I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Caleb's Wars by David L. Dudley
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 2011
Genres: 20th Century, African American, Boys & Men, Historical, People & Places, Prejudice & Racism, Social Issues, United States, Young Adult
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A powerful novel about growing up black on the World War II home front in the Jim Crow South. Caleb lives in a world at war. War news is on everyone’s mind, and Caleb’s older brother, Randall, is likely to be sent overseas. The presence of German POWs in Caleb’s rural Georgia community is a constant reminder of what’s happening in Europe. Locked in a power struggle with his domineering father and fighting to keep both his temper and his self-respect in dealing with whites, Caleb finds his loyalties shifting and his certainties slipping away. This coming-of-age story, set in a time before the civil rights movement emerged, traces one young man’s growing commitment to justice and to the courage needed to protect it.
Finally! There’s a book about African Americans that doesn’t take place during the Civil Rights Era or slavery. Caleb’s Wars by David L. Dudley is a breath of fresh air in the young adult historical fiction genre.
Caleb lives with his family in a predominantly black area of rural Georgia. His brother Randall is enlisted in the army, hoping to fight abroad. When a new restaurant opens in town, Caleb takes a job there despite not being allowed to actually eat there. He ends up working side by side and becoming friendly with a German Prisoner of War.
Caleb’s Wars by David L. Dudley takes on themes of family, race, and religion in an engaging and eloquent manner. Caleb is fed up with his situation in life as a young black teen. His father is controlling and anti-religion. Caleb hates being called ‘boy’ by white men and is enraged over the unfair treatment he receives. In fact, he is SO enraged that he goes out at night to vandalize the property of the whites with his friends. Yet, Caleb also balances his anger with his sense of purpose– a higher calling to do well which he feels after his baptism.
Caleb’s Wars by David L. Dudley is an engaging book about the pre-Civil Rights Era. The reader gets to see a generation on the verge of fighting back. It’s obvious to Caleb, his family and friends that things aren’t right with their social situation, yet they do not rebel or fight against this treatment just yet. Caleb sees that compliance will not give him respect or fair treatment, and I think Caleb’s Wars shows the dawning of what eventually becomes The Civil Rights Era.
Disclosure: Review copy from Amazon Vine.