The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan: A Novel of the Civil War

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9780679881520: The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan: A Novel of the Civil War
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A haunting novel that weaves together its narrator's dreams, Irish legend, and the pivotal events of the American Civil War, The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan portrays a family of Irish immigrants struggling to find its identity in the new world, and a nation struggling to be born anew out of the carnage of war. Mairhe Mehan is sixteen, a resident of Swampoodle, Washington D.C.'s Irish slum. Here brother Mike, a laborer building the new dome of the U.S. Capitol, suddenly enlists as a volunteer in the Union Army, leaving Mairhe with her father, an ailing old man whose heart is in the Ireland he has left behind. Terrified for her brother's life and alone in a Washington filled with the fighting's chaotic overflow, Mairhe confronts her own choice between Ireland and America s the Civil War heads toward its defining moment at the Battle of Gettysburg.With several ALA Notable Books to her credit, Jennifer Armstrong is an author with a fast-growing reputation. Her strongest and most profound work to date, The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan is a novel of great thematic breadth and memorable emotional impact.  

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Review:

In a challenging new novel, Jennifer Armstrong reveals the heart of a young woman in the midst of the U.S. Civil War. Protagonist Mairhe Mehan is an Irish immigrant trying to piece together the fragments of her family's life in war-torn Washington, D.C. A quiet man with a mane of flowing white hair helps her understand the dreams that fuel battle and pain. (Later, she learns that this man is the poet Walt Whitman.) Truly, this is historical fiction in a most uncommon sense. Armstrong's writing is so vivid, so heartfelt, that the turmoil of the Civil War rises again in the pages of this slim, eloquent book.

About the Author:

Ever since the first grade, Jennifer Armstrong knew that she would become an author. She loved making up stories and sharing them with others. Her family treasured books and this led her to become an avid reader of all types of fiction. It was no surprise when she chose to study English and American Literature at Smith College in Massachusetts.

Armstrong is the author of over 50 books for children from kindergarten through high school. Best known for writing historical fiction, she has also been successful in
creating picture books, easy readers, chapter books, young adult novels, as well as nonfiction.

Armstrong, who grew up outside of New York City, now lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Jennifer Armstrong is the winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. Many of her books have been designated as Notable Books by the American Library Association and the International Reading Association.

For more information on Jennifer Armstrong, visit her website at www.jennifer-armstrong.com, or read her blog at www.jennifer-armstrong.blogspot.com.
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9780679885573: The Dreams of Mairhe Mehan

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ISBN 10:  0679885579 ISBN 13:  9780679885573
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1997
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