Title: The Spur & The Sash: Middle Tennessee, 1865: A Novel
Author: Robert Grede
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Reviewer: Dave Brown
ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 159598092X
The Spur & The Sash is about a real person. Sergeant George Van Norman, a Yankee, was wounded in one of the last battles of the American Civil War, at Nashville. Left behind to recover when the armies marched on, he was ordered to guard a local plantation from January to July, 1865, where he fell in love with the owner's daughter. That much is fact. The story begins with his wounding at the battle, follows him to the plantation where he meets the woman, her family, and the former slaves who have been emancipated but have no place to go. George befriends a former Confederate soldier and, together, they overcome carpetbaggers, deserters from both sides, mobs of wandering blacks, and bushwhackers marauding throughout Middle Tennessee, including precursors of the Ku Klux Klan. Meticulously researched using letters, diaries, and official records, this is a story of passion and betrayal amid the anarchy of postwar Tennessee. George left behind a spur and a sash, passed down through the generations to the author, his great-great-grandson, along with the story of how he came to have them. This is that story.