Here's the thing about books set in the past: in the 1800s people talked way differently. And if an author is good at their job, they make sure that the ol' timey dialect and jargon blends right into their writing. So dialogue takes some getting used to in this book. But once you start reading hev as have and git as get, you'll be all set.
Another reason why this book gets set up at base camp is all thanks to the Civil War and its billions of battles. Okay, we might be exaggerating that a bit. However, if you're not already a history buff, then all the different generals and armies and battlefields (oh my!) might get confusing. But fear not, because Shmoop is here to help.