Soldier Boys

Daniel Panger, Author Resource Publications (CA) $14.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-89390-102-8
More a collection of set pieces than a novel, this 10th effort by Panger (Black Ulysses) follows 19-year-old Josh and his boyhood chum Luke as they leave their Alabama farm homes in 1862 to join the Confederate Army. They travel to Virginia, take part in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, witness the lynching of three black Union soldiers, are captured (and ""paroled'') by black Yankees and watch their best friend Davy falsely accused of desertion and executed. There are also lighter vignettes: a funny meal served by the Ladies' Aid, a sergeant's tale of youthful lost love, Luke's first experience with sex. Pervading the tale are descriptions of the filth, discomfort and gore of Army life. Unfortunately, Panger's prose is undistinguished, the characters take on little depth, the dialogue is clumsily ``Southern'' and the narrative fails to elicit deep feeling. (January)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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