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(Note: I have lowered the price of both books to $0.99 in hopes of reaching a wider readership. That is also true for the Kindle version at Amazon where Knoxville 1863 includes a map and a linked table of contents. The plain-Jane Smashwords version has neither.)
I've been writing fiction, poetry and journalism since third grade. I'm a retired, award-winning daily newspaper staff writer in Austin, TX. I have a BA in English from the University of Maryland and did postgraduate work in Journalism at Marshall University in West Virginia.
Born in Sumter, South Carolina, I grew up throughout the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. I'm a former Army captain and an infantry combat veteran of the Vietnam war. My book "Leaving the Alamo, Texas Stories After Vietnam" is based on my own experiences and those of a few close friends, augmented by my imagination and used fictitiously.
My "Knoxville 1863" grew out of my lifelong interest in the Civil War. The novel is as much history as fiction---it is drawn from the few histories and the available memoirs, letters and diaries of the survivors of one of the war's least-known battles---the Confederate attack on Union-held Fort Sanders. The book is dedicated to my great grandfather, a private in the Thirteenth Mississippi Infantry Regiment, who survived the battle.
Jim Chambers, reviewer for Red Adept Reviews, concluded: "I've long considered Michael and Jeff Shaara's Civil War trilogy to be one of the benchmarks for Civil War historical fiction. Knoxville 1863 came very close to that mark."
Claude Cooper, a former professor of military science at Appalachian State University, had this to say about the novel at Amazon: "Other writers and historians have touched on this battle, but I'm not aware of any who have addressed it in this depth. For that reason, and because it is well written, I believe that this is an important novel that will be appreciated by civil war buffs and enjoyed by anyone."
Jim Miller, whose "Civil War Notebook" is a popular site with war buffs, concluded: "Mr. Stanley has certainly done his homework; his novel rests on a solid foundation of historical facts. It is well written & a joy to read."
Robert Redd, whose "Confederate Book Review" also is a popular blog about the war, decided: "Stanley has created a work that keeps moving while not getting bogged down in details the way a non-fiction work might. Be sure to read his interesting Afterword where he discusses the characters, true and fictional, and also goes on to discuss some of the sources he has used in his research."
Robert C. Ross, a Top 100 reviewer at Amazon, said: "Time after time in this novel I found myself cheering for one side, then the other, then regretting the horror and waste of the enterprise."
For more on the novel see its new civil war history book blog at http://www.knoxville1863.com
My current writing project is a non-fiction regimental history of the Thirteenth Mississippi Infantry Regiment, which is featured in "Knoxville 1863".
FYI, I'm also available for line editing and reviewing. I can be reached at scribbler at texasscribbler dot com.
on Aug. 02, 2010 :
Knoxville 1863 deals with the Battle of Fort Sanders, November 29, 1963. One of a number of battles in the Knoxville Campaign, a small number of Union troops occupying the high ground of Fort Sanders successfully repelled Confederate troops in a bloody, one day encounter, incurring few losses themselves, but inflicting may upon their assailants. It was hardly a turning point in the Civil War, but it is a good example of the type of warfare practiced at the time, and in Mr. Stanley's hands, an excellent example of what the times felt like to those involved.
The chapters are narrated by a number of participants, civilians and soldiers on both sides. Meticulously researched as explained in an afterword, most of the characters and details of the battle are accurately portrayed. Only a couple infantrymen, artillerymen, and townspeople are his creations.
The result is a highly readable account of one of many brutal battles in a brutal war, the effects of which remain with us today. Scholars of the Civil War should enjoy this novel. For the reader with general interests but not necessarily a historian, Knoxville 1863 is an excellent, accessible way to deepen one's understanding of a crucial time in our nation's history.
Dr. Al Past is the author of six works: music, photography, and the popular Distant Cousin series.
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)