Ahh, I’ve been looking for this book for years! I went to a local book shop, and the guy there found it for super cheap and offered to get it shipped for a small fee! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so without further ado, let’s hop in!
By Ruth Painter Randall
Overall: I LOVE THIS BOOK! Okay, I’ve always been a huge Jefferson Davis family fan, but I’ve never read a book solely about them. This was the perfect book to start with. My mom read this years ago and told me about it, and I’ve been looking for it ever since. The story follows Varina, but it’s impossible to talk about her without paying homage to her amazing husband and her adorable children.
What I Loved: Getting to know my president and his wife on a more personal level. Seeing their heart for their people and their conservative values. It was a fantastic story. And of course little Jim Limber! Oh, I wish we knew what happened to him…
Cons: Multiple references to the Lincolns in an annoyingly positive light. The author acts as if they were a god and goddess and knowing what I do about the Lincolns, I found her comments offensive and her comparisons of the Lincolns and Davis’ to be extremely rude. Their values were very different, and I don’t think the couples would have appreciated being compared to each other. They had some similar unfortunate situations happen to them (losing children), but that doesn’t justify the author’s assertions that they were following the same track in life.
Hope you enjoyed this review! Have a Blessed Week!
I enjoy a good non-fiction read! Today’s is a fun one that I borrowed from the library. It encompasses my favorite time period, the War Between the States!
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War
H.W. Croker 111
(Not sure Why the Cover is different than the book I borrowed...)
This one would have been a five star for me, but because of some language used in the quotes and occasionally in the text, I dropped my rating a little bit.
Overall: This book is a wealth of information on the American War Between the States. It gives semi-in-depth biographies of important generals, north and south. It also takes you through the war, noting important battles, little known facts and what would have happened if the South had won!!!
What I Loved: This book didn’t read like a text book. It was far more interesting. My Favorite parts were about Stonewall Jackson, Gen. McClellan, Nathan B. Forrest, and A.P. Hill. Really neat side-notes; hardcore southern reading. Many good quotes and interesting information. I loved how they didn’t avoid or justify the topic of slavery, while pointing it out as a national sin and how it really had no pull on the southerners as a reason to fight.
Two particular bad words stick out in my mind that were used about half a dozen times. If this had been my book, I would have blotted them out. Another thing that I found personally irritating was the length of the chapters. I prefer short chapters, and these were usually between 20-28 pages long.
Recommended for ages 16 and up for understanding.
Have a Blessed Week!
Summer is here officially and one of my favorite holidays is just around the corner! I love fireworks! July is a busy month at the Miller house thanks to all the special events we have lined up for our ministry, The Fundamental Broadcasting Network. But I wouldn’t trade any of it! Ministry life is the best!
My June Favorites…
Verse: Rather than a specific verse, the book of Habakkuk really stood out to me. I noticed in the beginning as Habakkuk was describing the state of Israel and how bad they were, that a lot of the things he was praying about were problems America has today. I was eager to read, to know what God would do to bring His children back to Him. I was devastated to realize that this was one of those times God chose to allow His people to go into captivity.
Are we better than Israel? What is to keep God from allowing the same thing to happen to America? It’s amazing to see through history how God often uses the worst circumstances to bring the most people to their realization and acceptance of Salvation. Like Jacob DeShazer, a WWII airman who was captured following the Doolittle Raid. He was kept in solitary confinement in horrible conditions and tortured for the majority of his 40-month imprisonment. And yet during that time, God saved him and called him into the ministry. I certainly don’t want to see anything horrible happen to my country, but what a comfort to know that if it were to come to pass, the Gospel would only take off like wildfire through our nation.
Book of the Month: It’s going to be a tie between two biographies. Unbroken and I Varina were both great reads. I had a few issues with both, but for the most part, both were amazing tributes to brave Americans who survived horrible, unmerited trials and came out better for having gone through them.
Ministry: FBN is continuing to reach the world with the Gospel! We’ve had a listener in the Vatican, have been able to present the ministry to several churches this past month and we helped celebrate 20 years of FBN in Oakland, Maryland! God is so good!
A few months ago, I requested prayer for the nation of North Korea, who have not been reached with FBN. And while I would continue to pray that FBN be heard there one day, please pray for the underground Christians in the country now who undergo persecution on a daily basis. FBN has never saved anyone; it’s the Gospel Jesus Christ preached on FBN that does that. Pray for those in the country as they labor in secret for the Master. Pray for their protection, faithfulness and strength as they Shine the Light of Christ into their dying nation!
Writing Update: A Song of Home is progressing through the team edit! Already, mom and I have found several things to make the story better and added a fun scene with a particular character deciding to volunteer at a hospital! No details on that, though 😉 Prayers are appreciated as we continue to work. Summer is a busy time for us, in our home life and ministry wise, so meeting together for edits gets harder.
A Book I am Anticipating for July: Jefferson Davis, American by William J. Cooper, Jr. I started this book last year, but it’s thick and small print. I’d like to read a few more chapters of it this month. The writing is very good, just a lot to process! Definitely not a quick read!
A now for your story prompts!
Until Next Time,
Hello and welcome back for my newest book related post. But …I’m cheating. 😉 I have only one actual research book to share today. But don’t despair! I’m going to include a few fiction titles to this list to round out the end of this series (for now anyway 😉). So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!
1. Manhunt: The Twelve Day Hunt for Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson (Don’t currently have my book with me, it’s being loaned out, it’s that good!)
This book! It’s so good! Okay, so that sounds terrible, seeing as how this is about someone dying… Anyway, this is the best book I’ve read about the Lincoln assassination. It’s non-fiction written like a novel! (I think you call that narrative non-fiction…?) Anyway, Mr. Swanson spins an excellent narrative. At times there are bits of history that we just don’t know what happened. I think there were (I think) three days of the Manhunt when we don’t know what John Wilkes Booth was up to. What did Mr. Swanson do? He used it as a springboard for some background story on the Booth family! It was brilliant! Because of some of the details, I would recommend either editing it first or waiting until the reader is at least 16, depending on their maturity level. It’s very well researched! I’ve read it…3 times? And I’m going to be reading it again when I get it back, to refresh myself for the writing of my 5th book on the War Between the States! (Title is still under wraps!)
2. Iron Scouts of the Confederacy by Lee McGiffin
Okay…I did a whole post on this book, so I won’t reiterate here, but people! You need to read this book! It too is Narrative non-fiction, but not really a research book. It’s about Wade Hampton’s elite Cavalry unit and I just adore this book. This is another one I’ve read two or three times and hope to read again soon! Recommended for all ages!
3. Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Okay, so this one will need editing. But, it is worth it. It’s language, not content. But this book I learned a lot from. It shows the struggle of duty and fear for a young soldier and how he overcomes what he feels is cowardice. I personally just wanted to tell him everything would be okay and your not a coward, you’re just young and scared. Even though he didn’t subscribe to my personal view of the War Between the States, Henry taught me a lot. It made me understand some of my own characters a little better.
4. Iron Thunder by Avi
This was my very first Avi book! It was written in First Person Point of View (POV) so that was so neat. The main character is Tom Carroll and his service aboard the USS Monitor. (There actually was a Tom Carroll aboard, but they make it clear, this is a different person ) While some of the talk about the south was offensive to me, I found it very intriguing to learn about the Iron Clads of the War Between the States. I would love to find a book like this about the CSS Virginia (which this book calls the Merrimac, which drives me nuts!) It was very informative and worth reading. Minimal editing needed, recommended for ages 8 and up!
So that pretty much wraps this series up for now! If I read anymore for my The Battle for Heritage Series research, I will let you know!
Hello everyone! A few months ago, I did a post called Fact or Fiction//Which is More Important? Today, I want to turn this into an official Writing Series called Fact or Fiction? It will cover writing myths and history myths. Today, I’m going to tackle five common misconceptions about The War Between the States that I see popping up in most fiction books on the topic. Hope you enjoy!
Myth #1: All Southerners owned slaves/supported slavery.
This is not true and it makes me want to laugh every time I see this pop up. While a book may not come right out and say this, it’s insinuated in popular fiction that all Southerners own slavery. My ancestors are proof this is untrue. In fact, studies show that only about 25% of the Southern population in 1860 owned slaves. (For more statistics on this study, read The South Was Right! and Lincoln Unmasked)
And all southerners did not support slavery, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are prime examples of Southerners who hated the institution. And I’d also like to point out that the Underground Railroad couldn’t have existed without Southern abolitionists. Let’s say you are helping a slave form Florida escape to Canada. You cannot magically jump over the slave holding states (which included Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Ohio, to name a few). You must come through several of these states to get to Canada. You must have food and shelter to make a trip (on foot or hiding in a wagon), and it’s dangerous. There is no way they could have gotten to Canada without help. North Carolina was one of the most active states in the Underground Railroad. So it is ludicrous to assume all southerners were at least supportive of slavery.
Myth #2: Southern soldiers, on average, could not read.
While both the Union and Confederate States had a large population of illiterate people, it’s silly to write a story where none of the Confederates know how to read. It’s insulting. If I’m not mistaken, The South Was Right! covers this claim as well. I read one study that showed that most Southern soldiers could read to some extent. Christ in the Camp makes this fact clear in the large amounts of tracts, pamphlets, books and Bibles they gave to eager southern soldiers. So, while it’s fine to have a grown soldier here and there who can’t read, or one who can’t read well, it’s way over used. Drummers are another matter, as there were a lot of street kids or orphans who had never been to school filling those spots.
Myth #3: The South fought to preserve slavery.
I am fighting not to roll my eyes at this one. It is in almost every book you read about the War Between the States and it is the biggest fallacy of them all. I’ll give you the nut shell of why the South fought, but if you want to read more on this topic, see these posts (Here, here, here and here.) The south would not have fought to preserve slavery. That would have been ridiculous. No woman in her right mind would send her man to war just so she could force another person to work for her. (Okay, so the women didn't literally send their men off to war, but you know what I mean, lol!) That’s insane. The reason the South fought the War Between the States is because their states’ rights were being taken away from them. The government passed taxes that hurt the south to aide the north. I’m not being biased, I’m stating facts. The government had enlarged it’s self past it’s Constitutional boundaries and had made it quite clear that it didn’t care who they had to step on to grab more power…sound familiar? Seems like there was a man named Kind George III who had that same ambition. I don’t care what side you take on the war in your novel. But I do care if it’s historically inaccurate. Even if you choose to ignore these facts, don’t have your southern antagonist citing slavery as his reason to fight. Read what the southern soldiers said they were fighting for. Slavery will not be one of their reasons.
Myth #4: The Emancipation Proclamation freed the Slaves.
Another common misconception, and it mostly stems from the fact that most people have never actually read the proclamation. I strongly encourage you to read it and not just take someone else’s word for it, no matter what angle they take on it, myself included. But basically, the EP was written to keep England and France, who had already outlawed slavery in their countries, from aiding the Confederacy and recognizing us as a nation. In the latter end, they succeeded, but the British and French did help us monetarily and materially, though not to the capacity they would have if not for the EP. The EP states that all slaves held in the seceded states are free, except those who lived in Union held territory. The hypocrisy here is that those are the only slaves he had the power to free, since they were in territory he had conquered. So where is their right to freedom from the “Champion of Abolition?” The shocking truth is that he didn’t care about the ones he could actually help; he just wanted to look good to Europe. He had no jurisdiction over the seceded states as a whole, since they were a separate country, so his proclamation did absolutely nothing. Also, he said, if the states would rejoin the Union by January 1st of 1863, they could keep their slaves. If the war was over slavery, every single state would have jumped at the chance to be back in their beloved former country. But not one took him up on the offer, proving not only that the South was not fighting to keep their slaves, but also that the Union was not fighting to free them.
Myth #5: All the Southern women wore hoop skirts.
I had to slip a fun one in here! 😉 So, yeah, this one’s not true either! Hoop skirts were very impractical for daily life in the south. They are bulky and let’s be honest, you can’t tend your garden like that, lol! The majority of southern woman were middle class and did the cooking, cleaning, gardening and often times helped in the fields as well. If she owned a hoop skirt, she would have worn it to church, weddings and socials. If I had lived during this time, I probably wouldn’t have even owned one. In my books, my main girl character Dixie is from a middle-class cotton plantation family. And she doesn’t own a hoop skirt. Why? Because she lives in the country. There is no where for her to wear one too. In fact, when up in Philadelphia for Christmas, she must borrow one from her cousins for a social. This wasn’t uncommon. Not everyone lived in Raleigh, Richmond and Atlanta. That’s what most people think of when they imagine life in the Antebellum South. Sorry to burst your bubble on that one, lol!
So that’s it for this first post on Fact or Fiction! I hope you enjoyed it!
Have a blessed day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.