Review: Where the Road Begins and A Difference of Opinion

by James Durney on May 18, 2009 · 0 comments

wheretheroadbeginsnancydaneWhere the Road Begins

by Nancy Dane

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tate Publishing & Enterprises (December 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159886677X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598866773

adifferenceofopinionnancydaneA Difference of Opinion

by Nancy Dane

Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Tate Publishing (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606969587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606969588

Nancy Dane a native of Arkansas has applied her knowledge of the people and the state into an interesting “history” of the Civil War in that area.  Tattered Glory is the title of a project series of four books that follow an extended family from 1861 through 1865.  The farmers of Loring family, the subject of “Where the Road Begins” live in the hills well out of town.  They follow their friends and neighbors into the Confederacy.  The Horton family the subject of “A Difference of Opinion” lives in town publishes the local newspaper and backs the Union.  Related by marriage, they have little in common existing in an uneasy unspoken truce.  This division allows the author to explore the experiences of a rural family supporting the Confederacy and a Unionist family living close to town.  Each book is independent of the other.  Each book is the first book about the family’s experiences from 1861 to 1863.  Each book has the story line presented from a different viewpoint, producing a different reading experience.  While the reader will know something is going to happen, the author never becomes repetitious.  The common incidents are presented from a different viewpoint and produce a different reaction.  This is not a story twice told!  The families have very different experiences and see very different places.

Elijah Loring is “conscripted” into the Confederate army after his soldier father left him to care for the farm, his mother and sister.  “Where the Road Begins” follows Elijah as he grows from a farm boy into a veteran of Pea Ridge and Prairie Grove.  When his regiment gets close to home, Elijah takes “French Leave”, returns home and uses his skills to protect the farm from bushwhackers.  The battle accounts are well written and consistent with a private’s view.  The descriptions of life on a farm are well done.  The author captures the unending work and worry to see that enough is laid up for winter.  The requisitions by the army seems little different that the stealing from the bushwhackers.  In both cases, the family has little food and less chances of getting more.  This book ends with Vicksburg taken, Pa either dead or captured and winter coming on.

“A Difference of Opinion” follows Nelda Horton tabulating the problems Unionist face in the CSA.  Her Father, a one-armed veteran of the War with Mexico, is imprisoned.  Friends no longer make eye contact much less speak.  The Unionist Horton’s are slave owners.  Through them, we enter the world of slaves and the United States Colored Troops.  This book takes us into a hospital behind CSA lines at the Battle of Helena where Nelda is trapped after warning the Union army of an impending attack.  Their slave’s husband is fighting with the USCT as the two women work to save the men he is trying to kill.  This book is more political than the first volume, dealing with richer and better-connected families.

Taken together, the two books provide us with a comprehensive picture of Arkansas from 1861 to 1863.  The experiences of the two families complement each other, giving the reader a rich varied look at the times.  The history is solid; this is a good story and well worth reading.

Editor’s Note: Jim is a Top 500 Amazon.com reviewer.

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