Maryland during the Civil War had much in common with Tennessee, where loyalties were divided between North and South. Set in the Tennessee mountains, The Perilous Road by William O. Steele is a novel that brings this Civil War dilemma to life. Chris Babson has sided with the Confederates, but his older brother casts his lot with the Yankees. When Chris passes along some information to local Confederates, he unwittingly brings about an attack on his brother's Yankee patrol. Has he killed his own brother? The late writer William O. Steele won the Newberry Honor for this 1959 novel, which is back in print. Steele was my favorite writer growing up because he wrote about boys my age who were forced by the times and circumstances into situations and adventures beyond their years, whether it was spying for the Confederacy or fighting for survival on the frontier. (I think his best book is actually Winter Danger.) He's a writer worth checking out today for any young fan of realistic historical fiction. Great for middle schoolers or older elementary school readers.
Recommended by David Healey