Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Confederate Memoir of the Civil War

Early in May 1861, twenty-one-year-old Sam R. Watkins of Columbia, Tennessee, joined the First Tennessee Regiment, Company H, to fight for the Confederacy. Of the 120 original recruits in his company, Watkins was one of only seven to survive every one of its battles, from Shiloh to Nashville. Twenty years later, with a "house full of young 'rebels' clustering around my knees and bumping about my elbows," he wrote this remarkable account of "Co. Aytch" -- its common foot soldiers, its commanders, its Yankee enemies, its victories and defeats, and its ultimate surrender on April 26, 1865.

Co. Aytch is the work of a natural storyteller who balances the horror of war with an irrepressible sense of humor and a sharp eye for the lighter side of battle. Among Civil War memoirs, it is considered a classic -- a living testament to one man's enduring humanity, courage, and wisdom in the midst of death and destruction.

On April 25th from noon to 3PM From My Shelf Books & Gifts will be hosting a duel author event with William P. Robertson and Jeffrey Stayton. William P. Robertson is the author of the Bucktail series and Jeffrey Stayton is the author of the recently published This Side of the River.

This Side of the River tells the story of a group of young, angry Confederate widows who band together at the end of the Civil War, take up arms, and march north to Ohio to burn down the home of General William Tecumsah Sherman.

It draws from the rich tradition of William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and Charles Baxter's The Feast of Love as it interweaves themes of gender, revenge, and redemption. It's a masterfully-written debut from a bold new literary voice.

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