With Lee in Virginaby G. A. Henty
380 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Nienna
Interesting, mostly historical read with a lot of non-graphic violence.
PlotVincent Wingfield is the sixteen-year-old son of a deceased English officer and a wealthy Virginian woman who is his loving mother. When war breaks out between the north and south of the USA, Vincent immediately joins the Confederate cavalry where he goes through many adventures including being wounded, captured by the Federals, and chasing down a slave thief.
MoralityMostly good. Vincent doesn't ask his mother's permission before doing some things for fear she'll say no, he purposefully deceives some people (though he avoids direct lying whenever possible), and he travels in disguise and acts as a spy a few times, but it is always for noble and good reasons. Showing cruelty to slaves, cowardliness, disloyalty, and ingratitude are all highly condemned.
ViolenceVincent owns a plantation and slaves, though he only keeps them because he believes it is best for them. Slaves are beaten. Vincent fights with another boy who was mercilessly flogging his slave, and Vincent knocks the boy out. Lots of people die in battle or of sickness. Vincent and his servant Dan nearly drown while out in a boat in a storm. A main character is hit by a piece of shell which knocks him off his feet for a while but he's not too seriously wounded. There is a fight in a hotel in which a few men are shot. Vincent fights with a man who tried to shoot him. It is stated that many homes are robbed and people are murdered under no provocation. A girl is nearly shot. Vincent shoots several ruffians in a fight, and gets shot in the arm. Vincent helps a sheriff rout out some criminals, all but two of whom are shot in the process, as is the sheriff. When attacked with a sword, Vincent hits a man with a shovel and the blow kills the man. He barely escapes being shot as a spy. All of this is scarcely more than stated.
Drug and Alcohol ContentAll of the characters drink rum and other alcoholic drinks, as well as smoking. Some kind of drug is used to make some people sleep.
Sexual ContentA teenage girl and her servant travel through the woods with Vincent and his servant; they stay in the same house and she nurses him; also they pretend to be brother and sister, but it is only from necessity and they are very chaste about it. Some people assume that they are a couple.
Crude or Profane Language or ContentSome slaves say such things as "golly" and "Oh Lor'" It is implied that another character might have sworn at Vincent, but the words are not written.
ConclusionThough not all of the history in this book is completely accurate, it is filled with historical characters and events and is very informative. The characters are interesting, the story well-written, and the worldview is Christian. Though I didn't agree with all of Vincent's beliefs, Henty did present Vincent's viewpoint well, and Vincent had a fairly good view of slavery considering his upbringing. The individual slaves are portrayed well, though some readers may find it difficult to understand their speech. I recommend With Lee in Virginia to highschoolers who enjoy adventure stories and history.
|Written for Age:||13+|
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