Book Review: Sacred Ties

May 23, 2020 - No Comments

by Jim Barnes

I learned today that the Tidioute Remagen Bridge reenactment has been cancelled, although this may be partly because the organizers have heard that the Reading Airshow may be moved to that date. How everything shakes out remains to be seen. At least we have books to read.

Book Review: Sacred Ties

Sacred Ties by Tom Carhart (Penguin, New York, 2010) is a different take on Civil War history in that it uses the friendship between 6 West Point cadets to tell the story of the war. George A. Custer, Stephen D. Ramseur, Henry A. duPont, John Pelham, Thomas L. Rosser and Wesley Merritt are the individuals in question: three for the North and three for the South. On some occasions, they were faced with actually fighting directly against troops commanded by their close friends.

It makes for an engrossing tale and emphasizes the bonds that the West Point experience develops. Carhart takes us through the course of the war chronologically and discusses the events that affect the lives of the six young men. Along the way, he presents some interesting discussion on the battles themselves and presents a scenario that could have resulted in a Confederate victory at Gettysburg if things had been somewhat different.

Most students of the Civil War are familiar with the names of these men, but the author brings them to life in a lively and well-written book that I can thoroughly recommend.

Jim

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