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The Sentinels of Andersonville Hardcover – January 17, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Emery Jones, an idealistic Confederate soldier, finally captures a Union soldier after a long standoff, he comes to respect his adversary on the trek to the infamous Andersonville prison and vows that he will be safe. When Emery meets Dance Pickett, an aristocratic Southern militiaman and the estranged son of a famous father, he discovers a kindred soul who believes that the Union prisoners are also God’s children. Violet Stiles, who has devised a way to make much-needed buttons for the Confederate soldiers, goes to Andersonville seeking a shipment of supplies, and sees starving, dying, and dead Union soldiers. Appalled that her beloved father, a physician who volunteers there, hasn’t done more, she decides to form a group to feed the prisoners, only to discover that doing the right thing can have unexpectedly difficult repercussions. Groot’s three young Southern protagonists find friendship and love in the midst of adversity as they follow the moral path, even though it may mean death and dishonor. Groot’s (Stones of My Accusers, 2004) well-researched, inspirational historical tale, with its frank depiction of the atrocities at Andersonville and realistic portrayal of characters who question what it truly means to be Christian, will be compelling and memorable for a diverse audience. --Diana Tixier Herald


"The Sentinels of Andersonville is Tracy Groot's beautifully written retelling of an age-old story of the triumph of compassion in the midst of horror and evil. Set in and around the Andersonville Prison, the lives of three Southerners converge as they plot to save a friend. Transformation and redemption are at the heart of The Sentinels of Andersonville. Tracy Groot proves to be first-rate storyteller." New York Times Best-Selling Author, Robert HicksThe Widow of the South and A Separate Country

"A poignant, heartwarming story of how human kindness and the willingness to take risks can make a difference."

James. M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Battle Cry of Freedom

Author Tracy Groot has "Good historical homework",  "Memorable characters whose anguish is palpable", is "Page-turning", and has "A good instinct".
 Publisher's Weekly Starred Review, Nov '13 

EDITOR'S CHOICE! - "This novel is a stirring story that demands to be read in one sitting because readers won't want to leave these unforgettable characters, and Tracy Groot could not have done a better job with this topic. Even while giving us horrifying visions of "fence-posts" of dead soldiers, we still cannot help but reach for that ultimate gift of a happily- ever-after. The Sentinels of Andersonville is a wonderfully powerful and evocative story that I would recommend to any historical fiction fan."
Historical Novel Society, UK, Feb '14

"Well-researched, inspirational historical tale...compelling and memorable for a diverse audience."
Booklist Review, Jan '14

“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)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (January 17, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1414359489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414359489
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (288 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tracy Groot is the critically acclaimed and Christy Award-winning author of several works of historical fiction. Her books have received starred Booklist and Publishers Weekly reviews and have been called "beautifully written" and "page-turning" by Publishers Weekly, and "gripping" with "exquisitely drawn" characters by Library Journal.

Tracy and her husband have three sons, one daughter (in-law) and live in Hudsonville, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By mamaof4 on February 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover
"The Sentinels of Andersonville" by Tracy Groot, Book Review
Every country has parts of its history that it would like to erase, and the American Civil War should fall into that category. Brother against brother, families and farms ruined by the war and fighting of men. And the fall out of the war was the prisoners. This is the center of this novel, the Andersonville Prison, near the end of the war. The conditions were so bad that the stench could be smelled from a distance away. The South lacked the resources to care for these northern prisoners and so did little.

The novel is extremely detailed, and seems to move very slowly. I was a bit surprised by the Note to the Reader at the very beginning of the book describing that many of the details of the book include unimaginable sufferings, and not sure I even wanted to read any farther. But I did. And it was true. The details were, well, terrible, but showed what really happened.

I had a very difficult time getting into the book, figuring out the characters, following the plots, making since of the story. The details of the conditions were not so terrible that I could not read it, but I think slowed the progress of the story. Overall, this was not a favorite book, and I would only recommend it for those who really enjoy the details of the Civil War.

Disclaimer: I received this from Tyndale Publishers. All opinions expressed are my own.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Shane Lems VINE VOICE on October 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was looking forward to sitting down last night and getting a good start on this book, "The Sentinels of Andersonville." However, I was pretty disappointed after about 20 minutes.

Why? Not because of the subject matter; Groot does her best to tell it like it was. Instead, I was disappointed because it is a difficult and cumbersome read. There are so many names, nicknames, places, and people that it was hard for me to keep track of who was who, what was what, and where was where. Basically, it was an overload of information for me, and it was written in a rather scattered way; there are too many things going on at once. (For the record, my wife wanted to read it too, but didn't get far into it for the same reasons.)

Some readers who already know a lot about Andersonville might like this novel; others who like a mass of details will also like it. However, if you're looking for a clear and straightforward read, you may want to pass on this. Don't forget to use the "Look Inside" feature to see the writing style for yourself.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J4Life5 on July 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Prior to reading this book, I was familiar with Andersonville only as being the name of a Confederate prison during the Civil War. One of my favorite things about reading historical fiction is that I learn a bit about history that I didn't know before. On rare occasions, a book is so well-researched and presents historical information in such an intriguing way that I feel compelled to read more books on the subject. That is what happened while reading The Sentinels of Andersonville.

I already knew I enjoyed Groot's writing style because I really enjoyed her book Flames of Resistance, but I do think this one is even better. Everything about this book was spot on - the description, the plot, and the characters. If I had anything negative to say, it would be that there were so many characters that sometimes I had to think for a couple of moments to remember the specifics of some of the minor characters, such as the townspeople.

This book is not only good from a historical perspective, but also because the message is so relevant. Sacrifice, loving your enemies, standing up for what is right, even if you are standing alone, mercy, and keeping your word despite the cost are just some of the ideas Groot explores through her characters. I especially like her comments in the afterword about asking ourselves not, "What would Jesus do?" but asking, "What can I do right now?". It really challenges readers to make a difference day by day in our communities and the people we come in contact with.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great historical fiction read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Slayzar on December 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Andersonville is a tough subject in historical discourse as the former CSA concentration camp of captured Union soldiers is riddled with harrowing stories of pain, misery, neglect, and death. To many in the South, Andersonville is still a taboo subject as, many would argue, reconciliation between northern and southern states has yet to be achieved. Upon reading the description of The Sentinels of Andersonville I expected to hear mostly of the Andersonville Raiders and the subsequent Regulators that stopped them or, perhaps, a Gone With the Wind Meets Auschwitz. What I got was none of the above although author Tracy Groot (seriously resisting Guardians of the Galaxy reference) does attempt to complete the latter. Instead, Groot takes the reader on a somewhat haphazard journey that ends up confusing the reader more as the story meanders between seemingly non-connected stories that almost require the reader to go back and study what happened before moving on.

In short there just doesn't seem to be any focus, no real overarching story to tie everything together other than Andersonville itself. The stories almost seem like vignettes but one can tell that the author intended them to connect. On top of that, several seemingly interesting subjects (more interesting than the current story in many cases) get referenced casually and then dismissed leaving the reader with a sense of, "I wanted to know more about that," only to have the author go, "Nope! Moving on with MY story!"

I tried very hard to stay focused on the book but, if the author cannot make the same commitment, neither can I. The book's language may be authentic as are the themes of Andersonville but, with a lack of focus, one cannot simply get involved. Sentinels of Andersonville is a case study of good subjects that are less than adequately written.

I'd still recommend reading it if you can but be ready to run the gauntlet.
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