On July 1, 1863, at the age of twelve, Reis Bramble went to war. It was not his intention to enter the battlefield but rumors of the Confederate "rebs" moving into Pennsylvania and heading towards Gettysburg was too tempting. War was a glorious affair, full of heroes and heroic acts, and was not to be missed, particularly by twelve-year-old boys. So off he went, astride Sport, his family's farm horse, and accompanied by Old Jack, his yellow dog. But events, particularly big events, often have a way of overcoming common sense and Reis quickly finds himself in the midst of one of the bloodiest and most desperate battles in American history with no way home.
In Sing Before Breakfast, author George Stein captures the richness and tranquility of life before the war, the horror and confusion of the battlefield and the deprivation caused by the destruction of homes and farms after. His characters speak with true voices of nineteenth century Pennsylvania as they discuss their daily lives and how the rumors of war affect them. Filled with warmth, love, and humor, young Reis's world is both idyllic and filled with hard work. It is a world in which he is in tune with the land and people that surround him, not realizing how quickly that sense of order will quickly disappear.
For in a few short hours his reality will become the battle of Gettysburg, and this will turn his world upside down. Seeing the horror on the battlefield, men and animals dying and many more wounded and crying out in pain, Reis questions the nature of war and why men repeatedly are drawn to it. He realizes that many of those fighting are not much older than he and sees the futility of their lives being cut so short in fields far from home.
A vivid and historically accurate account of two armies as they maneuver in and out of battle, this powerful novel puts the reader in the midst of a terrible conflict introducing us to those whose names we have only known in history books, bringing them to life in ways that few history books can. A powerful and compelling story, Sing Before Breakfast is the tale of innocence lost while a great nation fights for its future.
Accompanied by photographs and biographies of the attending officers of both the North and the South and a map of the battlefield, Sing Before Breakfast is a riveting account of the turning point in America's Civil War.
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