Book Reveiw: The Other Side of the River by Robert D. Halpert

24 03 2013

Title: The Other Side of the River

Author: Robert D. Halpert MD_225_350_Book.814.cover

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: WestBow Press

Available: NOW

Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson is a legend for his strategic military approaches during the Civil War.  Little is mentioned of his faith and how it shaped his decisions.  The book, told in a journal type form, looks at Jackson through the lens of faith, following him during his final year in the field but also reflecting on the life events that drove him.

I’ll admit that I’m a Civil War buff.  My children and I spent the better part of a month delving into the war and it’s various components.  This book is a well thought-out reflection of a great soldier and a man of faith.  We follow Jackson through some of his most difficult trials and see how his trust in God propelled him forward.  Even in his final days and hours, Jackson found his peace and comfort.  There is also information on what the day to day life of the General would have been like and the climate of the Southern camp.  The author even attributes the “Bible Belt” as springing from the revival-like atmosphere created by Jackson during winter camp in 1862-63.

While we tend to see a ruthless man when we view Jackson, the soldier, in this book we get a different perspective, and understand that the nickname “Stonewall” applied to more than just his soldiering.  This books also provoked my emotions more than a strait biography would.  Jackson seems human in many ways, not just the ghostly general who seemed to be unbeatable.   We see the fear and courage of the soldiers who fight this war and understand the terrible misunderstanding on the night Jackson is shot.

Potential readers should understand that it reads more like a novel than a narrative and that the author flashes back and forth between the action of the war and details that shaped Jackson’s faith in his early life – scenes from childhood and the Mexican War.

Recommend for: Those who enjoy Civil War biographies and historical fiction.

I was provided with a copy of the book by the publisher.  All opinions are my own.

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