Re: Two Brothers – One North, One South
Two Brothers – One North, One South
By David H.. Jones
List Price:  $24.95
SHNV Price:  $18.21
I seem to recall responding to this particular post once before – and I responded because it uses Walt Whitman as some sort of legitimate source of information on the War of Secession.
Walt Whitman feared that the real war would never get in the books: the true stories that depicted the courage and humanity of soldiers who fought, bled, and died in the American Civil War. Exceptionally researched and keenly accurate to actual events, along with the personages that forged them, David H. Jones’s novel spans four years in the midst of America s costliest and most commemorated war. The journey is navigated by the poet, Walt Whitman, whose documented compassion for the wounded and dying soldiers of the war takes him to Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D.C., and finds him at the bedside of William Prentiss, a Rebel soldier, just after fighting has ended. As fate has it, William’s brother, Clifton, a Union officer, is being treated in another ward of the same hospital, and Whitman becomes the sole link not just between the two, but with the rest of their family as well. The reader is taken seamlessly from Medfield Academy in Baltimore, where the Prentiss family makes its home, to the many battlefields where North and South collide, and even through the drawing rooms of wartime Richmond, where Hetty, Jenny, and Constance Cary are the reigning belles.
I recall responding to this post – or one like it – some time ago. I responded because it presents Walt Whitman as a legitimate "guide" to the "truth" about the war when he was anything but. In the course of my researches on Confederate partisan Col. John S. Mosby and his command, I came across a particularly atrocious "account" of a Mosby raid put forth by Whitman in a book entitled "Two Rivulets" written in 1876 – fully 11 years after the war! The description of the atrocities committed by the "guerrillas" and their fate at the hands of the decent, noble Union soldiers is made up out of whole cloth but is presented as accurate under the heading of "A Glimpse of War’s Hell Scenes".
If this is the sort of "information" upon which the author depended in the telling of his story, then I hope none of his readers put any trust in anything he has to say. They would be better off reading Dr. Seuss to get a most historically accurate version of the events.
P.S. The account is available if you are interested.