Coming Soon my New Book
Memories and Echoes: A Brits Journey into the American Civil War.
For over thirty years my wife Margaret and I have been travelling to the USA. During that time we explored the background of the Civil War visiting all the major sites and many of the smaller ones as well.
My interest was kindled long before that when my Aunt bought me a set of Britains American Civil War toy soldiers I must have been about ten. I still have some. Four infantry men and a cannon, there they were resplendent in their boxes. I was given the choice blue or grey, at the time I had no idea what the colours meant. The grey uniforms looked better to me so that’s what I chose. On the box were written strange names I could hardly pronounce like Chancellorsville and Chickamauga, even Gettysburg seemed strange and foreign. So began a lifelong interest in the war that Walt Whitman called ‘strange and sad.’
My first book and the first one on the Civil War A Crack in Time was published in 2004. Memories and Echoes is largely an update and large expansion of that book being almost twice as long.
Looking back, our last visit was in 2018, a cruise on the Mississippi River on the American Queen, it still seems an often strange and at times amusing odyssey largely across the Southern States, a journey of many thousands of miles. Why the Southern States? Well that is easy to answer, most of the war with a few notable exceptions was fought there and the great questions of the war Slavery and States Rights, were about the South.
In Memories and Echoes there are several fellow British travellers which we follow in the footsteps of, Colonels Henry Fletcher and Arthur Fremantle who observed the war firsthand 1862-1863. And writers Charles Dickens and William Makepeace Thackeray who visited the country prior to and immediately after the war among many others.
The Civil War more than any other event shaped the nation and continues to do so in the decades of our visiting, the perception of the war seems to have changed with each succeeding generation. Yet none seem to have come up with a true definition. This is another question that looms large in the book.
Memories and Echoes should be on sale by September.