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Archive for the 'Civil War' Category

Journey to the Wilderness by Frye Gaillard a beautiful “meditation” on how Civil War is remembered

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 by Lisa Harrison

Journey to the Wilderness by Frye Gaillard

Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and a Southern Family’s Civil War Letters, by award-winning author Frye Gaillard and newly published by NewSouth Books, has garnered strong early reviews. Readers praise the elegance of Gaillard’s prose and the insight of his commentary on a very personal topic: his ancestors’ Civil War experiences and his own changing view of the war from his typical Southern upbringing through his adult reflections on its effects and meaning.

Writing for the Tuscaloosa News, Don Noble notes that Gaillard “is now recognized as one of Alabama’s most prolific and most important non- fiction writers with books on Southern literature, civil rights, NASCAR, country music, Jimmy Carter and, generally, all things Southern.” Of Journey to the Wilderness, Noble says Gaillard “structures his own meditation on the past in a candid, informed, beautifully written commentary on a series of excerpts from a collection of Gaillard family Civil War letters.”

Historian Mike Bunn, who blogs at The Historian’s Manifesto, says, “Frye Gaillard features a carefully-selected and edited batch of correspondence that, combined with his own commentary, offers a sweeping look at how the Civil War was anticipated, endured, and remembered by the people who lived through and helped shape our collective memory of the conflict. Journey to the Wilderness is a provocative book.”

The Charlotte Observer declares, “Frye Gaillard has done a great service by publishing these heartbreaking letters from three men who recorded their thoughts on the battlefield and the many relatives who waited at home, sometimes in vain. He has helped us accept the fact that pain — both physical and mental — far exceeded the so-called glory of that horrible war.”

The Montgomery Advertiser calls Gaillard “a thoughtful writer” and notes, “It is very hard to stop reading this book. His insightful commentary and the letters he includes let readers see the emotional conflicts the war brought and left in its wake. In Journey to the Wilderness, Gaillard [finds] no magic wand to resolve the war’s legacy, but he does enable the reader to understand it better.”

Critics agree that Journey to the Wilderness is one of the best reads yet from one of the South’s most important writers.

Journey to the Wilderness is available from NewSouth Books or your favorite bookstore.

Skip Tucker talks Pale Blue Light with Publishers Weekly, Shelf Awareness

Friday, May 10th, 2013 by Brian Seidman

Author Skip Tucker missed meeting General Stonewall Jackson by 150 years, but while traveling to promote his novel Pale Blue Light, Tucker might’ve encountered the next best thing. While talking about his book at the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Chanellorsville in Virginia, Tucker took the time to pose with a Jackson impersonator, as well as a host of men and women in period dress there to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the battle.

Skip Tucker and Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville

Skip Tucker and Stonewall Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

That event, at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, was just one leg of Tucker’s 1,500-mile journey that included stops in the Shenandoah Valley, Atlanta, and New Orleans. At each stop Tucker has been sharing with readers his unique Civil War spy thriller Pale Blue Light, in which Tucker suggests Stonewall Jackson’s death by friendly fire might not have been as clear-cut as it seemed.

Book industry journals Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness each took notice of Tucker’s trip and spoke with NewSouth publisher Suzanne La Rosa about the book.

Pale Blue Light is “not simply straightforward literary fiction,” La Rosa told Shelf Awareness. “There’s a lot of history [represented in the book], and it’s full of Civil War details, but the jumping off point is a big ‘what-if’ question. Tucker weaves a very believable, even sexy story about the possibility that Jackson maybe did not die by friendly fire.”

Skip Tucker with interested readers at a Pale Blue Light event at the Battle of Chancellorsville

Skip Tucker with interested readers at a Pale Blue Light event
at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Tucker really tried to get in the spirit of his rugged adventure, “rough-camping” along his journey from his home in Alabama to Virginia and back, along with “Jack and Jim” — his dog jack and a bottle of Jim Beam. Tucker told Publishers Weekly that “one of the reasons for my lengthy mountain trip is to visit the areas in which Stonewall Jackson trod and fought, looking for tidbits” for his planned follow-up to Pale Blue Light. “There will certainly be flashbacks in the sequel.”

Read the Publishers Weekly and Shelf Awareness articles at their websites.

Skip Tucker’s Pale Blue Light is newly available in paperback and also as an ebook from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite bookstore.

Author Skip Tucker to make 1,500-mile road trip to promote paper edition of Civil War novel Pale Blue Light

Monday, April 22nd, 2013 by Lisa Harrison

Pale Blue Light by Skip TuckerAlabama author Skip Tucker leaves shortly on a 1,500-mile drive to promote the national paperback release of his historical adventure novel, Pale Blue Light, at the annual re-enactment of the Civil War’s Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., May 3-5. The trip is timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the death of Stonewall Jackson and the historic battle. Some 30,000 people are expected to attend the commemorative events.

Tucker will hold an 11 am news conference on May 4 at the Spotsylvania County Museum at the Chancellorsville Battlefield to announce the book release.

Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, a central figure in Tucker’s novel, was wounded at the May 2 battle and died of pneumonia May 10. “Pale Blue Light” is a lesser known nickname for Jackson, whose pale blue eyes would seem to shine with light from adrenaline before a battle.

Tucker says Jackson is a particular hero of his.

Pale Blue Light is not a work of history, but historical fiction, and I intended it to bring people a living, breathing Jackson,” the author said. “It’s actually a spy thriller, and it questions whether Jackson was wounded by friendly fire or whether there might’ve been something more sinister in play.”

Strong sales of the first edition hardcover, including several sell-out Costco events — which the author helped promote superbly via Facebook and in the print media — encouraged NewSouth Books in the release of the book in trade paper.

First reviews have been positive, too, including from the Associated Press and this one from the Massachusetts Patriot Ledger:

“If anyone could write a murder mystery into the Civil War, complete with a sexy spy worthy of a James Bond novel, Skip Tucker is the one. His story has more plot twists than a Smoky Mountains road has curves, and he not only makes the legendary general Stonewall Jackson a living, breathing man, he poses a provocative ‘what if?’ about the circumstances of Jackson’s death from battlefield wounds.”

Chancellorsville will be the first major stop on Skip Tucker’s national roll-out tour that will include stops in the Shendandoah Valley, where “Stonewall Jackson is a superstar,” Atlanta (at the Georgia History Museum), and New Orleans (at the Confederate Memorial Hall Museum).

“This is really an exciting time for me,” said Tucker. “I intend to rough-camp along the way and follow the trail, sometimes, that Jackson took in his historic campaign through the Shenandoah Valley.

“I’ve read just about everything I could find about Stonewall. I feel I know him. He’s a hero for all ages and all seasons.”

Read the press release for Pale Blue Light.

For more information about Pale Blue Light, Skip Tucker, or his book tour, contact Lisa Harrison at NewSouth Books, 334-834-3556.

Pale Blue Light is available in paperback and ebook from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or from your favorite bookstore.