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(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

The Collier brothers have written a moving fictional account of the Revolutionary War's disruption of a small Connecticut village. America gained its independence at a great price. Students may think of all the colonists as patriots dedicated to liberation, but as My Brother Sam Is Dead makes clear, such was not the case. The revolutionaries met with great opposition from many loyal supporters of England, their mother country. The emotions that divided the emerging nation also caused internal dissent among family members whose loyalties differed. The Meeker family in My Brother Sam Is Dead illustrate the fact that war involves conflicts that lack clearcut divisions of territory or loyalty. The father, Life Meeker, remains loyal to England and the king, while his elder son, Sam, joins the fight for independence. Tim, the younger son who wishes to remain loyal to both, gets caught in the middle. Families are torn apart, and young couples are separated as characters struggle with wide-ranging...

(The entire section is 319 words.)