John C. Bush
Createspace Independent Publishing, 2014, 285pp., $14.95
Image courtesy of amazon.com
Civil War fiction is a booming industry during the Sesquicentennial of the conflict. The first which people tend to think about is The Killer Angels but there are many which can hold their own against the rest of the works being released. John C. Bush has given us a work which is both interesting and saddening. He combines the war itself with the world after the Civil War along with a different twist to the art than any other. Instead of having someone from the North fighting for the South as is usual in Civil War fiction, there is someone from the South fighting for the North. Bush also brings into the fold the idea of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder upon the return of the protagonist. Known now as “Soldier’s Heart,” the experience of the fighting men is something which Bush excels at in his work.
John C. Bush is a native of Montgomery, Alabama and was born in northwest Florida. The ancestral line of his family can trace its roots back to Virginia in 1670. He now lives in the Tennessee Valley in Northern Alabama. This is where most of the story of Patriots and Rebels takes place.
When I first heard about this work, I immediately thought of the American Revolution but upon further inspection, discovered the work was about the Civil War. Patriots and Rebels allows for something different to be seen in the eyes of Civil War fiction. The work opens up in a very fast paced mode which creates some confusion but is soon fixed in the narrative. The story is about the return of a father to Alabama from the war where he had fought for the North. Not only is this story about the fight in the War of the Rebellion, the history of the family is told through the tales of the father and it is plainly clear as to why he chose to fight for the North. What I found more interesting throughout all of the text and narrative was the implementation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the mind of the Civil War soldier. When the father is telling his tales of the war and what he had gone through, it is often interrupted by the bouts of the disease. Unlike some of the other Civil War fiction being published now, the book is fast paced even though it is told all through stories and flashbacks. The reader gains a clear idea of what soldiers had to go through upon their return home.
Patriots and Rebels is recommended for the fan of Civil War fiction and even more so for those interested in the life of the soldier in the time of Reconstruction. One of the things which makes this work shine is the difference between the general stereotypes of Civil War literature. His narrative is flowing and his attention to detail is great up to the point where there is a clear picture as to what is happening in his novel. In conclusion, Patriots and Rebels is a work of Civil War fiction which is recommended for those interested in the realm of literature. Not to be missed.