Buffalo Soldier

By Tanya Landman

Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015, this is a beautiful piece of historical fiction told with heart and humanity.

Winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015. "What kind of a girl steals the clothes from a dead man's back and runs off to join the army? A desperate one. That's who." At the end of the American Civil War, Charley – a young African-American slave from the deep south – is ostensibly freed. But then her adopted mother is raped and lynched at the hands of a mob and Charley is left alone. In a terrifyingly lawless land, where the colour of a person's skin can bring violent death, Charley disguises herself as a man and joins the army. Soon she's being sent to the prairies to fight a whole new war against the "savage Indians". Trapped in a world of injustice and inequality, it's only when Charley is posted to Apache territory that she begins to learn what it is to be truly free.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 14+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406314595
  • Published: 03 Apr 2014
  • Price: £8.99
  • Size: 198 x 129 mm
  • Pages: 368

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Customer reviews


'The narrative voice never falters and the reading experience is completely immersive and unforgettable. Valuable lessons of history are taken to heart and live with you when you experience them through fiction, as is proved by the impact of Little Big Man and Roots upon the author and upon me and countless others I suspect. Apache and now the intense and superbly well written Buffalo Soldier will have the same effect upon today's teenagers.' Reading Zone

'This uncompromising novel will encourage critical thinking in young readers. Landman tackles issues of justice head-on and she doesn’t flinch from depicting the brutality that inevitably accompanies conflict. But the mood of the novel is reflective and often upbeat. After many tough experiences Charley finds friendship and love, so the young reader will find some resolution at the end of this thought-provoking page-turner' We Love This Book

'A tour de force' The History Girls

'Tanya Landman’s Buffalo Soldiers is about a female slave who runs away dressed as a boy. By turns funny, laconic and harrowing, Charley is a narrator you all for instantly as she outwits the plantation owner, sees her friends murdered and embarks on a quest for freedom and justice in the American civil war' New Statesman

'A beautifully written historical book. Full of hardship, it is not an easy read but it perfectly captures what it means to be an outcast' Kiss

'Tanya Landman’s Buffalo Soldiers is about a female slave who runs away dressed as a boy. By turns funny, laconic and harrowing, Charley is a narrator you all for instantly as she outwits the plantation owner, sees her friends murdered and embarks on a quest for freedom and justice in the American civil war' New Statesman

'As powerful as the Bob Marley song with which it shares its names and fleshes out the history alluded to in its sparse lyrics in utterly compelling fashion . . . unflinching in her portrayal of the all-pervading inhumanity which was released across America during the second half of the 19th century' Books for Keeps

'This is an extraordinarily powerful book, immaculately written in a sustained voice that never misses a beat. The analogies and observations that flesh out the narrative are superbly observed and always completely in character and period. We are literally observing the world according to Charley, and her take on it is skilfully developed throughout her journey' The Historical Novel Society Review

'There are so many reasons to admire this book' Books for Keeps

'A remarkable book' Awfully Big Reviews

'Deft and dark' Independent on Sunday

'Immaculately researched and related in a voice that is both authentic and utterly convincing, Buffalo Soldier is a gritty and powerful story about racial identity, gender and the evils of slavery. A must-read for older teenagers…' Lancashire Evening Post

'Based on a true-life account, this is a challenging and disturbing novel. But it’s an important, unforgettable and at last, hopeful one too' Scotsman

'Hard-hitting, bleak and full of heart' Metro

'In the best historical fiction you can smell the sweat of the horses, hear the crunch of their hooves and know that you are headed somewhere special. If you haven’t yet done so, it’s time to mount up and move out with the Buffalo Soldier!' Teaching English

'Intense and superbly well written . . . completely immersive and unforgettable.' The School Librarian

'Gripping and often heart-rending' The Herald, Glasgow

'This book is really well written, I know it is cliché but this book really grabs you and makes you want to read on and find out what happens to its main character. Something I really like about this book, is the language it uses; it really helps set the scene and make it feel realistic.' Guardian Children's Book Site

'Gripping, vivid, superb.' Independent

'A historical epic.' The Times

'A deeply thrilling adventure story dealing with race and gender inequality set in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War, Buffalo Soldier is a must-read for teens of all genders.' Amnesty International

'This is a brilliantly written and thought-provoking read for young adults and adults.' Exmoor Magazine

'This is immensely powerful stuff, thrillingly relayed by a masterful and intuitive storyteller. It’s not always easy reading because the author doesn’t believe in sanitizing history. But the more distressing events in Charley’s journey to real freedom are sensitively handled, making this outstanding historical novel a must-read for older teens.' South China Morning Post

'Layers of uncomfortable history are peeled back to leave young adult readers gripped by Charlotte's heart-breaking losses while clinging on to her raw hope and inspired by her sheer desire to survive.' Children's Books Ireland

'[…]skilfully written, this is a story that encompasses racial identity, slavery, freedom and really asks the big questions.' The School Run

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