Aaron Barn­hart
  • Review
By – December 10, 2015

This nov­el is a fic­tion­al­ized his­to­ry of mid-nine­teenth cen­tu­ry abo­li­tion­ist August Bon­di. Anschl Bon­di was 14 years old in Vien­na when he joined the rebel­lion against the crown and watched as many young peo­ple were killed in the protest, includ­ing his best friend. After his father was released from debtor’s prison, he decid­ed that it was time to leave the ris­ing vio­lence in Vien­na and found pas­sage on a ship head­ing to America.

At the first stop, Anschl was exposed to the harsh real­i­ties of Amer­i­can slav­ery and decid­ed that he had a new cause. He decid­ed that the old-fash­ioned name of Anschl had no place in this new land; he need­ed to become an August. The sto­ry tells of August search­ing for his new iden­ti­ty while on a river­boat to Texas, and final­ly set­tling in Kansas with a friend. Togeth­er they open a gen­er­al store and fight for a free Kansas along­side the noto­ri­ous John Brown. August is faced with the real-life dilem­mas of going out to fight for ideals or stay­ing home with fam­i­ly. August remains ide­o­log­i­cal through­out the sto­ry, yet with each new chal­lenge comes a new per­spec­tive. This is a sto­ry of com­ing-of-age, with August and his friends find­ing love and mar­riage toward the end. Ulti­mate­ly August is able to recon­nect with the Anschl” piece of him­self he left behind while remain­ing true to his ideals.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 10 – 16.

Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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