Javan H.

First Place Winner

The American Front is my current favorite book and because of it my life has changed. First, let me say that I was born at a re-enactment. My father has been a Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactor since 1983. At the time of my birth in 1994, my church was sponsoring a living history as a memorial to the death of Stonewall Jackson. The first people to come see me in the hospital were wearing Confederate uniforms.

As I have grown, my parents have dressed me in clothing from whatever era they were re-enacting. I have been a Civil War refugee child, a drummer boy, and a guard for the ladies.

Now that I am old enough to join the soldiers on the field, I portray a WWI DoughBoy, a Civil War soldier, or a WWII Russian about once a month. So, as you can see, my interest in history is paramount. I eat, live, sleep, and breathe history. I have even dressed up to present interpretations at the high school where my father teachers and at my own.

The book The American Front is considered "alternative history." That means it deals in the "what ifs." By approaching history from a different angle, it causes me to think, to wonder, and to involve my father, who is constantly reading and very knowledgeable, in conversations that take us beyond the regular school day. Very often as we drive to a re-enactment, we will talk the entire way about what could have been and how that would affect life today.

This topic interests me and makes me appreciate life more. For example, if my ancestor for whom I am named had been killed instead of captured at the battle of Gaines Mill, I wouldn't be here today.

I hope to follow in my father's footsteps. I will start community college this summer, earn an associate's degree, then transfer to the local university to get my master's in education with a goal of teaching history at the college level so that I can share my passion and enthusiasm for history with others. I hope to show others that history is not dead. It is very much alive and well!

Therefore, the book The American Front has made me think analytically and think out of the box. I believe this book will make me a better teacher in the future.