Saturday, October 24, 2009


Novel, illustrated, endnotes, 60 pp., 2007. Independent Publisher Group, 814 Highland Drive, Sandy, Utah 84093, $12.95 plus shipping.

Has your son or daughter ever played dress-up? The young ladies usually want to be princesses or belles of the ball, while young men elect to be soldiers or cowboys. This precious time in their life is a very impressionable period where parents and other adults are heroes and have all the answers.

Robin Robinson conceived a great idea when she decided to write The Civil War Handbook, How to Dress, Talk, Eat and Command Like a Confederate Captain. This concept to give young people a book to help fuel their imagination and play time is priceless. Enclosing pictures within the pages allows real images to take the place of the made-up ones the child had visualized. Using soldiers’ actual words from letters and diaries help to tell the tale of that time.

Even though this is a children’s book, much research is need to portray the soldier correctly. This is where Ms. Robinson neglected her duty as a writer. She states many untruths, such as the Confederate States of America was formed upon the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. Lincoln was elected as President in November of 1860 and the Confederacy was not formed until February 1861, three months later. Also she states that the correct term for the union of Southern states is “United States of the Confederacy.” Many other of her facts seem far-fetched and very unlikely. Without a bibliography or footnotes, it is hard to determine where she got her information.

The title of this book eludes that the information found within its pages would be about Confederate men serving their country. However, majority of the quotes are from Union soldiers, not Confederate. In fact Ms. Robinson uses very little Confederate references for any of her topics. In her listings of favorite songs for Southern boys, she does not list Dixie or the Bonnie Blue Flag. She lists Harper’s Weekly as a favorite read for soldiers but forgets to state it was mainly read by Northern armies. In the South there were many ladies that could have been highlighted in the section pertaining to women, yet Ms. Robinson chooses to write about Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. Even the pictures illustrating this manuscript are normally Yankees.

Ms. Robinson preys on the pocketbooks of the consumer by misleading them to the information she has published in her book. She asks for payment for a job where she has done little creditable research on Confederate soldiers. I hope all parents and grandparents avoid this book, no matter how tempting the title makes it.

Written by Cassie A. Barrow

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