Books I’ve Known And Loved

Are you a rule breaker? I wonder why we like to think of ourselves that way. Don’t know, but The 1865 Customs of Service for Officers and The Customs of Service for Non-commisioned Officers and Soldiers are two extremely fun books about rules and regulations. Seems sort of dull, right? Nope, not at all. Augie,…

“Courage mattered. Loyalty mattered. Honor mattered. Personal Pride mattered. Soldiers, and their culture, defined these as masculine values. The Gilded Age substituted gain for cause and friends for comrades.” Richard White

Charles Francis Adams, despite being considered an authority on the management of railroads couldn’t keep the Union Pacific stable as its president. One of the reasons, according to Richard White in Railroaded,  was the boys–the young men too young to have fought in the war seemed “weak, unruly, willful and hard to control.” On July…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

If you imagine, based on your high school American history class, that reconstruction was a bore-fest, think again. John William De Forest brings the reader on a trip to Greenville, South Carolina and introduces us to the colorful characters (black and white) he dealt with as an agent of the Freedman’s Bureau. There’s no whitewashing,…

Books I’ve Known And Loved

This is one of my all time favorites. Good old John Billings. Don’t you just love a soldier who gives you the inside dirt with some wit and great illustrations? I do. John enlisted in The Army of the Potomac, but don’t let that remind you of the boring history teacher with coffee breath and…

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition . . .

And the mashed potatoes with gravy, please. Dear Parents, Don’t let the picture fool you. Outdoor feasts are not quite what they’re cracked up to be, but it’s better than fighting. Happy Thanksgiving. Your loving son, Charles Foster   illustration courtesy Time Life Books

I Want To Be A Soldier. I Hate War. Books I’ve Known And Loved

What is the allure of war? If there is no such thing as progress then war is just a morality play wrapped in different uniforms. If morality is relative then not only have we killed the gods but also heroism. Without heroism there is no nobility and war is just a series of species eliminating…

McLovin’ 1864

Okay, I’ll admit it, after only a few days of post Valentine’s Day optimism, I need to remind myself that all of that uninhibited flirtation and carousing during the Civil War did come at a cost. I was as shocked as my character Katherine when her brother confessed that during the war he’d contracted gonorrhea…