Civil War Book Reviews: The Tattered Glory Series

The Tattered Glory series
by Nancy Dane

1. Where the Road Begins

Product Details

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

2. A Difference of Opinion

Product Details

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

3. A Long Way to Go

Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Tate Publishing (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616635452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616635459

Nancy Dane a native of Arkansas applies her knowledge of the people and the state creating an interesting “history” of the Civil War in Arkansas.  Tattered Glory is the title of a project series of four books that follow an extended family from 1861 through 1865.  The farmers of the Loring family live in the hills well out of town.  They follow their friends and neighbors into the Confederacy.  The Horton family lives in town owns the local newspaper and backs the Union.  Related by marriage, they have little else 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 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 allows the story to become repetitious.  The common incidents presented from a different viewpoint produce different reactions.  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 new skills to protect the family 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 from the bushwhackers’’ stealing.  In both cases, the family is left with 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.

In A Long Way to Go Elijah Loring is home, when the opportunity came, he walked away from the war.  Married and settling into a changed life, he wants to forget the war.  The war is not willing to forget him nor is will it be ignored.  In book three of the Tatter Glory series, Nancy Dane looks at the lives of rural people during the later years of the Civil War.  This is a hard-unadorned look at bushwhackers, guerillas and regular army unites forced to forage on the population.  In addition, politics, personal rivalry, hard times, greed and envy create problems in an area with little or no law.  To say that life is hard and dangerous is an understatement.  Forced back into the Confederate army, Elijah joins a cavalry unit conducting raids behind Union lines.  We see this aspect of the war for the close personal experience it is.  These are real people caught up in the maelstrom of civil war making a great story.

The experiences of the two families complement each other, giving the reader a rich varied look at the times.  This series personalizes the war in the Trans-Mississippi, making the reader a participant not a spectator.  Historically accurate, the series captures the lives of real people in real situations.


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