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.