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Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women

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Louisa May Alcott is best known for penning Little Women, but few are aware of the experience that influenced her writing most-her time as a nurse during the Civil War. Caring for soldiers' wounds and writing letters home for them inspired a new realism in her work. When her own letters home were published as Hospital Sketches, she had her first success as a writer. The ac Louisa May Alcott is best known for penning Little Women, but few are aware of the experience that influenced her writing most-her time as a nurse during the Civil War. Caring for soldiers' wounds and writing letters home for them inspired a new realism in her work. When her own letters home were published as Hospital Sketches, she had her first success as a writer. The acclaim for her new writing style inspired her to use this approach in Little Women, which was one of the first novels to be set during the Civil War. It was the book that made her dreams come true, and a story she could never have written without the time she spent healing others in service of her country.


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Louisa May Alcott is best known for penning Little Women, but few are aware of the experience that influenced her writing most-her time as a nurse during the Civil War. Caring for soldiers' wounds and writing letters home for them inspired a new realism in her work. When her own letters home were published as Hospital Sketches, she had her first success as a writer. The ac Louisa May Alcott is best known for penning Little Women, but few are aware of the experience that influenced her writing most-her time as a nurse during the Civil War. Caring for soldiers' wounds and writing letters home for them inspired a new realism in her work. When her own letters home were published as Hospital Sketches, she had her first success as a writer. The acclaim for her new writing style inspired her to use this approach in Little Women, which was one of the first novels to be set during the Civil War. It was the book that made her dreams come true, and a story she could never have written without the time she spent healing others in service of her country.

30 review for Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    This biography focuses on Louisa May Alcott's time as a nurse in Georgetown, Washington, DC during the Battle of Fredericksburg in the Civil War. The story is accurate as far as I know. I even learned something new about her journey to the hospital. This book accurately depicts battlefield violence and injuries. It doesn't sugarcoat anything and states clearly that men were suffering and died. Then it tells of how Louisa used her storytelling talent and entertained the men with humorous stories This biography focuses on Louisa May Alcott's time as a nurse in Georgetown, Washington, DC during the Battle of Fredericksburg in the Civil War. The story is accurate as far as I know. I even learned something new about her journey to the hospital. This book accurately depicts battlefield violence and injuries. It doesn't sugarcoat anything and states clearly that men were suffering and died. Then it tells of how Louisa used her storytelling talent and entertained the men with humorous stories and how she was forced to return home after 3 weeks because she was ill. Her letters from Georgetown became her first book Hospital Sketches. Because of the accurate depiction of war, this book may be too rough for sensitive young readers. The author incorporates quotes from Louisa's own writings which I appreciate very much. There is a long author's note on the history of women in medicine during the Civil War, a bibliography with books marked especially for children and a list of LMA's children's books-some I've never heard of and don't own yet! Shocker, I know! The illustrations are lovely EXCEPT the Alcotts look nothing like the real Alcotts. Louisa is too pretty even though it clearly states nurses were supposed to be plain (so soldiers didn't fall in love with them). Louisa waited until she was 30 to meet that part of the requirement and she was considered plain. I recognized Bronson Alcott but not Abigail "Marmee" or Anna and May, Louisa's sisters. I recognized Orchard House though and loved the illustration of Louisa at her writing desk in her room. I've been there and recently too so it was fresh in my memory. I also recognized the scenes from Little Women but not the characters as I picture them. The background details of the illustrations are incredible, especially the scene outside Louisa's train window in Baltimore which gives a stark reminder of why the men were fighting in the first place. I wasn't expecting that. The illustrator also included a map of the Battle of Fredericksburg. If you liked the Civil War TV drama Mercy Street, this is a good place to start looking for more information. I'd recommend it to readers old enough to understand the Civil War and battlefield violence, injuries.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shiloah

    Bravo! Excellent story. The illustrations were my family’s favorite part.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dolly

    This is a very engaging biography of Louisa May Alcott that primarily depicts her time working in a Civil War hospital and the inspiration that it gave her to write. The narrative is very engaging and I love that it shows how she was unafraid to go against custom and pursue her dreams. The 'digital oil' illustrations are very realistic and expressive. We really enjoyed reading this book together. I read Little Women numerous times in my childhood and I love that book. I have not yet read it with This is a very engaging biography of Louisa May Alcott that primarily depicts her time working in a Civil War hospital and the inspiration that it gave her to write. The narrative is very engaging and I love that it shows how she was unafraid to go against custom and pursue her dreams. The 'digital oil' illustrations are very realistic and expressive. We really enjoyed reading this book together. I read Little Women numerous times in my childhood and I love that book. I have not yet read it with our girls, but maybe now is the time to do so...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim Erekson

    This outline of Alcott's stint as a Civil War nurse, and how it impacted her writing was an interesting slice of her life. Krull spent careful time using Alcott sources to get the clear effect that Alcott was disgusted by nursing work while at the same time getting a kind of satisfaction from it--whether this was just the value of work, or a sense of contribution to the war effort, I'm not sure. At any rate, that was a nice flash of humanity. Beyond that, the books seems to suffer from what we s This outline of Alcott's stint as a Civil War nurse, and how it impacted her writing was an interesting slice of her life. Krull spent careful time using Alcott sources to get the clear effect that Alcott was disgusted by nursing work while at the same time getting a kind of satisfaction from it--whether this was just the value of work, or a sense of contribution to the war effort, I'm not sure. At any rate, that was a nice flash of humanity. Beyond that, the books seems to suffer from what we see in many other picturebook biographies, which is that the book jolts through a series of somewhat disjointed items on the timeline to reach a predetermined endpoint, which was not very interesting. Beccia's "digital oils" illustrations are interesting to look at. She achieves a bold style that is slightly flat and 'Americana-esque' in the style of old American portraiture. Sometimes the pictures are more interesting than others. For example, on the page where she is mopping a soldier's brow while a doctor cuts away a pant leg, it's a little too easy to sense the digitization of source material. Others, such as the page where she is running over the hills near the hospital, it feels for all the world like no digital media was involved, and I'm just looking at a painting.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    I enjoyed learning a little more about this author and the time she spent as a nurse during the Civil War. She's not necessarily one that kiddos will be drawn to on their own ... but this would be an excellent title for use in a classroom study. No non-fiction text features but interesting narrative. The illustrations were a little uneven. Some I loved and some were so-so. I enjoyed learning a little more about this author and the time she spent as a nurse during the Civil War. She's not necessarily one that kiddos will be drawn to on their own ... but this would be an excellent title for use in a classroom study. No non-fiction text features but interesting narrative. The illustrations were a little uneven. Some I loved and some were so-so.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary Bronson

    I thought this was a great picture book. It tells a great story of Lousia May Alcott. I learned new stuff about her

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Dreadful amateurish illustrations.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Margo Tanenbaum

    Louisa May Alcott is famous around the world as the author of Little Women, one of the most beloved works of literature for children, but what is less known is that she may never have had a career as a writer at all if not for her valiant service as a nurse during the Civil War. It is this lesser-known part of Alcott's life that award-winning author Kathleen Krull concentrates on in her handsome new picture book about the iconic author, Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women ( Louisa May Alcott is famous around the world as the author of Little Women, one of the most beloved works of literature for children, but what is less known is that she may never have had a career as a writer at all if not for her valiant service as a nurse during the Civil War. It is this lesser-known part of Alcott's life that award-winning author Kathleen Krull concentrates on in her handsome new picture book about the iconic author, Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women (Walker Books, 2013). Alcott came from a family of dedicated abolitionists, and longed to help the union effort in some concrete way. Of course educated women from "good families" rarely worked outside the home in those days, but the Civil War gave some women the opportunity to work as nurses, provided they met the requirements: at least thirty years old, "very plain," single, strong, and with two character references. Alcott was able to meet all these standards, and soon was on a 500 mile long trip to Washington D. C., where she was assigned to work at a hospital--in reality an old hotel. Her duties included shocking activities like undressing and bathing the men, bandaging wounds, and most importantly, keeping up the men's spirits. Krull describes how Louisa, after just a few weeks of nursing, became desperately ill with typhoid fever, and had to be taken home to recuperate. While she did not return to nursing, she did return to her writing, which up until that time had been published but did not enjoy much success. Krull's lively text is liberally sprinkled with quotes from Alcott's colorful and detailed letters home to her family. These letters were published at the time in an abolitionist newspaper, and later as a book, Hospital Sketches. This slim volume was her first to be published to critical acclaim. As Krull points out, the book was Alcott's first to be published out of her own experience, and the success led directly to her being asked to write a "girls' book." This, of course, proved to be Little Women, which was based on her own family and which she set during the Civil War, one of the first novels to be set during the turbulent period which forever changed the United States. The book became a huge hit, and led to a lucrative writing career for Alcott. Back matter includes a brief commentary on the early history of women in medicine, a map detailing the Battle of Fredericksburg and a brief description of this "nightmarish" battle, and a list of sources. Among the sources listed are websites, children's books by Louisa May Alcott, and books about Alcott, including those for young people and for adults. Readers will enjoy the old-fashioned look of this large picture book, which is printed on ivory-colored antique style paper. The illustrations by Carolyn Beccia, created with Corel Painter digital oils on gessoed canvas, also provide an old-fashioned feel. Her paintings have a realistic yet statuesque quality, and are infused with earth tones that suggest the sepia photographs of the Civil War era. In many of the illustrations, Louisa wears a red shawl that perhaps suggests the great bloodshed of the war and often provides the only spark of bright color. Above, in one of the most striking illustrations, Louisa is in the process of writing Little Women, and imagines all the events of her life as a patchwork quilt. I would highly recommend this new book to introduce young readers to Louisa May Alcott, either before or after reading one of her classics. It's an inspiring look at a brave and talented woman, one who introduced strong female characters in her classic stories. Of course, the book would also enhance a unit on women's history or the Civil War.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Louisa May's Battle is a beautiful children's picture storybook filled with colorful full-page artwork. The story begins with a brief, half page history of women and nursing during the great American Civil War. Miss Alcott's burden and passion to serve her country in one of the only way's available to women in this time, as well as a desire to earn an income for her family at home, leads Louisa to serve as a nurse at the age of 30. Her long and strenuous train ride to Washington, D.C. are only t Louisa May's Battle is a beautiful children's picture storybook filled with colorful full-page artwork. The story begins with a brief, half page history of women and nursing during the great American Civil War. Miss Alcott's burden and passion to serve her country in one of the only way's available to women in this time, as well as a desire to earn an income for her family at home, leads Louisa to serve as a nurse at the age of 30. Her long and strenuous train ride to Washington, D.C. are only the beginning of the new experiences she will need to endure. Among some of the challenges are difficult living conditions, prejudice male doctors, the emotional and physical strain of caring for the wounded men and boys at the hospital, and her own health risks. Though Louisa was writing before she began her nursing work, it was not until after her return home in 1863 that she started to become a success. Her letters sent back home to her family were printed in the newspaper and then collected into a thin book entitled Hospital Sketches, filled with accounts of the conditions of hospitals and the effects of war to the men. These were popular for people on the home-front who were longing for news of their men and the war. Then in 1868 she at last wrote her Little Women, a story of four sisters set during the Civil War, which is well-read even today. :) Kathleen Krull shares a glimpse into the past with some of Louisa's own words quoted here and there throughout. And there is even a short history in the back of the book of other famous Civil War nurses such as Dorathea Dix, who hired Miss Alcott, and Hannah Ropes, who was head nurse at the hospital were Louisa worked. Included is also a map and information about the battle of Fredricksburg, a major battle fought around the D.C. area during Louisa's service as nurse and the basis for the setting of this book. I found history to be concise but very informative about Louisa Alcott's family and life as a whole, and very insightful of her time as a nurse. Most of the book covers her nursing, with only brief moments sharing on her writing career throughout, and a little more shared about writing Little Women after the war was over. All of the information I've shared above was actually from the book, so you can see how much the author has included in this short picture book! The illustrations were well done, with some not-too graphic hospital scenes. There is some “blood” shown, mostly through bandages or on clothing, but no actual wounds are pictured so most children shouldn't be too troubled with that. This storybook is a good introduction to Louisa May Alcott and her life, and of general nursing in the Civil War, for young ones. It shares just enough information for children without bogging them down with uninteresting facts.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Even today, the books of Louisa May Alcott remain popular with the late elementary and early middle grade set. This picture book biography describes her time spent volunteering as a war nurse during the Civil War. The experience of navigating through an unfamiliar city and taking care of the injured soldiers transformed the sheltered young woman in many ways. Relying on the notes she took during that time, she found her voice and inspiration through the sketches of hospital life she wrote and ha Even today, the books of Louisa May Alcott remain popular with the late elementary and early middle grade set. This picture book biography describes her time spent volunteering as a war nurse during the Civil War. The experience of navigating through an unfamiliar city and taking care of the injured soldiers transformed the sheltered young woman in many ways. Relying on the notes she took during that time, she found her voice and inspiration through the sketches of hospital life she wrote and had published. Later, of course, she immortalized the March family in the wildly-popular Little Women. The digital oil illustrations show the determination of a woman who had to content herself with making a contribution in whatever way she could--in her case, through her writing.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I really wanted to really like it, however, the title is misleading; the cause and effect implied in the title is not quite clear. She was already a writer; her experiences as a nurse hardly seem tied to her composing "Little Women" over the course of a mere ten weeks. Readers of Alcott's classic will be able to make a few connections between plot points and real-life events; however, the expectation since this is a children's picture book is that these connections will be made clearly and cogen I really wanted to really like it, however, the title is misleading; the cause and effect implied in the title is not quite clear. She was already a writer; her experiences as a nurse hardly seem tied to her composing "Little Women" over the course of a mere ten weeks. Readers of Alcott's classic will be able to make a few connections between plot points and real-life events; however, the expectation since this is a children's picture book is that these connections will be made clearly and cogently here in these pages.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I thought this book was good as an adult, but I have my doubts about how it would go over with a kid. I love Little Women and think Alcott's life is very interesting, but the language in this book doesn't quite gel with the illustrations. They seemed to be such an awkward fit. Not a bad choice for a youth biography but I think there are better ones out there. I thought this book was good as an adult, but I have my doubts about how it would go over with a kid. I love Little Women and think Alcott's life is very interesting, but the language in this book doesn't quite gel with the illustrations. They seemed to be such an awkward fit. Not a bad choice for a youth biography but I think there are better ones out there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marie Lejeune

    I am a longtime fan of anything Louisa May Alcott, based upon my warm childhood memories of reading Little Women and Eight Cousins multiple times. This book did not disappoint and I especially appreciated the author notes at the back about women in medicine and the Civil War.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I enjoyed this book and it's look at the Civil War and Louisa May's life. I enjoyed this book and it's look at the Civil War and Louisa May's life.

  15. 5 out of 5

    JoMama

    We absolutely loved this book!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Burkhart

    A sad, but very interesting book about lesser known aspects of Alcott’s life. Krull brings the period and the woman alive with her memorable biography.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bethley Giles

    Krull, K., & Beccia, C. (2013). Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women. New York: Walker & Co. Picture Book Soak I love Louisa May Alcott and particularly Little Women, so I was excited to find this book. It details Alcott’s work in a hospital in Washington D.C., caring for the wounded during the civil war. Several pages are devoted to Alcott’s difficulties travelling from Concord, Massachusetts to Washington, many of them caused because of her gender. This book is a must-read Krull, K., & Beccia, C. (2013). Louisa May's Battle: How the Civil War Led to Little Women. New York: Walker & Co. Picture Book Soak I love Louisa May Alcott and particularly Little Women, so I was excited to find this book. It details Alcott’s work in a hospital in Washington D.C., caring for the wounded during the civil war. Several pages are devoted to Alcott’s difficulties travelling from Concord, Massachusetts to Washington, many of them caused because of her gender. This book is a must-read for any Alcott fan, and could be used in the classroom to talk about the Civil War, before reading Little Women to provide background information, or to discuss gender roles or how everyday life has changed from past to present. This was a wonderful book with beautiful illustrations.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    An interesting bit of Louisa May Alcott's life, taking us from age 30 when she signed on as a Civil War nurse in Washington to the publication of Little Women at age 36 and Alcott's subsequent writing career. The pacing was off for me (three full spreads on her journey from Massachusetts to Washington to begin her nurse's post?) and I didn't care for the illustrations - they seemed flat to me. Back matter includes a note about women in medicine, a nice list of sources, and a note about the Battl An interesting bit of Louisa May Alcott's life, taking us from age 30 when she signed on as a Civil War nurse in Washington to the publication of Little Women at age 36 and Alcott's subsequent writing career. The pacing was off for me (three full spreads on her journey from Massachusetts to Washington to begin her nurse's post?) and I didn't care for the illustrations - they seemed flat to me. Back matter includes a note about women in medicine, a nice list of sources, and a note about the Battle of Fredericksburg. This book will definitely find a place in Women's History units or for any Louisa May Alcott fans.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    A nicely done "back story" to Louis May Alcott's fiction writing. Young readers learn about the Civil War, civilian nurses, the Emancipation Proclamation and how her Civil War sketches led to her novels. Krull (as always) does an excellent job showing the history, but most importantly, Alcott's feelings as she lived the history (using quotes from her journals).Beccia's paintings fit the time period and show how hard nursing was in small details like Louisa's blood-streaked apron. Note: I support A nicely done "back story" to Louis May Alcott's fiction writing. Young readers learn about the Civil War, civilian nurses, the Emancipation Proclamation and how her Civil War sketches led to her novels. Krull (as always) does an excellent job showing the history, but most importantly, Alcott's feelings as she lived the history (using quotes from her journals).Beccia's paintings fit the time period and show how hard nursing was in small details like Louisa's blood-streaked apron. Note: I support independent bookstores and encourage you to check out http://www.indiebound.org/ to find your closest bookstore.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    This takes one important episode of Alcott's life and shows how the experience led to her breakthrough title, Little Women. It is very well done. My main criticism is one that is unavoidable in this type of biography. A student cannot rely on this book alone to get their report written up. Of course, that is likely a good thing in that it makes the student have to read another book or reference title. Again, this is a title that I don't feel I've reviewed well. Perhaps I'll come back to it when This takes one important episode of Alcott's life and shows how the experience led to her breakthrough title, Little Women. It is very well done. My main criticism is one that is unavoidable in this type of biography. A student cannot rely on this book alone to get their report written up. Of course, that is likely a good thing in that it makes the student have to read another book or reference title. Again, this is a title that I don't feel I've reviewed well. Perhaps I'll come back to it when I'm not so tired! Definitely worth reading. You get a real feel for what Alcott was like, even if you don't know the rest of her life story.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    Covers an extraordinary chapter in the life of Louisa May Alcott, when she volunteers to serve as a Civil War nurse. It serves to illuminate her humanitarianism, as well as her pluck. These experiences gave her fodder for her later novels. And the picture of her using an overturned teapot in the hospital as a writing service is priceless in conveying her determination. Recommend for 2nd - 5th grade, though the upper grades might consider it too babyish because of the illustrations. For teachers Covers an extraordinary chapter in the life of Louisa May Alcott, when she volunteers to serve as a Civil War nurse. It serves to illuminate her humanitarianism, as well as her pluck. These experiences gave her fodder for her later novels. And the picture of her using an overturned teapot in the hospital as a writing service is priceless in conveying her determination. Recommend for 2nd - 5th grade, though the upper grades might consider it too babyish because of the illustrations. For teachers covering the Civil War, the story would be a great lead into the contributions of women at the time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    4.5 stars A glimpse into a little part of Louisa May Alcott's life...her journey into nursing service during the Civil War, which led to her publishing stories of this time, and then eventually stories of her life growing up--hence the publishing of Little Women. Very interesting story. Beautiful illustrations. Back matter with sources and more information. Good to share before reading the classic tale and good addition to historical time period of the Civil War or for a study of women in history 4.5 stars A glimpse into a little part of Louisa May Alcott's life...her journey into nursing service during the Civil War, which led to her publishing stories of this time, and then eventually stories of her life growing up--hence the publishing of Little Women. Very interesting story. Beautiful illustrations. Back matter with sources and more information. Good to share before reading the classic tale and good addition to historical time period of the Civil War or for a study of women in history.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heidi-Marie

    I may at times get irked by her didactic writing style, but I have always admired Louisa May Alcott. This book is about a part of her history that I did not know. It may have only been a few weeks, but I could see how influential her service in the Civil War would affect her writing. Well-written. A bit on the praising side rather than partial, but not too bad. I liked it, as I have been liking these other Women Pioneers books I've been reading lately. I may at times get irked by her didactic writing style, but I have always admired Louisa May Alcott. This book is about a part of her history that I did not know. It may have only been a few weeks, but I could see how influential her service in the Civil War would affect her writing. Well-written. A bit on the praising side rather than partial, but not too bad. I liked it, as I have been liking these other Women Pioneers books I've been reading lately.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carl Zallow

    I really enjoyed this book. It was about a women, Louisa May, during the Civil War. She was very strong in her beliefs against slavery, and decided to join the fight. She became an army nurse. I liked the pictures that went along with the story and all the historical context that went along with it. I am a huge Civil War buff and believe it was a turning point in our nations history and would include in my curriculum as a future educator.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    I am going to say something that will offend everyone! I have never read Little Women. I have, however, driven by Louis May Alcotts House in Massachusetts...This was an excellent non-ficition for late elementary school kids. I learned a lot that I wouldn't have learned about her...and It makes me want to read Little Women...and I hope it does that for other reader ! I am going to say something that will offend everyone! I have never read Little Women. I have, however, driven by Louis May Alcotts House in Massachusetts...This was an excellent non-ficition for late elementary school kids. I learned a lot that I wouldn't have learned about her...and It makes me want to read Little Women...and I hope it does that for other reader !

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Finney

    I loved "Little Women" so I liked this insight into the author. Not a huge fan of the art in this book though. Looked kind of sappy, and the subject matter is grim - Alcott struggling to work as a nurse, the horrors of the hospital, and the difficulties, frankly, of being apparently the only wage earner in the Alcott family. Krull handles the difficult subject matter well. I loved "Little Women" so I liked this insight into the author. Not a huge fan of the art in this book though. Looked kind of sappy, and the subject matter is grim - Alcott struggling to work as a nurse, the horrors of the hospital, and the difficulties, frankly, of being apparently the only wage earner in the Alcott family. Krull handles the difficult subject matter well.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Zionsville Public Library Youth Services

    Did you ever wonder about the woman who wrote Little Women? Here's your chance to see what battle she had to faced that led to the popularity of her famous books! Check it out at our library! Did you ever wonder about the woman who wrote Little Women? Here's your chance to see what battle she had to faced that led to the popularity of her famous books! Check it out at our library!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christina Getrost

    Nice look at one part of Louisa May Alcott's life, the month she spent as a nurse in the Civil War, and how that led to her successful writing career. Great details about Civil War nursing and Alcott's family life, and how she became a success later. Beautiful illustrations. Nice look at one part of Louisa May Alcott's life, the month she spent as a nurse in the Civil War, and how that led to her successful writing career. Great details about Civil War nursing and Alcott's family life, and how she became a success later. Beautiful illustrations.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Tongate

    Did you know that at the age of 30, Louisa May Alcott, applied to be a Civil War army nurse? Great read aloud for Women's History and/or Civil War study. Many students might read Little Women after listening to the book. Did you know that at the age of 30, Louisa May Alcott, applied to be a Civil War army nurse? Great read aloud for Women's History and/or Civil War study. Many students might read Little Women after listening to the book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I think Louisa May Alcott led a much more interesting life.. this is about a very short time period- weeks - in which she was a nurse during the Civil War.. and so I'm not sure why the author chose this part on which to focus I think Louisa May Alcott led a much more interesting life.. this is about a very short time period- weeks - in which she was a nurse during the Civil War.. and so I'm not sure why the author chose this part on which to focus

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