Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone provides a fascinating picture of a wealthy young girl growing up on a large plantation in Louisiana and grappling with the coming of the Civil War and ensuing invasion.
Kate was nearly 20 years old when the Civil War began and lived on a plantation with 150 slaves. As the Yankees approached, Kate and her family escaped in a canoe and become refugees in Texas. Many themes come up in this journal-- slavery, plantation life, women's roles, civilian life during war, the deprivations of war, and southern attitudes toward the North.
The Civil War through the eyes of civilians, women, and southerners are critical perspectives when studying the conflict. Brokenburn provides all three.
We used Brokenburn in book group by pairing specific passages with relevant primary sources and then sharing the material through reader's theater. The resulting performances were poignant glimpses into the Civil War.