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My Brother Sam Is Dead

My Brother Sam Is Dead


by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

My Brother Sam Is Dead Introduction

In A Nutshell

Shmoopers, we've got a question for you. What do Ferris Bueller, the Weasley twins, and Mulan have in common?

Awesome hair. Check.
Parental disobedience. Check.
A penchant for breaking the rules. Check.

And what does all this add up to? These folks are teenage rebels.

Well, we've got another rebel for you to add to the list: meet Sam Meeker. He's doing teenage rebellion Revolutionary War.

Brothers James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier published My Brother Sam Is Dead in 1974, introducing us to Sam and his younger brother, Tim. Here's the sitch: Sam's dad is a Loyalist. This means that he supports England and doesn't want freedom for the colonies. Well watch out Papa Meeker because you're in for a surprise: Sam decides to join up with the Continental Army. This means he's going to fight for the American colonies to be free from England. This disagreement puts younger brother Tim in a pretty tough spot while big bro is away.

And the rebellion isn't just in the plot; even the book is a bit on the rebellious side. It's spent quite a few years on lists of banned books, mainly because it's filled with violence (don't say we didn't warn you).

But folks have been enjoying Tim and Sam's tale ever since My Brother Sam Is Dead was published. It packs some historical punch, but it also pulls on the heartstrings without missing a beat. And that's not just our opinion; My Brother Sam Is Dead was named a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award finalist. We say it's about time you give it a shot.


Why Should I Care?

Shmoop hates making choices.

Well, not when those choices involve ice cream (although that can be super stressful, too). We're talking Big Deal choices, like where to go to college.

And if there's one guy out there who knows just how tough decisions can be, it's Tim Meeker. This fellow has to make one of the toughest choices ever.

You see, Tim grows up during the American Revolutionary War, and he has to decide if he's going to be on Team English Nation (and support the country he's a citizen of) or Team American Colonies (and fight for freedom from England). Oh, and this choice gets even tougher because Tim's dad supports England, and his brother Sam joins the army to fight for America. Yep, this decision is quite the pickle. In fact, we think Tim has one of the sourest pickles out there.

Tim's difficult decision is no picnic, but it reminds us here at Shmoop that we, too, can make it through those tough choices. It also reminds us it could be worse. Just saying.

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