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The War Rages On and The War Within Review by Jennifer Ladewig

Cecelia Schmidt
U.S. History Bites

The War Rages On and The War Within are books set in the Civil War Era. Written from a Christian perspective these books were written by a homeschooled high school student! The War Within is a continuation of the first book The War Rages On. The War Rages On is 117 pages in length. The War Within is 128 pages in length. At the end of both books you will find a short section of relevant scripture references. Both books are available in paperback and retail for $9.95 each.

These books would be appropriate for upper elementary and older students. Adults would also find these books very appealing too. Parents of younger children may want to read the books ahead of their children due to content pertaining to slavery, the KKK, hatred, childbirth, and hanging.

I read both books and really enjoyed them. They were fast reads. I finished both books within a couple of hours. Before handing over the books to my children I wanted to read the books for myself. I plan on having my 6th and 9th grade daughters read these books as part of their history requirements for this school year.

The War Rages On focuses on 16-year-old Grace Johnson who lives during the Civil War Era. “Sadly, a war had been taking place for almost four months now, a war between the states. The country was divided over the issue of slavery. Grace did not fully understand all the details, but she knew that she did not approve of the idea of one person owning another.” Grace’s mother is a strong believer while her father is an unbeliever. Both Grace and her mother routinely go to church together and believe that slavery is wrong. David Carver, the preacher’s son, is quite smitten with Grace. Grace feels likewise. Mr. Johnson is not so happy that his daughter is caught up with the preacher’s son. A new family comes to town, the Miller’s. Mr. Miller is filled with hate for colored folks. His hate causes tragedy that affects both the Johnson’s and the Carver’s in a huge way. Holding fast to God’s plan in all things is so very hard amidst the war that continues to rage all around. When Scarlet Fever hits tragedy strikes again. Will Grace’s father ever come to accept the Lord? Will he ever consent to her marrying David Carter?

The War Within begins with the young Carver and Koch couples happily married! The war has ended but new trouble is brewing, the KKK has infiltrated it deep-seated roots into community. The two young couples enjoy each other’s company. Grace finds out that her dear friend Anna is pregnant and is so very excited for her but so yearns for a child of her own. John Miller continues to stir up strife and dissent among the townspeople concerning colored people. His son Thomas was killed in the war and he is not about to let his son’s death go unavenged. A new couple has come to town, Daniel and Elizabeth Simms. Daniel is desperately searching for employment but is having no success because he is colored. Grace invites he and his wife over for dinner and a wonderful friendship develops that blossoms into a story of love, tragedy, and years of prayer answered. I would love to share more but I don’t want to spoil the rest of the beautiful, yet heart-wrenching story. I will leave you with some snippets from the book that gives readers why the titles are so very fitting.

“…a tremendous burden was suddenly lifted off…After years and years filled with sin, strife, and struggle, the war within his soul was finally over.”

“Something changed inside of me, and for the first time in my life, I felt afraid. Afraid for…for my soul. I didn’t know what to do. I’d never felt anything like that before, and I…I was terrified. That’s when the war within me really started.”

“God uses the light and the dark – the good and the bad in life – to accomplish His purposes, Grace. And sometimes it’s the dark things – the trials, the sufferings, the loss – that allow us to see the light more clearly.”

I really enjoyed both books not only for the historical significance, but also the Christian perspective that the author uses to convey the story. This young author is truly talented and I am looking forward to her future writings. I think if there were one negative it would be the book covers. I know that we are always told to not judge a book by its cover but unfortunately many of us do, especially with authors that we have never heard of or are unfamiliar with. If I were to see these books sitting on a bookshelf they would not be something that would entice me to pick them up. With all that said, I would highly recommend these books to others. They are well-worth reading.


-Product review by Jennifer Ladewig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2017