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The Battle Hymn Blues by [Lawley, Baker]
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The Battle Hymn Blues Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Length: 244 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Baker Lawley has worked as a septic system tester, a lifeguard, a school uniform salesman, an editor, a freelance writer, and currently as a Professor of Creative Writing and English. He is an award-winning writer of young adult novels, short stories, and writing guides, with stories published in prestigious literary journals like Copper Nickel, The Cream City Review, Eleven Eleven, and The Southeast Review. Baker lives with his wife and daughter and a very lazy hounddog in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can follow Baker, contact him, and get a free ebook at his website, www.bakerlawley.com.

Product Details

  • File Size: 964 KB
  • Print Length: 244 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615694802
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: ECRH Press (March 25, 2012)
  • Publication Date: March 25, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007OVUJ0O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,409,703 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A friend recommended this book to me and though I am 36, and the novel is for young adults, I decided to give it a try. Before reading the novel, I was leery of two things: 1) I'm not normally a fan of paranormal or supernatural elements. I feel they've been over-used of late, 2) I don't like the way most authors try to "explain" the South to wider audiences, detailing minutiae rather than just painting a picture of the culture. However, this book proved both concerns to be invalid.

Baker Lawley takes the time to craft a portrait of the South through character insights, plot elements and wonderful imagery. Readers are introduced to Civil War re-enactments, biscuits at a country store, kudzu, small-town gossip and small-town loyalty, without being beaten over the head with the idea that these things exist just "because it's the South." It's not trite, cliche, or overwrought...It's just a great story that happens to be set in Alabama.

The paranormal elements of the story are also well-used. The supernatural occurrences are believable and serve a purpose by offering unique insight into the protagonist and the players around him.

But, my absolute favorite part of this novel was Stoney's voice. While reading, I found myself wishing I'd known a kid like this in high school, and when I was done reading, I had that sense of loss...You know, when you enjoy a character so much that you kind of miss being in their head when the book is done. I missed Stoney Nix, and it's been awhile since I've encountered a character in a novel that I enjoyed so much.

In conclusion, while I would certainly recommend the book to any young readers, I recommend it just as strongly to adults as well. The plot is interesting, the characters are endearing, and the setting and imagery is extraordinary, no matter what the reader's age or gender.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The Battle Hymn of Stonewall Nix by Baker Lawley is an YA novel perfectly targeted at young male readers - a demographic which teachers like me agree is under served. Protagonist Stonewall Nix is the son of a rabid Civil War demonstrator in the sleepy town of Pine Bough. He and his best friend Clyde, an African American high school football star who also happens to play in the marching band, lazily contemplate the LCDs - lowest common denominators - of high school and the One More Reason's why life in their dying old lumber mill town sucks. Then, just as the Board of Ed is getting ready to cut marching band from the curriculum, the new girl comes to town. Motivated by teen lust, a shared love of, of all things, marching band and American history, and Sadie's red hair, Stoney decides to join his father's re-enactors for the first time to impress the girl. Lawley's book embraces the awkwardness of high school, reaffirms the importance of having a sense of place, and, most importantly, is a love song to the blues.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had no idea what to expect when I picked up this book and it turned out to be one of the best books I read in 2012. The voice was fresh and unique...it made me THINK about this story - about the main character - for weeks after I'd finished.

One of the most interesting aspects of this book to me was how music was such an integral part of Stoney's existence. I live with people who have perfect pitch (thank goodness I don't, it seems more of a curse than a blessing) and live their lives to their own personal soundtrack. The way Lawley wrote Stoney's internal monologue in relation to music was SO real to me because of that.

I also loved the way the past kept intruding on the present. Not only the obsession with the past (real or imagined) that Stoney's dad has, but the way the Lawley weaves the past and present together into a whole new tapestry. It's not quite a ghost story, it's not quite magical realism...or is it? It's awesome, whatever it is.

Really loved it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm from Alabama, a small town that does hold Civil War reenactments, so perhaps that is one reason why this book particularly resonates with me. It is such a fascinating reflection on the role of history in creating culture- the importance of knowing your history, but not making the past your future. The crucial need to get the facts right, and not romanticize it. And it's about living through music, biracial friendship and trying to escape where you're from... This book is filled with so many thought-provoking, discussion-starting issues that ask more questions than they answer. And it's all wrapped up in a utterly compelling story about growing up in a small southern town, dealing with tragedy, struggling parents, creating your own identity, finding true friends that challenge and support you and taking responsibility to make your own community better. I don't know how the author manages to take what could be a tragic story and make it terribly sweet, funny, thought-provoking and uplifting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was very pleasantly surprised with Baker Lawley's "Battle Hymn Blues" and look forward to reading more by this author. His characters are well developed, and the teen angst is portrayed accurately, I think. As a born and bred Southerner, I was a little concerned, at first, that this was going to be a diatribe against all things Southern, but actually felt that he did a good job of examining the subject matter of the civil war and reenactors. While most, I think, enjoy reenacting purely for the historical aspects and the enjoyment, there are those who seem to live in the past. Baker helps to put into perspective that there should be a healthy balance between appreciating our history and learning from it, and in trying to relive it.
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