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Somebody’s Darling: Essays on the Civil War.
Gramm, Kent. Somebody’s Darling: Essays on the Civil War. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002.  ISBN 0-253-34081-0

History is a poor substitute for the heaven in which those people believed. But like its cousin, Memory, History maintains an imperfect connection with those we love, and is easier for us to credit. Everyone dead and alive helps make us who we are. We know this. But those we love help to make us what we wish to be, and there is something of a heaven in that.” (excerpted from “Face to Face,” p. 141)

This slim, elegant volume will be appreciated by all serious readers—regardless of their level of interest in the history of the American Civil War. The fifteen essays may be approached either whole as one would enjoy a gourmet meal, or individually as one would savor a box of the finest hand-crafted chocolates.  
       My own particular preference is the latter approach, and I find myself periodically returning to a number of the essays only to be rewarded with some new insight or lovely locution I’d not previously paused to enjoy.
 
     Gramm artfully weaves history, personal experience, literature, and theology in a reflection that’s as deep and lovely as a mountaintop lake in summer. If you’ve ever wondered what a conflict that’s been alternately relegated to the dusty pages of distant memory and rekindled in the flesh of living history may mean in the broad stroke of American life and experience, these essays will stimulate mindful reflection. Even if your only goal in reading this book is to enjoy good prose, you will not be disappointed.

Review By Sharron Lucas

 

 

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