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Book Review: Searching For General Lee: A Civil War Novel by Barrett Dowell

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Barrett Dowell skillfully weaves a dramatic story around the Second Battle of Manassas, an offensive campaign waged by General Robert E. Lee and Major General John Pope. Searching for General Lee: A Civil War Novel is told from the point of view of Chadwick Curtis, a youth from outside Warrenton, Virginia.

Chadwick is on a mission to deliver a message to General Lee. Although not a soldier, he is faced with confusion regarding the implications of secession from the Union. As a member of a plantation family he is comfortable in his life and resists change, even as he struggles with the moral question of slavery, and the question of war.

In his search for General Lee, Chadwick is witness to the inhumanity of battle along with the courage and dedication of the fighting men. Chadwick’s growth in character is a heartwarming take away from an unforgettable story of profound soul-searching historical fiction.

Barrett Dowell delivers a compelling story rich in the consistent use of powerful descriptive phrases that capture the reader’s awareness of each of the five senses.

For example: “I could hear the screaming of Yankees trapped in their burning tents…a strange sight…with every flash of lightning we could see…” Another example: “The smell of wood smoke was heavily drifting into Chadwick’s nostrils as he…”

Barrett’s engaging dialog, vibrant language, and good visual writing create a clear picture of action that drives the story forward. Well-developed character descriptions lead to a participatory sense of drama and reader identification.

Searching for General Lee: A Civil War Novel by Barrett Dowell is a dramatic action-packed fictional account of a significant Civil War Battle, and will be enjoyed by history buffs young and old. Highly recommended.

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About Carol Hoyer

  • For another well-reviewed Civil War novel about a soldier who survived Andersonville google Hiram’s Honor.