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If you could attend any historical event...

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Post by Ash » Mon October 20th, 2008, 1:22 pm

Visiting historical sights certainly helps with visualizing scenes in a book. There is a moment in Devil's Brood where Eleanor is going to Winchester to the treasury. That was so easy to visualize - we went there, I think it was called the Pyx, as well as the monastery. It was one of the first cathedrals we visited on our first trip, so it made quite an impression. I loved that I could actually see the place where Eleanor was going to.

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Post by Ludmilla » Mon October 20th, 2008, 1:55 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]Does anyone know of a novel about Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain? His story is so incredible. It was one of the most memorable threads in Ken Burns' The Civil War.[/quote]

I think there has been non-fiction written about Chamberlain, but Burns was greatly influenced by Michael Shaara's historical novel, The Killer Angels, which is concentrated on the Battle of Gettysburg. Chamberlain plays a prominent role, and Shaara's son wrote the bookends to complete the trilogy about the civil war. Chamberlain is one of the PoV characters in all of these. The other two books are Gods and Generals (covers roughly 1858-63) and Last Full Measure (post Gettysburg through Lee's surrender, with a post-script of Chamberlain visiting Gettysburg as an old man). I read all three recently and loved them.

The afterword of Killer Angels describes what happened to the survivors of Gettysburg. Included in that is an anecdote about Longstreet who attends a reunion -- uninvited-- of the Army of Northern Virginia years after the war. By this time he is regarded as a turncoat for his support of Grant's policies (Grant was a close friend of his before the war) and for criticizing Lee's tactics at Gettysburg, which Longstreet regarded as the beginning of the end of the war. Shaara gives a wonderful description of Longstreet walkly proudly across that room to be hugged by Jefferson Davis. I think that would be an emotional scene to witness.
Last edited by Ludmilla on Mon October 20th, 2008, 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Leyland » Mon October 20th, 2008, 2:33 pm

I've visited the Confederate POW camp only once at Andersonville National Historic Site in Georgia, and most definitely felt the residual misery, suffering, despair and death that remains in the atmosphere as we walked around. To try to thoroughly envision a tent city full of starving and sick soldiers was almost too much.

Robert E Lee was a wise and courageous man when ending the tragedy for both sides. I would like to have followed up the witnessing of the surrender by listening to his dictation of the order and Farewell Address the following day:

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 10th April 1865.

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.

But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.

By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.

– R. E. Lee, General, General Order No. 9

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Post by Volgadon » Mon October 20th, 2008, 3:56 pm

[quote=""EC2""]Absolutely - and what they were doing is totally lacking in respect.
Going to Hastings seemed a bit surreal. There were children playing where one a very decisive and bloody battle had been fought, and people wandering around licking ice creams and looking at the story boards on the field in a desultory way. Now, perhaps that is at it should be and shows how futile wars actually are, but I found myself trying to imagine Harold and William both returning together and standing watching these people a thousand years on enjoying their day out. What would they think? Was it worth it? It's a game I often play, imagining a historical character into the present and wondering what they'd think![/quote]

I had one of those moments in Novorossiysk when I watched all the people swimming and picnicing at Malaya Zemlya, where the Red Army staged an amphibious landing to retake the city and spent several months under fire holding on to that bridgehead. I had the distinct feeling that those who fought there would be pleased.

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Post by Margaret » Mon October 20th, 2008, 9:20 pm

I had the distinct feeling that those who fought there would be pleased.
This makes me think of Picasso's Guernica, with the tiny sprouting plant coming up amid all the carnage. It's good to think that the marks of war's brutality can be erased over time and replaced with love and laughter.
Michael Shaara's historical novel, The Killer Angels, which is concentrated on the Battle of Gettysburg. Chamberlain plays a prominent role
You're right, and I've read The Killer Angels - how could I have forgotten? That book was so meticulously researched and carefully written, it almost seemed like nonfiction sometimes.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Post by Ash » Tue October 21st, 2008, 12:12 am

most definitely felt the residual misery, suffering, despair and death that remains in the atmosphere as we walked around.

This is a big reason why I could never visit a WWII concentration camp. It would just overwhelm me. I also can't go to Holocaust Museums, even tho I've been told that the one in DC is a must visit. Just too much history in my family to want to experience it in any way.

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Post by Cuchulainn » Tue October 21st, 2008, 12:38 am

I would have liked to have been present at the birth of Christ.

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Post by chuck » Tue October 21st, 2008, 4:28 pm

To be a Brit scout or spy during the building of the Spanish Armada......follow them and then watch the battle, the storm and finally watch the survivors wash up on the Irish coast.....and be at Lord Nelson's final victory and tragic death....hard to imagine the effect of his death and funeral had on the English people....For me maybe President Kennedy's assassination......

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Post by EC2 » Tue October 21st, 2008, 4:34 pm

For me maybe President Kennedy's assassination......[/quote]

Standing next to the gun man of course - then you'd either know who he was or be able to grab him!
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal


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