In the summer of 1862, a group of volunteer soldiers joined the Twenty-First Michigan Volunteer Infantry in western Michigan. For the next two and a half years, these men saw extensive combat against the Confederacy in America’s most brutal and bloody war.
Drawn from hundreds of letters, diaries, and memoirs, Into the Tornado of War is the complete history of this Union regiment as seen through the soldiers’ eyes. James Genco traces their movements from their first major battle at Perryville, Kentucky, through Tennessee, Georgia, and finally, the Carolinas.
In addition to Perryville, the regiment was severely tested in the landmark battles of Stones River, Chickamauga, and Bentonville, and participated in Union General William T. Sherman’s March to the Sea in November and December of 1864. As the war wound down in 1865, the regiment was part of the Union Army that cut its way through the Carolinas, ultimately finding itself in the forefront of one of the last major battles of the war.
In a valuable contribution to the scholarship on the American Civil War, Into the Tornado of War paints a picture of the realities of the war through the words of real soldiers.
Author Charles Ota Heller’s early childhood in Czechoslovakia was idyllic, but his safe and happy world didn’t last long, Three years after his birth, Germany forced an occupation of his country; afterward, most of his young life consisted of running and hiding. His life, just like those of the other youths who lived in Europe during the late 1930s and early 1940s, was shaped forever by the dangers, horrors, and unsettling events he experienced. In this memoir, Heller, born Ota Karel Heller, narrates his family’s story—a family nearly destroyed by the Nazis. Son of a mixed marriage, he was raised a Catholic and was unaware of his Jewish roots, even after his father escaped to join the British army and fifteen members of his family disappeared.
Prague: My Long Journey Home tells of his Christian mother being sent to a slave labor camp and of his hiding on a farm to avoid deportation to a death camp. With the war coming to a close, Heller tells of how he picked up a revolver and shot a Nazi when he was just nine years old.
Heller, now an assimilated American, left the horrors of the past—along with his birth name—behind to live the proverbial American Dream. In his memoir, he recalls how two cataclysmic events following Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution brought him face-to-face with demons of his former life. On his personal journey Heller discovered and embraced his heritage—one which he had abandoned decades earlier.
Life has always been a little lonely for twelve-year-old Casey Parker, an obsessive reader who makes up for her lack of friends with her books. The only attention she gets in school is unwanted, given a bit too enthusiastically by the school bully. But, when Casey's great uncle Walter moves back to town and takes over a mysterious little bookshop called Moonglow's, things begin to get interesting.
He gives her an old iron key and tells her to come back to read at night when the moonlight is shining in, because something truly magical happens. But there are three rules she must follow: the books must remain in the shop at night, she must keep the key with her at all times, and, above all, she must be out by midnight.
She discovers that she can physically enter the story of any book she reads. But, if she's not out by midnight, or if she forgets her key, she will be trapped inside the book forever. Casey spends the summer between grammar school and junior high leaping into different stories and learning about herself in the process. As the first day of junior high approaches, Casey knows she will have to face the bully again; disappearing into her favorite novel forever is beginning to sound like a great idea.
Midnight at Moonglow's received an honorable mention in the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Book Festival.
By the time Sylvia Richardson is eighteen, she has buried her parents; given birth to a daughter; and become a widow. It is 1942, and World War II has destroyed Sylvia’s dream of dancing in red heels through life to the melody of a Hank Snow record. Instead, she is raising her daughter, Sassy, alone in the coal mining town she vowed to leave behind.
By 1955, thirteen-year-old Sassy has been brought up on a stiff dose of Mama’s lessons on how to be a lady—even though Mama drinks, smokes, and dates a myriad of men. But everything changes the day a woman accuses Sylvia of trying to steal her husband, forcing Sassy to come to terms with her Mama’s harsh teen years. For Sylvia, only the support of kith and kin can rescue her from her mistakes.
Spanning twenty years, Mama’s Shoes is a haunting saga of love, despair, and forgiveness as a cadence of female voices weaves a spell of mountain lore and secrets, defines family as more than blood kin, and proves second chances can bring happiness.
“An absolutely wonderful novel, its setting a beautifully realized small Appalachian coal town, its characters so vivid they’re practically jumping off the page.” —Lee Smith, author of Mrs. Darcy and the Blue-Eyed Stranger and The Last Girls