Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Shannon's Review - Dear America: When Will This Cruel War Be Over? by Barry Denenberg

Title: When Will This Cruel War Be Over? : The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson, Gordonsville, Virginia, 1864
Series: Dear America
Author: Barry Denenberg
Genre: Fiction, Juvenile, Historical, America
Publisher: Scholastic
Received: Bought
Release Date: September 1996
Pages: 152

Author Barry Denenberg’s Official Websites:




Shannon’s Thoughts:

Young Emma Simpson lives in Virginia in 1864 during the middle of Civil War.  She writes in her diary about the trials, Emma, her mother and other family members survive through.   The men in the family are fighting in the War.  Food rations start to dwindle as family and friends get sick and some die. Based on a real person we see the dark side of war in America’s past.

I find these Dear America books interesting and wish I had them when I was younger. They do tend to be pretty dark.  I guess that is to show children they have it easier these days.  These Dear America book do usually end with death of the diary writer or just an abrupt ending, which probably meant death as well.  This one I am happy to say actually has info on what really happened to Emma after the war.

As I mentioned I dislike the fact that the stories are so dark, in these series of books.  I do not know how much of the diaries are real or made up but i guess when people usually write in their diaries it is not because something good is happening or you are working out some happy through your mind.  It would be nice to read one Dear America with a happy conclusion.

I will continue to read the dear america books because they have a charm about them and they make me feel like I am learning. I do wonder how close they are to the actual history but how will I ever know.

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