Five Forks tells the story of
small but crucial battle from the point of view of a contemporary American, a
battle that occurred on April Fool’s Day, 1965. In telling this story, Robert
Alexander, a writer and former school teacher with a PhD in English from the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, makes generous use of primary sources,
magazine articles, letters, and autobiographies, to give a flavor of the times.
He juxtaposes the story of the battle, which he tells through narrative,
letters, and journal entries, with his own impressions, viewing the South
through Northern eyes. Through
use of the semi-autobiographical narrator, the story
gains immediacy and personal detail. He, a northerner, is doing research on the
battle, while at the same time visiting his fiancée, a southerner who lives in
interweaves the stories of commanding generals and the common soldier to tell
how the two armies got to
In addition, he views
contemporary American society through the story of
Alexander is not a
historian, and this is much more a literary work than a battle story. However,
the immediacy with which Alexander tells his tale leads the reader to experience
Five Forks – the land, the smells, the cries – as if present there in 1865.
Thus, he does not just describe a battle; he captures the spirit of all battles,
Five Forks, lucid and thought provoking, has appeal
for the general reader as well as the Civil War aficionado; it belongs in your
Civil War collection.
A Southern Soldier's Letters Home: The Civil War Letters of
Samuel Burney, Army of Northern Virginia by Nat Turner (Mercer) Samuel A.
Burney, born in April 1840, was the son of Thomas Jefferson Burney and Julia
Shields Burney. He graduated from
After the war Burney returned to Mercer’s school of theology, served as pastor of several churches in
These letters of a college graduate in the 1800s, a soldier in the civil war, written to his wife – Sarah Elizabeth Shepherd – are lyrical and beautifully written. Burney describes battles, camp life, theology, and the day-to-day dreariness of life in the army. A Southern Soldier's Letters Home is an astounding collection of letters for anyone interested in the Civil War or the South.
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