Welcome to First Line Friday,
hosted by Hoarding Books.
Today’s featured quote is taken from an Advance Reading Copy and may differ from the published text.
When Smith Publicity offered to send me an Advance Reading Copy of General Meade: A Novel of the Civil War by Robert Kofman to feature on my Instagram account, I hesitated, but the cover and the promise of learning about a little-known-to-me Civil War General and I quickly accepted. So there I was, second-guessing what I thought had been a yes to a 500+ page work of non-fiction, when it arrived and it was immediately clear that I had somehow missed an important word: novel.
Not a typical book to share for First Line Friday – or so you might think. But early on there are important elements to this story of a deeply held love and of a faith that sees him through. Now I’m over midway through what may be the longest historical fiction novel I read this year, and I am so fascinated that other books are sitting unfinished so that I can focus on General Meade.
Here’s the synopsis that drew me in:
As the civil war raged on, President Lincoln desperately sought a commander to defeat the seemingly invincible Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, whose army had invaded Pennsylvania. Lincoln turned to the Old Snapping Turtle, General George Meade—a courageous man with remarkable integrity and a fiery temper—to save the Union during its greatest time of need.
Just three short days after taking command, General Meade confronts Lee’s army at Gettysburg, resulting in the bloodiest and most dramatic battle of the war. Delivering a glorious victory, at first heralded as a hero who turned the tide of the war, General Meade falls victim to a nefarious smear campaign that threatens to ruin his reputation and his career. The general is forced to muster all of his strength to persevere against an onslaught of political and newspaper attacks, all while leading the Army of the Potomac and serving his superiors: General Ulysses S. Grant and President Lincoln.
In General Meade, readers will be struck with how contemporary the themes are, a country so divided by a contentious social issue – slavery – that it fights a civil war. There are polarized political parties, partisan newspaper attacks, false news stories, war heroes and villains, a controversial President leading the country through a crisis, leaked Congressional testimony and an unscrupulous Congressional Committee out to destroy the careers of generals who don’t share its political ideology.
And here are the first lines: