- Paperback: 316 pages
- Publisher: Gypsy Shadow Publishing Company (August 26, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0984452141
- ISBN-13: 978-0984452149
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,954,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Thirst for War Paperback – August 26, 2010
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He tracks the experience of one particular man as his 'Thirst for War', which is mostly due to the family traditions of his childhood, and a desire to prove his manhood, takes him to the bloody heart of it.
On John Ulysses Martin's tragic journey we also see the many facets of this conflict that lay on the far periphery of the actual combat. The town of Clarksville Tennessee is occupied by a large unit of Union soldiers. The townsfolk try to continue their lives with some normality while an alien force resides in their midst.
In the position of absolute power over the town most of the yankee soldiers maintain at least a semblance of decent behavior, but there are instances of brutality by one sergeant who lets his hate give leave to his bullying instincts.
The Mayor of the town has to deal with Union commander and his position of elected leader subverted by the occupation.
John is in love with Lydia the Mayor's daughter, but inexplicably, (to her) he takes a group of his students from the, now closed university, off to find the war. John's combat experience begins with a skirmish and ends on the bloody fields of Antietam. I have walked those fields and the descriptions of combat are unmercifully authentic. The tragic results of this fight leave John shorn of his illusions of the glory of war.
He is captured. After a harrowing escape, his reward is a new mission back in Clarksville. We see civilians commit to a sortie into combat in order to destroy the strategic bridge over the Cumberland River.
Mr. Gustavson Has created a novel that includes a tender love love story, with all the ups and downs of budding romance, further complicated by the drumbeat of a monstrous war as background. His description of an occupied town, and the courage of its citizens just trying to get along, is compassionate and moving. There is depth to the characters and you feel their reality, and the horrible reality of war.
The book goes beyond the war to the human experience and emotions of people under great stress. You don't need to be a history buff to read it and walk away feeling you had a great read, and maybe learned a few things.
It kept me up at night.