Tuesday, July 1, 2008

LINCOLN'S DREAMS by Connie Willis

The family was at dinner this past Sunday night at one of our favorite restaurants in New City, a Thai place called The Lemon Grass. My son gave me a nice birthday present, year 3 of Northern Exposure. He also lent me a book to read interested on my take of it. It's called Lincoln's Dreams by Connie Willis (photo above).
It was a great book that hooked me immediately because the two main characters (Jeff and Annie) dealt with Annie's ability to dream about the American Civil War. The book focused on the dreams of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee. I thought that in itself was interesting. Because 90% of the time (it seems) any Civil War related literature dealing with both sides deals with either Lee and Lincoln. We rarely see Lee and Grant or Lincoln and Davis. At any rate the book was one of those - can't put down types - for me at least. Connie Willis definitely did her homework. As a Civil War buff, I looked for errors and only found one glaring mistake.
She had the characters discussing the deaths of Generals during the war. In one conversation, the character Jeff was discussing the Dead Confederate Generals at Gettysburg. The author made the all to common mistake of stating that Kemper was mortally wounded. This I know for a fact to be wrong because as a young man in Virginia, I was a reenactor in the 11th Virginia which was part of Kemper's Brigade at Gettysburg. It was well drilled into us what happened to the General. He was seriously wounded while exhorting his men onward by flanking fire from the Union Vermont Troops and briefly captured. He was rescued by his own troops and spoke to Lee telling "Uncle Robert" that he was informed his wound was mortal.
Long story short, he survived the war and became the Governor of Virginia in the 1870's. Aside from that one mistake, the author really did a nice job on her research and she did a good job building up the tension in the book, it was a real page turner. To the point where I was up til 2 AM this morning reading it.
I recommend it highly.

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