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I highly commend Al Arnold on his historical memoir. He writes about one of the most famous African American Confederate participants of the Civil War, his very own ancestor, Turner Hall, Jr. Arnold uses his own recollections of stories passed down through the generations along with photos to instill in today’s Southerners, especially those of African American descent, that they should be proud of their Confederate heritage, because their ancestors earned it. He stresses that through Christ, African Americans can rise above the thoughts of past injustices done to them and become great Christian men of honor and success. However, he stresses, that they must rethink who they are and learn to work together, not fight each other, to better their lives.
By telling Mr. Hall’s story with the backdrop of the Civil War, Mr. Arnold demonstrates the greatness already embedded in the African American ancestry, even when their stories have went mostly untold; left forgotten, which is a grave travesty.
You cannot tell the history of the Civil War without African Americans. It is impossible to tell one without the other. This is not solely because of slavery. In the beginning, the Northerners believed the “insurrection” would end within six months. They never imagined the power of African American Confederates to keep the war going year after year. It is a testament to the tenacity as much as the sheer determination of Confederate blacks to fight for and with
their Caucasian counterparts and practically family. These children grew up together. When the white soldiers went off to fight, they took their childhood friends along to look after their needs as well as workloads. Most other slaves kept the homelands profiting in order to enable the war to continue for as long as it did. They did not rebel en mass like the Northerners believed they would.
I loved that Mr. Arnold was able to finally, as a historian, remind laymen of this fact. As a historian, myself, I remember the saying, “History was always written by the victor”. It wasn’t until the ladder part of the twentieth century that any other story was given any merit much less any care. However, Mr. Arnold reminds us that this false sense of history was far from the truth. He reminds us that real history is so much richer and more complex than we have ever been lead to believe. And, the untold stories need to be told in order for us to keep the momentum going, to keep each one of our heritages alive and thriving. There is so much more to this book than meets the eye. And, the proof can be found in the life of Mr. Turner Hall, Jr.
Thank you Publish Green and NetGalley for giving me a free copy of this book to read and give an honest review.