survived the infamous Andersonville camp, an African-American nurse and teacher, and a young girl who survived the burning of Atlanta.

Hoose knows the needs of his audience. The back of the book provides a starting place for readers and teachers interested in conducting further research. Each story concludes with a "What Happened to ..." section that will satisfy a young reader's appetite for further details. The pages are enriched with maps, charts, archival photographs, and sidebars that offer supplementary information such as what it was like to ride in a Pullman Palace Car, or the fact that the young Elizabeth Cady Stanton was so enraged by unjust property laws that she cut them out of her father's lawbooks. And while the book maintains its age-appropriateness at all times, Hoose doesn't sugarcoat the facts. The suffering of slaves, for example, is described in words and with photos, and Hoose makes no bones about the fact that one of the things that Europeans brought to the New World was a host of devastating diseases.

A finalist for this year's National Book Award, "We Were There, Too!" gives us the histories of a new group of unsung heroes in a readable format that provides hours of fascination.

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