The Way to Bright Star by Dee Alexander Brown

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Ben Butterfield, ex-circus performer, is living out his days in a small backwater town.  He spends much of his time dwelling on the past, pondering his glory days with the circus, and his first grand adventure—an odyssey across Missouri and Illinois to Bright Star, Indiana, during the Civil War.  It was a journey that laid the groundwork for the man he would become, and on which he got to know the two people who meant the world to him, and still do.

In 1862, Ben sets out to help Johnny Hawkes, a resourceful Texican, drive two camels to the farm home of a Yankee officer who has taken possession of the desert beasts as contraband of war.  But when Johnny is imprisoned by the Yankees and charged with horse theft, it is up to Ben to complete the task without his friend and mentor.  On the threshold of manhood, he has only the help of a young girl, nicknamed Princess, who spends most of the time masquerading as a boy to avoid drawing unwanted attention.  Johnny and Princess must stand together and persevere against the odds if they are to overcome every obstacle placed before them on the winding way to Bright Star. 

A magnificent tour of 1860s heartland America, The Way to Bright Star is a grand coming-of-age novel, in the tradition of Huckleberry Finn, and destined to become an American classic.

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About Dee Alexander Brown

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Dee Brown is the author of more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction relating to American frontier history. Born in 1908, Brown worked as a printer's devil and newspaperman before studying in Washington, D.C., and joining the University of Illinois as an agricultural librarian. He now lives with his wife, Sally, in his hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Published September 30, 2008 by Forge Books. 353 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Elizabeth, Ben, Johnny, and the harried handler of the camels, an Egyptian named Hadjee, survive assaults and adventures, and Ben and Elizabeth, despite the obstacles, get the camels through.

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Brown uses Ben Butterfield's recollections of the trip to tell the story and also to tell of Ben's life at the turn of the century.

Sep 16 1998 | Read Full Review of The Way to Bright Star

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