Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cottonwood Summer 45 by Gary Slaughter review

Cottonwood Summer '45, the latest novel in the Cottonwood series, continues the tradition of delivering an entertaining, richly-detailed reminiscence of home front America during the summer of 1945, as well as details of the closing events of World War II. The last days of the war have a profound effect on America, as witnessed by the citizens of Riverton, Michigan, and Nashville, Tennessee, the settings of this fast-paced story in which Jase and his best friend Danny, the heroes of the Cottonwood novels, are plagued by yet another passel of bad guys.

When the story opens, Danny has disappeared, along with a desperate German POW bent on making his way back to the Fatherland. With Danny as his hostage, he too falls victim to the wit and valor of the villain-vanquishing team from Riverton.

On their train trip to Nashville, our heroes are robbed but quickly identify the crook. Next, by capturing a nasty Nazi POW, they are awarded the Key to the City by Nashville’s mayor. This action opens the doors to the exciting sights and sounds of Nashville in 1945.

You’ll weep as Danny causes the accidental death of a dear friend. And you’ll marvel at how the duo deals with their first experience with racial segregation. And you’ll laugh aloud at the antics of Danny as his clairvoyance and intelligence bewilder pompous politicians and unfortunate criminals alike.
Gary Slaughter’s previous novels – Cottonwood Spring, Cottonwood Winter: A Christmas Story, Cottonwood Fall, and Cottonwood Summer – were named finalist in six prestigious book awards for fiction writing in the categories of adult fiction and young-adult fiction. Based on early reviews, Cottonwood Summer '45 is his best work ever. Readers are in for a special treat!

3.5 stars

Cottonwood Summer '45 is the fifth book in a series about two young men in Michigan during the era of WWII.  This is the first book of the series that I have read and it had some positives and negatives to it.

First off the positives, when I was younger I would have devoured this book and been off to find the whole series.  The two boys were well written and proved very fun to follow on their adventures.  There was also a lot of historical research done to add realism to the environments the boys found themselves traveling through.

The negatives spin off of the positives, I'm not the same age as the boys so it is harder for me to relate to them.  The historical lessons at times really disconnected me from the flow of the story.  There were some really cool things (learning about the canteen located in Bellefontaine OH was especially cool since I grew up there), but it just slowed down the pace a bit much at times.

Overall the book had more positives to it than negatives and I still will be recommending this series to my nephew as something he should read for sure.  If you are a fan of historical fiction or books with young characters performing heroic acts this is a book for you.


  1. Sound like it has potential for young adults interested in WW II history. Often YA WW II novels focus on the Holocaust in some fashion, so this series offers a fresh angle.

    1. It was an interesting twist on the normal WWII stuff that I have read. I think I really would have enjoyed it immensely if I had read it growing up and it still maintained some appeal to me as an adult.

  2. It has been pointed out that my original posting had a few mistakes, such as me grabbing the wrong cover and blurb from Amazon as well as saying it's the fourth book of the series when in reality it is the fifth. The blurb and number of books have been corrected and I'll fix the cover tonight when I get home from work. Many apologies to anyone who checked out the book and was a bit confused by my mistakes.