Since I’ve been in school the last two years, my “pleasure” reading has piled up. No, I mean that literally. I have a stack(s) of about 40 books that I’m finally getting to work my way through. Oh, I read plenty for school, it’s just that…well, it was for school and so it was kinda like work.
Anyway, I just recently finished reading Free Comic Book Day’s (FCBD) Civil War Adventure, one of the two books I picked up when I was also a guest at Heroes and Dreams down in Brandon, Mississippi. It was actually a book I encouraged Brett to get as he has a growing interest in history and the Civil War. He flipped through it, but it didn’t interest him. Yes, I was a bit surprised.
Now I know why. And, actually, I’m so relieved he didn’t pick it up.
The first thing that hit me was that it is very inappropriate for younger audiences. Or, to use terminology of today, it is certainly not family friendly! In an interview with Chuck Dixon, who wrote one of the stories in the book, he said, “Our work is family friendly stuff so there was no concern about content.” Whoa! He must have been talking about a different issue, because this one is replete with language that should earn it a PG-13 rating! And in the end, there is a detailed sequence on how surgeon’s amputated limbs of wounded soldiers. Very interesting, but also very visually graphic and NOT “all ages.”
FCBD’s site advertises the book as “historically accurate stories of the war.” Granted, I read elsewhere (probably the interview) that they were fictionalized accounts—but the publisher is promoting the accuracy. Unfortunately, an amateur’s mistake is made when the text indicates the Emancipation Proclamation “frees the slaves in the South.” Of course, even amateur historians know this isn’t the case, and that the EP was merely political posturing. Effective yes, but still merely a proclamation with no legal power or authority.
And to top it off, the stories are just bad. There’s no real reason to get emotionally attached to the disposable characters. “Gator Bait” (which makes most Southerners think of U of F football) gives all of about three sentences worth of information regarding blockade runners with no actual historical figures to teach us about. The jerk gets his due at the end—no real surprise there. The second story, “I rode with the devil,” is slightly better in that it touches on Bloody Bill Anderson and displays his violence on Jayhawkers. Problem with this story, though, is the central focus is on a fictionalized character that we don’t get the opportunity to really get emotionally vested in.
And to add insult to injury—though this will probably surprise very few Southerners—all the Southerners are portrayed in a negative light, while the one Northern-sympathizer is nice…his off-screen son is portrayed as evil, though. Of course, that portrayal comes from evil Bloody Bill.
Generally, I like Chuck Dixon’s work…that’s partly why I’m so surprised this is just so bad. I mean, he even uses “y’all” as singular!
Don’t waste your money on this one.
Wait…it was free.
Okay, so don’t waste your time on it. I can list 50 things better and more accurate!