Monday, March 15, 2010

Seen the Glory; a novel of The Battle Of Gettysburg, by John Hough, Jr.

Book 8 of My Old Man's Challenge.

I have no idea how many books in the United States revolve around the Civil War, but it must be in the tens of thousands by now. How many movies? How many t.v. mini-series? I almost didn't want to read this one. Once I read it, I wished I hadn't.

The battle gore I suppose I expected. I even expected to read about soldiers sneaking off to visit prostitutes. I expected to witness one of the two Chandler brothers to die at the battle. I anticipated the ambivalent feelings of other characters about why they were fighting; are they fighting against slavery or against secession, are they fighting for blacks or whites, etc. It wasn't just a difficult war physically, it was a difficult war ideologically.

What I didn't care for, was the seeming preoccupation with sex. Do soldiers think about sex when they aren't fighting? Probably. I didn't need to know about the erotic stories they read around the campfire, I didn't need to know about the nudie ambryotype pictures circulating, and I didn't need to know about the older Chandler boy having an affair with the negro housekeeper before he left for the war. I don't have a problem with a black person and a white person falling in love with each other; I have a problem with a young boy who was half raised by a woman ten years his senior having sexual relations with her out of wedlock.

However one feels about the War Between the States, I think there are better books on the subject. I don't think this one is worth recommending for anyone, teens or adults regardless.

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