Sunday, April 3, 2011
An Eye For Glory: The Civil War Chronicles of a Citizen Soldier by Karl Bacon ~ review
Product Description from Amazon.com:
Michael Palmer is a good man, a family man. But honor and duty push him to leave his comfortable life and answer the call from Abraham Lincoln to fight for his country. This 'citizen soldier' learns quickly that war is more than the battle on the field. Long marches under extreme conditions, illness, and disillusionment challenge at every turn. Faith seems lost in a blur of smoke and blood ... and death. Michael's only desire is to kill as many Confederate soldiers as he can so he can go home. He coldly counts off the rebels that fall to his bullets. Until he is brought up short by a dying man holding up his Bible. It's in the heat of battle at Gettysburg and the solemn aftermath that Michael begins to understand the grave cost of the war upon his soul. Here the journey really begins as he searches for the man he was and the faith he once held so dearly. With the help of his beloved wife, Jesse Ann, he takes the final steps towards redemption and reconciliation. Using first-hand accounts of the 14th Connecticut Infantry, Karl Bacon has crafted a detailed, genuine and compelling novel on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Intensely personal and accurate to the times, culture, and tragedy of the Civil War, An Eye for Glory may change you in ways you could have never imagined as well.
My take on this book:
In this book set during the civil war we see the battle thru the eyes of Michael Palmer, a thirty three year old man who lived a comfortable life in his hometown of Naugatuck Connecticut, with his wife Jessie Anne, and their two children. He felt God was leading him to answer the call by Abraham Lincoln to join the fight. So when he and his best friend John Robinson volunteer to fight, John asks him if he will be able to kill the enemy Michael is unsure, but when they find themselves in the midst of battle they do what they are trained to do. Michael soon finds himself looking at the enemy as demons of sorts, that must be killed in order for the war to end so that he can get back home to his family, but during a particularly bloody battle at Gettysburg where Michael is keeping "score" of how many of the enemy he has killed, one of the men he has shot holds up a Bible and asks him read scripture while he passes away, Michael realizes that the enemy are actually his christian brothers that are fighting for a cause just like he is. He becomes disillusioned, losing his faith that God could ever be with him because he is taking the lives of so many. Even though the war comes to an end, it doesn't end for Michael, not until he reveals to Jessie Ann what has been haunting him. She tells him the only way he will find peace is to find the widow and return the Bible that he has kept with him all those years.
It was hard to believe while reading this story that this is Mr. Bacon's first book! I read alot of historical fiction, and stories set during the Civil War are my favorite to read, but in reading "An Eye For Glory" I had to keep reminding myself that the book was actually a work of fiction. As we watch Michael change throughout the story, it was easy to feel the pain of loss that he felt, but more than that the turmoil he felt within himself for what he had to do. Jessie Ann was also a very strong character, whose depth of compassion and understanding new no limits.
It is easy to see that Mr. Bacon really did his research, with richly detailed descriptions of the battles, and the everyday drudgery of a soldiers life. He easily weaves in the element of suspense, as the reader knows that Michael might not make it thru the next battle. I highly recommend this book, and can't wait to read more from this talented author!
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.