Book review: Salvation, by Jeff Mann

 

Mann SalvationMann, Jeff. Salvation: A Novel of the Civil War. Bear Bones Books/Lethe Press. 2014. $18. 277p. PB. 978-1-59021-406-0.

In his sequel to the Civil War novel Purgatory, Mann continues with the story of loyal Rebel, Ian Campbell, serving in his uncle’s small ragtag regiment, who is put in charge of and then falls in love with big handsome blond POW Yankee soldier, Drew Conrad. In the earlier novel, Campbell had saved Conrad from death by torture, orchestrated by his angry uncle (who lost his property and family to the Yankees) and his closeted homophobic sidekick. Salvation is aptly named, as the two men endure many missteps and challenges before they meet, when they finally meet up in the mountains of western Virginia with a lesbian former slave Tessa, whose lover, disguised as a man, is fighting in the Rebel army.

A prolific author and creative writing teacher at Virginia Tech University, Mann is well-versed in descriptions of torture and violence in the Civil War. Despite the large amount of documentaries about the Civil War, well-crafted historical novels show the real horror of this terrible war.

Libraries that collect gay historical fiction, Civil War novels, and LGBT fiction will want these books as well as Mann’s other works.

 

James Doig Anderson, Professor Emeritus of Library and Information Science

Rutgers University

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