“Strikingly told through the eyes of two Black Two war correspondents who were also soldiers, Now or Never! shows us a unique, little- known side to the bloody conflict that ended slavery.”
Kathryn Erskine, National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature

“In this sometimes heartbreaking, often infuriating, but always inspiring work, Ray Shepard demonstrates the power of narrative nonfiction. Through exhaustive research and first-rate storytelling, he has rediscovered an important, yet forgotten, saga in American history and breathed new life into it. His is a powerful new voice in children’s books.”
Candace Fleming, two-time Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winner

“Ray Shepard’s well-researched and beautifully written Now or Never! addresses complex questions of class, race, and social change. As dedicated soldiers and war correspondents, Stephens and Gooding experienced and documented the Fifty-Fourth’s hard uphill battles both against the Southern Confederates and against Northern White racism. They fought not only to crush slavery but also to ensure the rights, liberties, and freedoms of all Americans. Now or Never! deserves a wide readership.”
John David Smith, Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History, the University of North Carolina