“South of the Etowah,” by Raymond L. Atkins

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The “Etowah” in the title to Raymond L. Atkins’s recently published book refers to a 164-mile-long waterway rising in northwest Georgia to begin flowing south and then west through Rome, Georgia. If one had the interest, one might build a raft and, Huckleberry-like, float along through Alabama down to Mobile […]

“A Sensory History of the Civil War,” by Mark M. Smith

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl There’s an online collection now providing access to over 7,000 different photographic views and portraits made during the American Civil War.  The images represent the original glass plate negatives photographed under the supervision of Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner. The images are powerful: the dead about to be interred at […]

“Wrath of the Dixie Mafia,” by Paul Sinor

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl It could become a film noir but the script would need to be a departure from the novel, remade into a much tauter, no-nonsense rapid-fire dialogue between characters resplendent in their gritty glory. It would help to have hardboiled masters at hand like Raymond Chandler and tough guys like Bogart […]

“This Republic of Suffering,” by Drew Gilpin Faust

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The “Preface” to Drew Gilpin Faust’s This Republic of Suffering begins with a pointed sentence:  “Mortality defines the human condition.”  True in any and all circumstances, including driving to work in the morning or returning home in the evening. Driving our cars, however, is unlike Confederate and Union soldiers gathered […]

“Conjuror,” by Holly Sullivan McClure

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Anyone driving east on Interstate 40 and crossing from Tennessee into western North Carolina will cross over U.S. Route 19 running roughly northeast-by-southwest.  Near the intersection of Route 19 and U. S. Route 441 is the Oconaluftee River Valley and the Qualla Boundary land trust. The area has an interesting […]

“Miss Julia Inherits a Mess,” by Ann B. Ross

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl About a decade ago a television series began its run: Gossip Girl.  It was a teen drama based on a novel series by Cecily von Ziegesar.  Fictional lives, then, of a batch of adolescents, queen bees in their gossipy chess games.  It takes little imagination to add, say, fifty gossipy […]

“The Time the Waters Rose,” by Paul Ruffin

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl The Time the Waters Rose is a collection of eight short stories by the late Paul Ruffin.  One of the eight is less a short story and more an excerpt from his 2002 novel, Pompeii Man. The collection opens with a “Preface,” part biography and part apology or defense.  Ruffin […]

“Wondering Toward Center,” by Kathy A. Bradley

Reviewed by Daniel James Sundahl Back in 1851 Henry Thoreau arrived at the Concord Lyceum to deliver a lecture, one he would repeat ten or more times.  He thought of the piece as seminal to everything he might write afterwards.  He revised it throughout the next nine or so years, publishing the piece eventually as […]