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Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the American Civil War Paperback – December 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Anaphora Literary Press (December 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937536149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937536145
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,639,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert Redd VINE VOICE on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am really not much of a poetry reader as my 12th grade english teacher could probably tell you. That's why when S. Thomas Summers contacted me about reading his book of Civil War related poetry I had to give it some thought. I'm glad I did because this turned out to be quite the little gem!

In a series of brief, mostly one page or less, poems we follow the growth and maturation of young Private Hercules McGraw. McGraw and two friends enlist in the Confederate army. McGraw joins because he feels he has to own a slave in order to win the heart and hand of Martha Lane. McGraw here clearly puts the cause of the war as slavery; "the new president up in Washington is planning on making all them free".

The three young soldiers end up at Shiloh where two key events take place for young Hercules: he shoots his first Yankee and he also finds his friend Nate dead on the battlefield. Seeing his friend dead leads Hercules to question his motives for fighting. As the war progresses Hercules finds himself becoming more soldier like. He feels he no longer has an opinion and just does as he is told. It was best not to think.

The poem Regrets contains my favorite lines from the book:

....Walked into the war
thinking I was doing some good
but the war never noticed I was there.
I could of sneaked off, slunk into some hole

and nobody would have guessed I was gone.
Then I could have talked to Jesus again---

It is in this poem that Hercules and his friend Willy sneak off eventually joining a regiment that ended up in Gettysburg.

While at Gettysburg Hercules compares Abraham Lincoln to Satan and also continues to grow up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rusty on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback
Poetry lovers, civil war buffs, and historians alike. Sit back and get ready to go on a journey of a life time with Thomas S. Summers as he brings to life Private Hercules McGraw and his treacherous life during one of Americas bloodiest wars, the American Civil War. After reading some of the finest war time poetry, you will leave with a sense of what it was like for the soldiers and their families. You will sense the fear and uncertainty in the daily lives of the common solider. A must read! You will come away smelling the aroma of black powder in the air!
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By W.A. Dennison, Jr. on December 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have just had the opportunity to read a slim volume of War Between the States poetry centered on a young Confederate soldier from Tennessee named Hercules McGraw. The book is a collection of original works by S. Thomas Summers titled "Private Hercules McGraw: Poems of the American Civil War"

When I received it, I unwrapped it, glanced through it and literally could not put it down; I read the entire volume in a single evening. It is written as free verse, largely in the vernacular, and is a gut wrenching, intimate glimpse of the hell that war really is. It also reflects the thoughts, privations and heartache of a private soldier in one of the most brutal conflicts this country has ever seen.

If you are an enthusiast of the history and circumstances of the War Between the States, particularly from the point of view of the individual soldier, this definitely has a place in your library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I strongly recommend this book. It is poetry without a doubt, so if you like poetry jump in.
But if poetry normally sends you headed in the other direction stick around for a bit.
The prose itself evokes the landscape and horrors of the war, but the poetry is written in a conversational tone that is easy to identify with.

Within the poetry is a narrative continuity of a young man who finds himself on a dread journey through war in which he realizes that no one sold him the right bill of goods to life.
It's an interesting journey; go on it with him.
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By Excession on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This slim volume of poems really captures the sense and the feel of war poetry. There's a story woven through them, and it gains in power as it goes along. The most impressive aspect of the poems, to my mind, is the way that war humanizes Hercules and sets his priorities straight.

It brings to mind that experience, that many of us have had at some point in our lives, of realizing that there are very few things of real value in life, but those that remain are love, relationships, and the other gifts that we sometimes take for granted.
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