Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Club Wichita, Kansas

I attended the Chautauqua Book Club in Wichita, Kansas who had chosen Hiram's Honor as their Book Club selection for the month.  The discussion quickly focused on the characters in Hiram's Honor  (Hiram, Seth, and Isaiah) and why did I give them the personality traits that I did in this true but dramatized story.  Much of this came from the Civil War letters and the issues that were mentioned and the men as they described themselves.  Other traits came from my perspective as a descendent of the main character in the story.  We also discussed the concept of "honor" and what it meant as Hiram and his friends endured marches, battles, camp life, and most importantly the horrors of prisons like Andersonville.  Honor here became a matter of keeping one's humanity amidst the storm of survival.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Battles and Turning Points of the Civil War

I gave a presentation on the major turning points in the Civil War at Butler Community College in Marion, Kansas.  In my research I found that the Union victory at Fort Donelson is considered by many to be the earliest battle that turned the war in favor of the North.  Since Hiram's Honor takes such a wide swath through the Civil War, I was able to make many of the major battles more personal by telling where my ancestor was in these pivotal engagements.