A Bright Tragic Thing: A Tale of Civil War Texas

L. D. Clark, Author Cinco Puntos Press $13.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-938317-17-3
In Texas in October 1862, more than 40 Union sympathizers were summarily executed by supporters of the Confederacy in an episode that became known as the Great Hanging at Gainesville. Clark ( A Charge of Angels ), a descendant of one of the murdered men, here offers a fictionalized account of the massacre. The novel focuses on young Todd Blair, whose father is among the Union sympathizers rounded up by local slaveholders loyal to the Confederacy. Most of the story takes place during the month or so between the time Todd's father is taken into custody and the time he is hanged. Todd tries in several ways to save his father from the noose; in the process he falls in love with the beautiful niece of the man who orders his father killed, then shoots to death--under morally unassailable circumstances--the most heinous `most murderous killer' seems redundant of the Confederate killers. As history, the book is, by the author's own admission, unreliable, a story in which ``truth to the spirit of the event . . . takes precedence over a strict adherence to history.'' As fiction, the book is a little too pat, its air of teenage adventure and young, impetuous love at odds with the morbid reality of historical events. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 07/01/1996
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-938317-18-0
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