The Brothers’ War by J. Patrick Lewis

Civil War Voices in Verse
“In the bloody battle of Seven Pines,
a young soldier, Absalom Flowers,
whose mother baked the most delicious cobbler
in Roanoke, whose father was nothing really,
stopped a Union bullet with his face.  Rolling slowly
downhill, he concluded on the home of a vole.
A sprawling monument to insanity.”

So begins the poem “Boys in a Brother’s War.” Once more we are reminded of the inconceivable horror that is war, how it steals young men from the arms of their families and the sight of their loved ones. 

In the Brother’s War, J. Patrick Lewis writes short poems that are so eloquent, I was lulled into a sense of beauty just before the bucket of blood and viscera hit me square in the face.

Each double page spread chronicles a person, event or battle of the US Civil War from “picking cotton near Savannah, Georgia, early 1800’s” to “Passing in Review” a tribute to the soldiers who finally made “home.”  Each is accompanied by a period photograph and short but concise remarks concerning the subject of the poem.  Just one look will convince any reader that this is a beautiful book—the verses are printed on glowing golden pages, the photographs are prominently and artfully displayed–but it is not for the faint of heart.  The sights and sounds of war fill every page.

The book is outstanding in its entirety. It is “all of a piece.”  The poetry is thoughtful and haunting. It is appended with author’s notes, a timeline, a map and then there are those arresting photographs.   It’s more of a tapestry than a patchwork.  Every aspect is woven into the fabric of the whole so that the final product reveals a complete story.

Lewis and the publishers, the National Geographic Society, have offered readers a unforgettable tribute to the hundreds of thousands, soldiers and civilians, whose history has been forever changed by Civil War, by all wars.

Posted by: Eileen


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Dear Eileen,

    A swashbuckler of a bow to you for your exceptionally kind
    words for my THE BROTHERS’ WAR. I’m deeply grateful.

    In peace,

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