"It's Andersonville. Men die for no meaning." Such is the overwhelming impression felt while reading Tracy Groot's "The Sentinels of Andersonville" (Tyndale House, $24.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9781414359489), which focuses on the evils both within and without the infamous Civil War prison. Yankee soldiers died by the thousands in squalid conditions that Groot describes with a deft accuracy, interspersed with historical accounts and journal entries from men who died and men who lived.A privileged but well-meaning Southern belle named Violet Stiles discovers the shocking abuses at Andersonville. Aided by a possible suitor named Dance Pickett and a Rebel soldier named Emery Jones, who had to deliver his newfound Yankee friend to the prison, they form a society to bring the horrors to light. Their hometown of Americus, Georgia, is not far from Andersonville, but its residents wish to remain removed from the goings-on there, even when confronted with the sad reality. Groot ably captures the despair of prisoners and soldiers alike, as well as the divided emotions of the Southern townsfolk, who have lost sons to the cause and hate the Yankees but want to be "good Christians." When told of the appalling cesspool that is Andersonville, many won't believe, others believe but won't act, and still more focus only on the technicalities and red tape involved. Groot truthfully renders the struggle between patriotism and Christ's call to help the suffering regardless of their affiliation.--Book Page
Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.
Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.
As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor?