Sunday, October 7, 2012

Gideon’s Call-Peter Leavell

Gideon’s Call

Peter Leavell

Worthy Publishing, Oct 23 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781617951176

On a South Carolina barrier island, white Collin persuades his black friend Tad they can get away with stealing a pie though the latter being a slave is fearful of being caught thieving. When Spencer the watch catches them, Collin betrays Tad. The slave is whipped severely, has his cherished necklace ripped from his neck, and salt water thrown on his open cuts. Everything changes when the Northern army arrives forcing the plantation owners to flee and liberating thousands of slaves in a few hours. However, the freedmen own nothing except a dismal future. Tad trusts no one, which northern whites affirm by their readiness to use the new freemen for their causes while offering nothing except platitudes in return. Over the objection of his beloved Peg, he joins the 54th Massachusetts at Fort Wagner while hoping that one day he leads his people to the Promised Land that President Lincoln proclaimed.

This is a powerful coming of age Civil War era thriller that uses real events and people to paint a grim yet hopeful picture of the aftermath of slavery on the de jure south and the de facto north. Historical figures like Lincoln, Pierce and Johnson add depth to this strong realistic epic overcoming the Forest Gump syndrome. This is Tad’s tale as he faces his fears and overcomes his experienced-based distrust to mature into a leader.

Harriet Klausner

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