Skip to main content

Book Review: An Eye For Glory, The Civil War Chronicles of a Citizen Soldier by Karl A. Bacon

"It must never be thought that the field of battle falls silent once the fighting stops, for when the guns cease firing and the last echoes die, the wailing cries of the thousands of wounded arise in a pitiable chorus of woe."

Link for the book @ Amazon:
Paperback $11.55
Kindle $9.99

Link for the book @ Christian Book:
Paperback $11.49
eBook $9.99

Link for the book @ publisher:
Paperback $16.99

Published by Zondervan February 2011/368 pages/Historical Fiction/Civil War/Memoir/

Michael Palmer against the advice of his wife enlists in the Union Army for the Great War of Rebellion---the Civil War. He and his wife Jessie Anne and their children live in Connecticut. Michael manages a dry goods store. After hearing that President Lincoln needed 300,000 more men for duty, Michael feels the urge to enlist. His wife Jessie Anne does not understand at first, but stoically she handles his decision with grace.
Michael and his best friend John Robinson are in the 14th Connecticut Infantry. Their first battle is Antietam, September 17, 1862.
The battles that Michael fought in would become infamous: Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Stony Mountain, and Gettysburg.
The descriptions of these battles are horrific, gruesome, bloody; and the aftermath is of destruction and carnage.
For Michael as the battles continue, his thinking and response becomes: "load, aim, fire; stick, twist, pull."
Until he comes upon a wounded Confederate soldier that in his final moments holds up his Bible to Michael.

I had been anxious to read this book, having heard only good things about it. While reading this story it spoke to my heart on a deeper level than just being swept away by Michael Palmer's experiences of the Civil War.
Michael's story is kindred to any person that has fought in combat. I thought of my own dad, he fought in World War II--D-day the 6th of June 1944 and The Battle of the Bulge. And of my own son's 2 combat tours in Iraq.
Michael Palmer is a fictional character, but the experiences that he endured are a reality of war. For a soldier having available food to eat on a daily basis is not a given, or if there is food it may not be palatable. Sickness and disease, a simple enough problem with feet can become a deadly problem for a soldier. The feelings of loneliness and worrying about family back home. The fears of not knowing if they will survive the next battle is common to all. And all survivor's feel the same way, how to deal with what they've been through, and the death that surrounds them.
The introduction of characters in a story to me is an intricate and exciting thing--I am being given a glimpse of a character with black ink words on white page only, that then conjure and shape the person as if they are standing before me. The more descriptive the character, the more real they become, and the more real they become, the more I become swept away with the story. In An Eye For Glory Karl A. Bacon created his characters, especially those of Michael Palmer and the other soldiers he is with, in to believable men that I can almost picture standing before me. For example: a soldier that is young, too young for battle, with youth and vigor, yet behind that is a fear that rattles him and can be seen in his eyes, his stance. Or those soldiers that were in charge, some were men of valor and just by their demeanor earned the respect of the men they were with. Or that empty look in their eyes, the far away look, that is called the thousand yard stare.
The battle scenes made my adrenaline flow with the fear of what was over that hill waiting for them.
I understood more fully what it was like to be in an Infantry unit dealing with the environment, battle scars both physically and emotionally, and the deep level of commitment that most of us will never comprehend.
The scenes are not softened by hiding the brutal and bloody fighting of combat, instead Karl A Bacon reveals the turmoil, fear, and mania that ensues.
But, the battles that are fought are by men that each have their own stories to tell, and An Eye For Glory is told from the voice of a Union soldier named Michael Palmer. The Civil War is personalized in this account of Michael, it becomes not a war that is written about in text books rather sanitized and unemotionally. Instead it becomes more real, raw, and unforgettable.

I loved this story! I so hope that the author has plans for further books on the Civil War. Maybe a confederate soldier's life will be next?

Thank you to Zondervan for my free review copy.

My own great great Grandfather E. M. Cooksey fought in the 8th Regiment Mississippi "Pinkney Guards" of Newton County and the 36th Mississippi Infantry Company D "The Yankee Hunters".
I do not have a photograph of him. I know very little about him. I know he was mustered in to the "Pinkney Guards" of the 8th Regiment on May 20, 1861. Sometime later he transfered to 36th Mississippi Infantry Company D. He survived the war, and he and his wife and parents moved from Newton County Mississippi to central Texas. I'm told he was often quoted as saying that he "fit in the war." Instead of fought, he fit.
I've also heard a story passed down, that his father had to "hunt" him down in order to take him a new pair of boots. 

Blissful Reading!