cover image Dream's End: Two Iowa Brothers in the Civil War

Dream's End: Two Iowa Brothers in the Civil War

Orr Kelly, Author, Mary Davies Kelly, Joint Author Kodansha America $25 (304p) ISBN 978-1-56836-226-7

Joined by his wife, genealogist Mary Davies Kelly, journalist Orr Kelly (Brave Men, Dark Waters and From a Dark Sky) shifts from popular accounts of navy and air force special operations to excavate the Civil War experiences of two great-uncles, Andrew and Barney Brayman. Both fought for the Union, one died in the process and neither left any diaries or letters to illuminate their story. Thus, their biographers are forced into much conjecture, and have cobbled together a book based on the published histories of the brothers' units, the after-action reports of their commanders and diaries and letters of those with whom they served. Andrew died in the Battle of Marks' Mills, Ark. (April 25, 1864), in the midst of an inconsequential campaign. Barney served in the cavalry under Sherman, was taken prisoner in late July of 1864 and spent six months in the notorious prison at Andersonville before being exchanged. Having contracted tuberculosis at Andersonville, he died in 1871 at age 24. Andrew and Barney move like vague shadows across the vivid backdrop of this book, which--given the absence of any direct knowledge as to the brothers' hopes, motives, emotions and experiences--is, unfortunately, all backdrop. 20-plus illustrations. (Oct.)