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The Perilous Road  
Author William O. Steele
Cover artist Illustrated by Paul Galdone
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Historical novel
Publisher Harcourt Brace & World
Publication date 1 April 1958
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-15-260644-0 (hardback edition)

The Perilous Road is a novel, published in 1958 by William O. Steele. The book is set in Eastern Tennessee during the time of the American Civil War. In 1959, The Perilous Road was awarded the Newbery Honor.

Plot summary

Chris Brabson is a boy whose family lives in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee during the Civil War. His family encounters hard times when cavalry soldiers of the Union Army come and take most of his family's food and their one and only plow horse leaving them little supplies to sustain the winter. Chris vowes to get even with the Yanks and is determined to fight for Confederate Army. Chris' brother, Jethro, has just recently joined the Union Army forcing Chris to examine his beliefs of war, courage, and tolerance. Jethro's enlistment causes the Brabson family to be the victims of prejudice from their neighbors who are sympathizers of the Confederate Army. The neighbors become intolerant of their beliefs and burn down their shed and threaten to do the same with their house.

Though Jethro is a Union soldier, Chris hates the Union troops. When Chris finds out that there is a wagon train in the area he alerts a friend of his, Silas Agee, who claims to be a Confederate spy. It is only after he tells Silas about the wagon train that he finds out that his brother's job in the Army will be as a wagon driver. Chris then takes it upon himself to go tell his brother of the fact that the Confederates have been alerted about the wagon train in order to try to save Jethro's life. When he gets to the wagon train in search of Jethro, he is kindly greeted by Union troops who offer him food and conversation. He begins to change his perspective of the Yankees learning that they are very similar to him and are not the hateful theives he once veiwed them as.

Awards and nominations

In 1959, The Perilous Road was awarded the Newbery Honor.


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