Giveaway: WWI Participants

It’s that holiday time of the year.  For those of you who participated and want to enter the giveaway for a WWI book of their choosing from either Amazon or Book Depository, please leave a comment below.  There will be 2 winners.

The comment must include:

  1. How many books you read for the challenge.
  2. Whether you achieved your reading goal.
  3. Which of the books you read that were your favorite.

Deadline to enter is Dec. 31, 2012.

Thanks for joining us this year, and we hope you’ll join us again in 2013.

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Civil War Reading Challenge Giveaway

For those of you who have finished your reading goals, we’ve got a modest giveaway for you. Anna and I have had a tough year financially, so we’ve only got a small giveaway this year. We wish we could do more.

As a thank you for participants, 1 winner will receive Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier and Jarrettsville by Cornelia Nixon, both are gently used.

Please leave a comment below with your email to be entered. The giveaway ends Jan. 31, 2012, and is open internationally.

And the audio book winners are…

Julie P.

Cheryl

Annette

Congratulations and happy reading!

Audio Book Giveaways for Civil War Challenge Participants

Macmillan Audio is generously offering 3 audio books to participants in the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge.  Here are the books up for grabs (click the links to access audio excerpts):

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

A riveting historical narrative of the heart-stopping events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first work of history from mega-bestselling author Bill O’Reilly

The anchor of The O’Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America’s Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln’s generous terms for Robert E. Lee’s surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln’s dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.

In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies’ man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country’s most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of history’s most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.  (publisher’s summary)

Midnight Rising:  John Brown and the Raid That Started the Civil War by Tony Horwitz

Bestselling author Tony Horwitz tells the electrifying tale of the daring insurrection that put America on the path to bloody war

Plotted in secret, launched in the dark, John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry was a pivotal moment in U.S. history. But few Americans know the true story of the men and women who launched a desperate strike at the slaveholding South. Now, Midnight Rising portrays Brown’s uprising in vivid color, revealing a country on the brink of explosive conflict.

Brown, the descendant of New England Puritans, saw slavery as a sin against America’s founding principles. Unlike most abolitionists, he was willing to take up arms, and in 1859 he prepared for battle at a hideout in Maryland, joined by his teenage daughter, three of his sons, and a guerrilla band that included former slaves and a dashing spy. On October 17, the raiders seized Harpers Ferry, stunning the nation and prompting a counterattack led by Robert E. Lee. After Brown’s capture, his defiant eloquence galvanized the North and appalled the South, which considered Brown a terrorist. The raid also helped elect Abraham Lincoln, who later began to fulfill Brown’s dream with the Emancipation Proclamation, a measure he called “a John Brown raid, on a gigantic scale.”

Tony Horwitz’s riveting book travels antebellum America to deliver both a taut historical drama and a telling portrait of a nation divided—a time that still resonates in ours.  (publisher’s summary)

The Battle of the Crater by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

With The Battle of the Crater, New York Times bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen take readers to the center of a nearly forgotten Civil War confrontation, a battle that was filled with controversy and misinterpretation even before the attack began. Drawing on years of research, the authors weave a complex narrative interweaving the high aspirations of African American troops eager to prove themselves in battle and the anxiety of a President who knows the nation cannot bear another major defeat.

June 1864: the Civil War is now into its fourth year of bloody conflict with no end in sight. The armies of the North are stalled in fetid trenches outside of Richmond and Atlanta, and the reelection of Abraham Lincoln to a second term seems doomed to defeat—a defeat that will set off the call for an end to the conflict, dismembering the Union and continuing slavery.

Only one group of volunteers for the Union cause is still eager for battle. Nearly two hundred thousand men of color have swarmed the recruiting stations and are being mobilized into regiments known as the USCTs, the United States Colored Troops. General Ambrose Burnside, a hard luck commander out of favor with his superiors, is one of the few generals eager to bring a division of these new troops into his ranks. He has an ingenious plan to break Fort Pegram, the closest point on the Confederate line, defending Petersburg—the last defense of Richmond—by tunneling forward from the Union position beneath the fort to explode its defenses. Burnside needs the USCTs for one desperate rush that just might bring victory.

The risks are high. Will Burnside be allowed to proceed or will interference from on high doom his plan to failure? The battleground drama unfolds through the eyes of James Reilly—famed artist, correspondent, and friend of Lincoln, who has been employed by the president to be his eyes and ears amongst the men, sending back an honest account of the front. In so doing, he befriends Sergeant Major Garland White of the 28th USCT regiment, an escaped slave and minister preparing his comrades for a frontal assault that will either win the war, or result in their annihilation.

The Battle of the Crater is Gingrich and Forstchen’s most compelling fact-based work yet, presenting little known truths, long forgotten in the files of correspondence, and the actual court of inquiry held after the attack. The novel draws a new and controversial conclusion while providing a sharp, rousing and harshly realistic view of politics and combat during the darkest year of the Civil War. This must-read work rewrites our understanding of one of the great battles of the war, and the all but forgotten role played by one of the largest formations of African American troops in our nation’s history.  (publisher’s summary)

To enter:

*You must be participating in the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge

*You must have a U.S. mailing address (the publisher is shipping the books)

*You must leave a comment with your e-mail address letting us know which book you’d like to win.  You can enter for all 3 books, but if your name is picked, you will only receive 1 of the titles.  You can rank them in order of preference if you choose.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

Winner of Shadow of a Quarter Moon

Thanks to all who entered the Shadow of a Quarter Moon by Eileen Clymer Schwab giveaway. Out of a number of entrants, random.org selected

Cheryl from Scrappy Cat who said, “I would love to learn more about the underground railroad.”

Congrats and we hope you enjoy the book.

Guest Post & Giveaway: Eileen Clymer Schwab on U.S. Civil War Writing

Today, War Through the Generations would like to welcome Eileen Clymer Schwab, author of Shadow of a Quarter Moon that takes place pre-U.S. Civil War on a southern plantation.

According to the publisher’s synopsis, “In 1839 North Carolina, Jacy has been raised in privilege as the daughter of a plantation owner. But when her father suddenly dies, her cold, unfeeling mother, Claudia, schemes to marry Jacy off to a well-positioned but lecherous suitor. In a fit of fury over Jacy’s protests, Claudia calls her a ‘foolish, infernal quadroon’—and reveals that Jacy is the offspring of a dalliance between her father and a slave. Furthermore, her biological mother and brother are still slaves on the plantation. After these revelations, Jacy’s sense of who she is and where she belongs in the world is destroyed and, starts to see herself and the South with fresh eyes.”

Please welcome Eileen.

One of the questions I often hear from readers is, “Do you find it difficult to write novels that are set in such a brutal period of American history?”

Any turbulent period in history is fodder for great books and memorable characters. The heroes are more heroic and the villains more villainous because they are woven from truths. The years leading up to the Civil War are no different, yet it is a time that we often avoid revisiting because of the horror and shame it stirs in our moral conscience. Much is written in adult fiction about the war itself, but delving into the world at its genesis causes tentative trepidation.

In keeping the door closed on this period, we miss the chance to celebrate and marvel at the incredible acts of courage and daring challenges that were the genesis of social change in our country. The secret network known as the Underground Railroad is the perfect example of the best of America in the worst of America, and it serves as a vehicle of transformation for the main character in my novel, SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON.

Writing a novel against an historic backdrop requires a great deal of research. For me, research is a process of discovery – not just of historical facts, but of tendencies, beliefs, undertones, and nuances of the time. Through this process I become better acquainted with my characters and the world around them. I wanted to touch and see as much as I could, beginning at the library, as well as visiting places like the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and other historic sites found within our National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. So often the surprises discovered in research shift plotlines or shape characters in unexpected ways. For example, while doing some research in North Carolina, I came across Dismal Swamp. As a writer, I could not overlook a name so vivid and descriptive, and I knew it would be mentioned in my story. At the time, I had no idea that the bleak sounding region was so rich and storied in Underground Railroad history, or that it would play such a significant role in my novel.

My ability to breathe life into the characters of SHADOW OF A QUARTER MOON and my previous novel, PROMISE BRIDGE was aided by the voices I “heard” while reading the slave narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project of 1936-38. During FDR’s New Deal, the Works Progress Administration sent writers out to find and chronicle the thoughts and memories of former slaves, many of whom were well into their eighties and nineties. The narratives are an important piece of history that can never fade away with the passing of time. Some of the dialect and phrasing found in the narratives gives credible voice to my characters. The research phase was lengthy and at times, appalling. Yet, at other times, it was awe-inspiring.

As an author, I am inspired by the strength and courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. It was an honor to look back and give voice to a generation deserving of acknowledgment, tribute, and literary life. Remembering and discussing their trials and triumphs can be one way of paying respect for their role in our social evolution.

Thanks, Eileen, for sharing your thoughts on the U.S. Civil War.

To enter for 1 signed copy of Shadow of a Quarter Moon for US/Canada War Through the Generations participants only:

1.  Leave a comment about what part of the Civil War do you want to see more often in your fiction.

2.  For a second entry, spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and leave a link in the comments.

3.  For a third entry, please follow Eileen on Twitter and/or Facebook and leave a comment telling her you did so with your “handle.”

Deadline to enter is July 22, 2011 at 11:59PM EST.

Winners of Enemy Women, August Read-a-Long Book

Hello and congrats to the winners of the August read-a-long giveaway for 2 copies of Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles.

Shelley of Book Clutter, who said, “Count me in, it sounds like a great book and I’m looking forward to more reading time in the summer. Thanks for the chance to win!”

Ruth, who said, “Please enter me–it would be great to read this book.”

Congrats to both of you and we look forward to your participation in the read-a-long this August.

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