Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Whirlwind of War by Stephen B. Oates

Front Cover 

I just finished reading one of the best books I have ever read on the Civil War. The Whirlwind of War by Stephen B. Oats is a very readable, intensively researched and documented, masterpiece. Oates employs a unique approach to the book's format--he writes in the first person from the views of leading characters in the Civil War such as Abraham Lincoln, U. S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, even John Wilkes Boothe. This he carries off masterfully with every event  portrayed meticulously documented and backed up by letters, diaries, biographies, and other well respected primary and secondary books and manuscripts. I am considering writing Hiram's Heart, the third book in my Civil War trilogy, using this first person viewpoint style with Hiram Terman, my ancestor as the main character supported by others such as Isaiah, Bushey, Seth, and other characters from Hiram's Honor and Hiram's Hope.  I certainly have a good example to try to emulate in this awesome book.  Michael Shara's novel The Killer Angels was also written in this way as was David Grub's novel The Voices of Glory and Cynthia Bass's novel Sherman's March.  I have read Shara's novel but need to check out the books by Grub and by Bass.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lincoln's Battle With God by Stephen Mansfield

Image result for Lincoln's Battle with God reviews

As part of my research for Hiram's Heart, I have just read Stephen Mansfield's Lincoln's Battle With God.  According to Mansfield, Abraham Lincoln had a journey from an immature believer, to skeptic and non-believer to what Mansfield allows, with some room for mystery, was a mature faith and a belief in Christianity.  In many ways, I think this parallels my Civil War ancestor's journey from a young man brought up in the church, through the horrors of the Civil War and Andersonville, to his return home and struggles with how he could believe in a God who allowed this to happen to him. I enjoyed this well-written, easy to read and engrossing book. I hope it gives me material for writing a third book in the Civil War trilogy of my ancestor's experiences in the Civil War.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hiram's Honor and Hiram's Hope at Marion Library, Marion, Ks

On March 17, 2015 I presented a reading and map of events in Hiram's Honor and Hiram's Hope to a group of about 20 at Marion Library in Marion, Kansas. Questions centered on the life of the common Civil War soldier,Andersonville, Civil War ancestors, and writing-storytelling styles.  Signed and personalized copies of books were provided for donations to the library.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hiram's Heart and the faith of Abraham Lincoln

The stress of the presidency and the Civil War shows on Abraham Lincoln (1858 and 1865). No president quoted the Bible more yet his religious views are complex and controversial.  My ancestor Private Terman, after having survived the Civil War and 17 months a prisoner of war (including Andersonville) also exhibited signs of emotional distress and struggles of faith in his pension file documents. I am working on a third book in my account of Hiram's Civil War experiences tentatively entitled Hiram's Heart: To The Shining Shore.

This book would complete a trilogy--- Hiram's Honor, Hiram's Hope, and Hiram's Heart. Since Abraham Lincoln was a model of faith for many Civil War veterans, I am exploring how Lincoln's and my ancestor's struggles to understand God's purposes in their lives and the Civil War might be part of a post-Civil War novel.

To read about Abraham Lincoln's faith, see Mark Noll's article at:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hiram's Hope at Wichita Civil War Round Table

I recently had the pleasure of addressing the Wichita (Kansas) Civil War Round Table about Hiram's Hope:  The Return of Isaiah.  Much of the discussion centered around Civil War soldiers and how they coped with life after returning home. For many, the war (and prison experiences) remained with them throughout their lives, impacting their abiltiy to work, relationships with friends and family, and all aspects of their daily existence. Several weeks after the meeting, one of the attendees notified me that he had read Hiram's Hope and offerred the following comments:

"When I read a book and find that I cannot put it down, cannot quit thinking about it and finish it in a few days, then I feel that the book is a winner. Hiram's Hope was just such a book for me."
----Duane Graham, Wichita Civil War Round Table

Monday, December 1, 2014