The Calm and the Strife

Written by David J. Sloat John W. Sloat

As a child in mid-19th century Gettysburg, Wes Culp was the school runt, short and afflicted with a nervous stutter, endlessly bullied and completely unable to live up to the large impression made by his older brother. Jack Skully was the town bully, Wes’ primary tormentor – and popular at school. Ginnie Wade was the girl they both loved. Their lives diverged in adulthood: Wes fled Virginia to make a new life; Jack and Ginnie remained in Gettysburg. When the Civil War erupts, Wes joins the Confederate army, Jack joins the Union army, and Ginnie stays in Gettysburg, torn by her feelings for the two men. Ultimately, their fates bring them all together at Gettysburg during the famous pivotal battle.

The Calm and the Strife is a gripping book, although occasionally weak on establishing historical context (battle details and the fates of several secondary characters are often left frustratingly vague). But the action is intensely written, and the authors maintain a level of tension that will keep their audience up late reading. Highly recommended, particularly for those coming to the tale with some Civil War knowledge