The reality of war crosses generations and geographical boundaries. It tears across landscapes and surges through the souls of those affected. It brings fear to the lives of civilians and pride to those protecting their sacred homelands. The devastating remnants often linger for years after the last shot is fired. In Scourged Souls, a story about the American Civil War, these sentiments hold true and are illustrated through the portrayals of three families spread across the United States, each one touched by tragedies of war.
Youngsters Will Braunhoff and Sam Tillet grew up together in Georgia at the foot of the Kennesaw Mountains, shooting squirrels and watching the railroad tracks for new passersby. Their fathers run the general store in town, which soon becomes the area in which locals gather to share their greatest fears and deepest concerns about the war drawing near. Further north and off to the west, Ma and Pa Wilkerson are passionately involved in their church and community in central Illinois. Pa is a well-known attorney with hopes of someday running for Governor. When more manpower is needed for the war efforts, Pa forms a militia and ends up on the front lines with his newly trained lieutenant and daughter’s fiancé Robert. Also, there is young Auggie Greive. His family immigrated from Germany to southern Indiana fleeing a volatile social and political climate. His parents object strongly to the brewing war, but Auggie desperately wants to protect his new homeland, even if it means sacrificing his future and possibly his life.
In an enigmatic twist of fate, these three, disparate families cross the paths with one another in the most unexpected ways. The destruction and lasting effects of war shine through all of their lives, though hope and remembrance glean across the landscape of the pages as well, especially in the epilogue.
Scourged Souls is a magnificent story of love, loss, courage, and destruction. It’s beautifully and creatively written to touch the soul of the reader and bringing alive the characters and events. The author eloquently uses the language of the Civil War, yet in a way that is still relatable to those reading it more than one hundred and fifty years later. The way the author ties the stories and lives of the three main families together is undoubtedly one of the most appealing and alluring features of the book. He separates their stories with clearly divided sections, sometimes devoting an entire chapter to one family and other times allotting each part of a chapter. He grants the reader vivid awareness of the ordinary experiences and emotional reactions of each. Uniquely, he also weaves the life of a former slave, Obadiah, into the framework of his story. Through the words and actions of this authentic character, the reader can gain perspective on how the enslaved were burdened with the task of digging trenches in the mountainside to hold soldiers’ munition. Long-forgotten memories of Obadiah’s own captivity begin to resurface. He and other characters throughout hold strong in the face of devastating odds. This story will leave a lasting impression on the reader.
|Keith Niles Corman
|Buy this Book