An Excerpt

March 6, 2010

Sunday, May 26, 1912

A scowl scraped under the words, “What you doin’ in this part o’ town…boy?”

No answer.

From inside a loathing came, “Iffin’ this was a ratt run country you’d be showin’ me yo’ massa’s pass.”

He echoed back, “Iffin’ this was a ratt run country…”

He noticed the pavement was pretty warm, even when it clawed his palm and smeared itself with his blood. That hurt.

The toe of the black, worn-down brogan hurt too when it kicked his ribs.

Another pair of worn brogans came up, brown this time, and pulled the black pair around. “Hold on there, Dooley.”

“You niggah-lovin’ Longstreetin’ bluebelly!”

Now came two pairs, some handsome men’s half-boots under brown pinstriped cuffs, and a black pointy toe peeking out from under a dark green hem just above the sidewalk.

Brown brogans shifted back and forth. “Simmer down, Dooley. Ain’t fitten’ pushin’ anybody ’round on the Lord’s Day, ‘specially with a lady present.”

Black brogans turned toward green hem. A single word, “Ma’am,” floated down; then the black brogans stomped away, the heels grinding the pavement, the left one worn down at an odd angle.

Half-boots and green hem passed by together and brown brogans trailed after.

He pulled out an old green kerchief and with black fingers pressed it against the pale, bloody palm. After he left, the rest of his blood turned dark on the pavement.

Download a longer excerpt here.

The Critics Say…

"...a believable and fascinating tale with well-developed characters"

- New York Journal of Books

"a fascinating look at the waning lives of those who fought during the Civil War, and the progress of equality"

- Midwest Book Review

"In this beguiling, important novel, Carl Eeman reinvents a world of 1912-14 in which our tortured struggle with Civil War memory and race relations might have had different outcomes... Every serious student and reader of history has wondered “what if?” In Eeman’s haunting characters and dialogues, and in his textured storytelling, Americans can see the genuine tragedy in our story of Civil War remembrance."

— David W. Blight, Yale University, author of Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory