Powderkeg

Leo V. Gordon, Author, Richard Vetterli, With Presidio Press $19.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-89141-435-3
Screenwriter Gordon and Brigham Young University professor Vetterli debut in the historical fiction genre with this intriguing tale based on a real incident. The time is 1857-1858, during the presidency of James Buchanan. Secessionists abound in the nation's capital, including Secretary of War John B. Floyd. The ringleader of a conspiracy which includes Mississippi senator Jefferson Davis, Floyd launches a scheme to weaken the army by sending 30,000 troops to Utah to put down a fictitious rebellion by Mormon settlers. The real purpose of the expedition, led by future Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston, is to gain control of Salt Lake City so that Johnston and his troops are in position to take California when the South secedes. An important moment in antebellum history is effectively recreated through appealing characterizations and the judicious use of background detail. If the authors employ many cliches of the historical romance, they also shed light on a dramatic juncture in our nation's development. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1991
Release date: 07/01/1999
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-89141-506-0
Hardcover - 602 pages - 978-1-56054-337-4
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