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Sons of My Fathers Paperback – July 29, 2016
The Amazon Book Review
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From the Back Cover
Sons of My Fathers intertwines two dramatic stories--the heroic saga of 19-year-old Ulysses Simpson, who joins with his father Baylis to protect their family as the American Civil War rages around them; and the true story of another young Simpson man six generations later who follows the family tradition of service to the country and enlists in the military at the height of the Vietnam War.
In 1864, Baylis Simpson is a sharecropper whose North Georgia farm stands on a line between General Sherman's Army and Kennesaw Mountain, the "Gibraltar of the South" that is the Confederacy's last hope of stopping the destruction of Atlanta. When "hell comes to Georgia" Baylis's youngest daughter suffers a horrifying tragedy that sets Baylis and Ulysses on a course of revenge, a decision that will forever change the destiny of their clan.
One hundred years later, when Baylis's descendent Ron Simpson is assigned to fly a Huey gunship as a U.S. Army pilot, he fights a personal war within himself over whether to keep a century-old family oath. Ron's fateful decision forces him to confront his family's past and risk sacrificing his own future.
Deeply personal and compellingly written, Sons of My Fathers is an evocative journey into the author's family history and the universal themes central to it--the bonds of family and star-crossed love, duty versus faith, the true nature of patriotism and conscience in war, and the turbulent end of innocence. Rich in emotional textures, this multi-generational saga is a transformative and timeless coming-of-age narrative.
About the Author
Michael A. Simpson is a writer, director and producer of award-winning documentaries and feature films (whose credits include the Oscar-winning "Crazy Heart," "Hysteria," and "Kidnapping Mr. Heineken"). He grew up in dark rooms watching flickering images on a screen, is a connoisseur of raisin oatmeal cookies, a walking storehouse of music knowledge and trivia, finds reasons to get his passport inked whenever possible, and remains a "rebel without a pause." "Sons of My Fathers," based on his family's history, is his first book.
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Top customer reviews
Welcome to “Sons of My Father” by Michael Simpson.
Simpson tells two stories in this book. One is set largely in 1864, when Simpson’s small farmer ancestors (they were not slave owners) find the entire family caught up in the Civil War as both soldiers and non-combatants. After capturing Chattanooga, General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union army is advancing on Atlanta.
The countryside is in chaos – advance Union patrols, retreating Confederate soldiers, roaming bands of deserters and even criminals. Baylis Simpson has four sons fighting for the South and a daughter, son, and granddaughter at home. A band of deserters or criminals happens upon the two girls; the daughter is raped and the granddaughter is murdered. Baylis, on leave from the Georgia Home Guard for planting, tracks them down, and exacts revenge, the rapist meeting a particularly gruesome death. Baylis and one of his sons will then find their army units and discover themselves at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, the last hurdle before Sherman can take Atlanta.
This is the South in the Civil War. Lawlessness everywhere, law and order breaking down, farms often stripped of anything edible and women and children left to starve.
The second story starts in the early 1960s. Three boys – Alex Granger, Ron Simpson, and Ron’s younger brother Michael – are the closest of friends. Alex grows up with the Simpsons almost as a member of the family. His own father is dead and Ron and Michael’s father Harold, a veteran World War II Marine, helps to raise him.
The boys get into the kinds of pranks and escapades that boys often did in the 1960s. But as Alex and Ron graduate from high school, they decide to enlist in the Army. And what’s hanging over both of them is the Vietnam War.
Moving back and forth between the two narratives, Simpson paints a picture of the effects of war, the divisiveness of war, and the tremendous stresses that families experience in wartime. He also paints a picture of what happens when a highly trained helicopter pilot, understanding what happened with the My Lai Massacre, decides he can’t participate in the killing of the enemy. (This is based on a historical situation involving Ron Simpson, one that went to trial in federal court in Atlanta.)
Michael Simpson is a screenwriter, director, and producer of documentaries and feature films. His credits include the movies “Crazy Heart” and “Kidnaping Mr. Heineken” among many others. This is his first novel.
“Sons of My Fathers” is gripping, moving, and eye-opening. It tells the story of how the idea of duty and honor infuses families down through the generations. And it tells what happens when duty and honor collide with conscience