Project Description


The Passage

by James Kilgore

Against his family’s wishes, a fifteen year old joins the Confederate Navy and learns that honor can be a smokescreen for arrogance and pride.

It is early summer in 1862 and the Civil War is raging. Eager to serve on behalf of the South, fifteen-year-old Sam Wood of Yazoo City, Mississippi, forges his grandfather’s name and convinces his best friend Albert to join him and enlist in the Confederate Navy. With great excitement and bravado, the two teenagers board the CSS Arkansas.

Sam quickly learns that the sailor’s life is hard―long hours on duty, grueling manual labor, and contentious crewmates. Then Captain Brown receives orders for the Arkansas to sail to the Mississippi River, running a dangerous gauntlet of Federal fleets. Sam knows it will be a risky passage. Still, he is not quite prepared for what lies ahead…or the troubling news that arrives from back home.

In author James Killgore’s stirring, fast-paced novel set during one of the most audacious naval battles of the Civil War, young readers will relive the drama of the conflict and its devastating consequences through the eyes of a courageous teen who learns the true meaning of courage and honor on his journey to manhood.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-384-9
Publication Date: 10/30/2006
Page Count: 256
Size: 5-1/4 ̎ x 8 ̎’
Age Range: 12 – 16
Language: English
Format: eBook
ISBN: 978-1-56145-716-8
Age Range: 12 – 16
Language: English

Purchase this eBook through the following vendors:

Barnes & Noble

AR Level: 5.0
F&P: Z, Gr 7th & up, Genre HF
Themes: Courage and Cowardice, Motivation Behind War, Family Bonds
BISAC 1: YAF024160 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Historical / United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
BISAC 2: YAF058270 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Violence


“Well-told and firmly in the tradition of a war story in which the protagonist joins a cause and returns broken and embittered, wondering how anyone believed in the glories of battle and patriotic rhetoric.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Based on historical fact, this fascinating novel offers glimpses into the naval role in the Civil War. The description of life onboard an ironclad is unforgettable.… In addition to creating a credible picture of life in that era, Killgore also poses timely questions about war and peace.” ―VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)


Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Social Studies Grades 7-12) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2007

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Meet the Author

James Killgore holds degrees from Louisiana State University, New York University, and Napier University in Edinburgh. He is the author of The Passage as well as the adult novel Buck Falaya. He lives in Scotland.