Paper Trail

by Barbara Snow Gilbert

A riveting novel based on the militia groups whose messages of hate and dissent have... read more

A riveting novel based on the militia groups whose messages of hate and dissent have occupied the headlines in recent years chronicles the endangered life of a teenage boy whose attempt to escape one such group with his parents has turned disastrous. His mother has been killed. His father has disappeared, perhaps to Washington, the boy thinks, reeling with the revelation that his father has been undercover for ten years as an FBI agent. On the run, the boy sorts through memories of his childhood, trying to make sense of the past and of the recent events that have left him unsure of his own identity. He’d always known his parents never wholly embraced the rhetoric of white supremacy that seemed part of the fabric of the community, but he’d had no idea of their secret. When the Soldiers of God find him, the boy’s confusion mounts as the leaders smoothly reassure him that his mother’s death was an accident and that his father is working for them, not the FBI. Barbara Snow Gilbert alternates chapters of the narrative story with excerpts from newspaper and magazine articles quoting militia members, and reports from organizations, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, that monitor hate‑group activities. Because of this technique, it is impossible to deny the realism of the fictional events that might otherwise seem outrageous. The twist in the concluding pages will leave many readers eager to start the book all over again.(Ages 13‑16)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

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