Preview: A Package from Ten Roads Publishing

3 03 2012

A recent trip to Gettysburg garnered me a couple of books from Ten Roads Publishing courtesy of co-owner Jim Glessner. Both were penned by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide John Archer.

Ten Roads has reprinted and updated Archer’s 2002 guidebook Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg: “The Mountains Trembled…” The updates are primarily new photos and maps where necessary to show the ground as it is today – there has been a lot of tree clearing on Culp’s Hill. Also, the perspectives of some photos have been changed. So, even if you have a copy of the 2002 edition, if you’re headed out to the field you may want to pick up this updated version to further enhance the experience.

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The second book (and don’t get too used to seeing novel previews here) is Archer’s After the Rain: A Novel of War and Coming Home. It’s the story of Captain Daniel Spencer, a Pennsylvania Yankee soldier who, having served through Fredericksburg, and damaged physically and mentally, returns to his mountainside home near Gettysburg. Trouble follows, not just in his difficulties readjusting to civilian and family life, bt also in the form of an invading Rebel army. In the wake of the battle there, Daniel sets off to look for his missing sister-in-law in Gettysburg, where he’s forced to face the demons of his past in several forms. Jim told me that Archer’s book was on the shortlist for the 2011 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. Considering the four other titles on that list were published by Knopf, Viking, HarperCollins, and Random House, I think both Mr. Archer and Ten Roads should be justifiably proud of the Director’s Mention placing of After the Rain.





Novels, We Get Novels!

13 04 2011

I received a couple of Civil War novels in the mail recently. Both were written by descendants of Civil War soldiers, and both relied on their ancestors’ writings to varying extents in producing their works of historical fiction.

The Spur and the Sash is a story of author Robert Grede’s great-great-grandfather George Van Norman, a Union soldier who, while recuperating from a wound received at Nashville, falls in love with the daughter of a plantation owner. As he courts her, he also has to deal with the changing structure of Southern society in the wake of the ending of the war: carpetbaggers, former slaves, deserters, and low-lifes.

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Husband and wife team David Stinebeck and Scannell Gill have written a fictionalized account of George Thomas in A Civil General. It’s told through the eyes of a colonel who became a close friend of the General, and draws on the writings of Stinebeck’s own great-grandfather, who served under Thomas.





Preview: Dick Stanley, “Knoxville 1863″

1 06 2010

Dick Stanley of Austin, TX sent me a copy of his new book, Knoxville 1863, a novel about, well, Knoxville in 1863.  (For you folks who have wholeheartedly entered the 21st century, this is also available as an ebook.)  I’ve only skimmed the book, but this fictional account of the seige of Knoxville and the battle at Ft. Sanders seems to focus primarily on the 79th NY (the Highlanders) and Barksdale’s Mississippi brigade.  Stanley’s narrator is a Knoxville resident, the widow of a Confederate officer, through whose eyes and recollections the reader is brought up to speed on the war and Tennessee up to the point of the Confederate encirclement of the city and beyond.  From the back cover:

Gettysburg held.  Vicksburg has fallen.  Now rebel flags ring Knoxville in East Tennessee.  Longstreet means to wrench this railroad hub away from the occupying Union army.

To do it his ragged and starving men, veterans of Gettysburg such as Barksdale’s Mississippi Brigade, must climb the icy, clay walls of Fort Sanders.

Inside are the New York Cameron Highlanders who are on half-rations and have never won a battle.  Yet they have special faith in the young lieutenant who leads them.

In Washington President Lincoln waits for news.  He sees the struggle as one more key to preserving the Union, freeing the slaves, and victory in the Civil War.

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