The Judas Field

Written by Howard Bahr
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

Living a sad, lonely and alcoholic life in Mississippi in 1885, Cass Wakefield is asked to accompany a widow of the Civil War, Alison Sansing, to Franklin, Tennessee, to find the graves of her father and brother, killed in the Battle of Franklin. Two of his comrades-in-arms accompany them. All three of the former Confederate soldiers have a story to tell about the battle, and Howard Bahr tells it brilliantly in flashback. They are each drawn to Franklin to face their pasts and reflect on this tragic battle that changed their lives so drastically.

I’ve read all of Howard Bahr’s books on the Civil War and find him an excellent writer. His choice of words and phrases, and his poetic descriptions of the settings and characters, draw the reader into the story. He has the innate ability to describe the horrors of war. My only reservation about this novel is the treatment of the main character. Cass is always despondent and listless, always feeling that the war ruined his life; he wasn’t a character I could like. But if you enjoy a well-written story by a master of words, you should definitely add this book to your library.