The Sentinels of Andersonville

( 32 )

Overview

2015 Christy Award finalist!
ECPA 2015 Christian Book Award Finalist!
Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

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Overview

2015 Christy Award finalist!
ECPA 2015 Christian Book Award Finalist!
Near the end of the Civil War, inhumane conditions at Andersonville Prison caused the deaths of 13,000 Union soldiers in only one year. In this gripping and affecting novel, three young Confederates and an entire town come face-to-face with the prison’s atrocities and will learn the cost of compassion, when withheld and when given.

Sentry Dance Pickett has watched, helpless, for months as conditions in the camp worsen by the day. He knows any mercy will be seen as treason. Southern belle Violet Stiles cannot believe the good folk of Americus would knowingly condone such barbarism, despite the losses they’ve suffered. When her goodwill campaign stirs up accusations of Union sympathies and endangers her family, however, she realizes she must tread carefully. Confederate corporal Emery Jones didn’t expect to find camaraderie with the Union prisoner he escorted to Andersonville. But the soldier’s wit and integrity strike a chord in Emery. How could this man be an enemy? Emery vows that their unlikely friendship will survive the war—little knowing what that promise will cost him.

As these three young Rebels cross paths, Emery leads Dance and Violet to a daring act that could hang them for treason. Wrestling with God’s harsh truth, they must decide, once and for all, Who is my neighbor? Tyndale House Publishers

2015 Christy Award Finalist for Historical Fiction

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 11/18/2013
Christy winner Groot (Flame of Resistance) uses the Civil War atrocity at Andersonville Prison, where 13,000 Union prisoners died in a single year, as the background for a probing retelling of the story of the Good Samaritan. Three young Southerners—two Confederate soldiers and a young woman who lives in the town nearest Andersonville—come to understand the true conditions in the prisoner-of-war camp, and must decide what they can do. Readers used to gentle inspirational novels may pale at some of the descriptions, but Groot has done good historical homework. She has also created memorable characters both major and minor, whose anguish is palpable. Confederate sentry Dance Pickett is especially well-realized. The pacing is page-turning, and Groot has a good instinct for sprinkling comic relief into a wrenching tale. This Civil War–era story grapples with fundamental moral questions about decency and conscience—questions that can be asked about all wars. Agent: Kathryn Helmers, Creative Trust. (Feb.)
Book Page
“It’s Andersonville. Men die for no meaning.” Such is the overwhelming impression felt while reading Tracy Groot’s The Sentinels of Andersonville (Tyndale House, $24.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9781414359489), which focuses on the evils both within and without the infamous Civil War prison. Yankee soldiers died by the thousands in squalid conditions that Groot describes with a deft accuracy, interspersed with historical accounts and journal entries from men who died and men who lived.

A privileged but well-meaning Southern belle named Violet Stiles discovers the shocking abuses at Andersonville. Aided by a possible suitor named Dance Pickett and a Rebel soldier named Emery Jones, who had to deliver his newfound Yankee friend to the prison, they form a society to bring the horrors to light. Their hometown of Americus, Georgia, is not far from Andersonville, but its residents wish to remain removed from the goings-on there, even when confronted with the sad reality. Groot ably captures the despair of prisoners and soldiers alike, as well as the divided emotions of the Southern townsfolk, who have lost sons to the cause and hate the Yankees but want to be “good Christians.” When told of the appalling cesspool that is Andersonville, many won’t believe, others believe but won’t act, and still more focus only on the technicalities and red tape involved. Groot truthfully renders the struggle between patriotism and Christ’s call to help the suffering regardless of their affiliation.

Book Page Tyndale House Publishers
“It’s Andersonville. Men die for no meaning.” Such is the overwhelming impression felt while reading Tracy Groot’s The Sentinels of Andersonville (Tyndale House, $24.99, 368 pages, ISBN 9781414359489), which focuses on the evils both within and without the infamous Civil War prison. Yankee soldiers died by the thousands in squalid conditions that Groot describes with a deft accuracy, interspersed with historical accounts and journal entries from men who died and men who lived.

A privileged but well-meaning Southern belle named Violet Stiles discovers the shocking abuses at Andersonville. Aided by a possible suitor named Dance Pickett and a Rebel soldier named Emery Jones, who had to deliver his newfound Yankee friend to the prison, they form a society to bring the horrors to light. Their hometown of Americus, Georgia, is not far from Andersonville, but its residents wish to remain removed from the goings-on there, even when confronted with the sad reality. Groot ably captures the despair of prisoners and soldiers alike, as well as the divided emotions of the Southern townsfolk, who have lost sons to the cause and hate the Yankees but want to be “good Christians.” When told of the appalling cesspool that is Andersonville, many won’t believe, others believe but won’t act, and still more focus only on the technicalities and red tape involved. Groot truthfully renders the struggle between patriotism and Christ’s call to help the suffering regardless of their affiliation.

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-04
In 1864, Americus, Ga., was short on buttons and bandages but long on community and family values. Just 10 miles away, however, sat the notorious Andersonville Prison. All delicate bones and huge blue eyes, Violet Stiles is the lodestar for Dance Pickett, a gimlet-eyed young man stationed as an Andersonville sentry. Armed with little more than whiskey and determination, Dr. Stiles, Violet's father, daily tries to cure the incurable. He and Dance strive to keep the womenfolk—indeed, the entire community of Americus—blissfully ignorant of the unspeakable conditions at the prison. Yet Violet's desire to do good sets her on a collision course with the truth. Looking for a package of seashells, Violet impetuously sets off to find her father at the prison hospital. Dance sees her in the distance and tries to stop her before she can witness any of the horrors. He's too late. Violet has seen the broken Union soldiers. Perhaps worse, she's overheard a conversation between Emery Jones and Lewis Gann. While escorting Lewis (the lone survivor of the 12th Pennsylvania militia) to the prison, Emery (a witty Confederate from Alabama) unexpectedly finds a friend. As they frankly discuss the war, Violet realizes that the Union soldiers are not the vermin she's been led to believe they are. Distraught over the conditions at Andersonville, as well as the complacency in Americus, Violet, Dance, Emery and Dr. Stiles found the Friends of Andersonville. Intended to open the eyes of Southern citizens to the truth and to improve conditions for the soldiers held at Andersonville, the group instead challenges everyone's moral fortitude. When mercy is seen as treason, even the heroes are endangered. Christy–award winning novelist Groot (Flame of Resistance, 2012, etc.) unflinchingly examines the consequences of becoming a good Samaritan in this richly detailed, engrossing historical fiction.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781414359489
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/17/2014
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 414,027
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.51 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Read an Excerpt

The Sentinels of Andersonville


By Tracy Groot, Kathryn S. Olson

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Tracy Groot
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-5948-9


CHAPTER 1

JULY 1864

ANDERSONVILLE PRISON

Two men stood sheltered from the blazing sun in a sentry box at the top of the stockade wall. One thought of his rheumatic knee, and one thought of Violet Stiles.

Violet Stiles had large blue eyes and other features Dance Pickett could never remember, subjugated as they were by the eyes. So, wanting still to conjure her face, he allowed aspects of her nature to form the forgotten features: She was naive, patriotic, self-righteous, kind (he allowed her that), and merry (he couldn't be unfair, she had laughed heartily at the antics of the younger sisters at the Stiles dinner table last Sunday); but naive, patriotic, and self-righteous were the overriding elements of her nature, and they fashioned a caricature image of a dark-haired girl with gigantic blue eyes and tiny everything else, including figure and feet. It was like looking through field glasses at the wrong end to find great, startling eyes, with all else crabbed and distant.

Violet Stiles represented all that Dance despised in Southern womenry. He didn't despise women as a general rule, but he hated what the war brought out of them. Violet was like all the rest, a fire-breathing patriot determined to do her duty by any hapless Confederate soldier who had the misfortune to cross her path. Did she suppose men actually wanted to be fussed over and praised and—worst of all—encouraged for the Cause? She was so meaning and feeling and earnest—the most ignorant, galling, entertaining creature he'd ever met.

The guard next to him shifted, and Dance stopped laughing.

No wonder they didn't like him. At least they left him alone. He touched the shoulder strap of his leather scrip. In there was a bit of his favorite Shakespeare, and he decided to indulge the fellow.

"Burr, hear me out, and I'll confer on you something fine: The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; and as imagination bodies forth the form of things unknown, the poet's pen—" Dance paused for dramatic effect, allowing, hopefully, his listener to form a pen in his mind—"turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name."

"Pickett, I don't know as I should hit you or treat you kindly," said Burr. "If you was my boy, I'd beat you half to death and let the good Lord take care of the rest."

The leather pouch had been a Christmas gift from his mother when he was a boy, carried in the Revolution, she said, by her grandfather. Dance had examined it for signs of Revolution. The nick on the flap, surely from a musket ball. Stains were surely blood. Mother seemed to know just what her son would do with it: make it into a sanctuary.

Early on he took particular care with the papers he put into the scrip. They were quotes and isms, poetry and prose, declarations and decrees and bits of airy nothing, and nothing could go in there indiscriminately.

The result was such that his scrip powered him through his first two years at the University of Georgia. It powered him through the patriotism of his father and the death of his mother. But it had no power here. He had not opened his scrip since the day he was posted to the garrison at Andersonville Prison, for the stockade was a different sort of sanctuary, and two sanctuaries could not exist in the same place. It was a law of religion or physics.

"Here they come," Burr grunted.

Dance took his eyes from the men in the stockade to the men approaching the stockade, coming through the stand of pines from the Andersonville depot, a quarter mile distant. They came in long shambling columns, Captain Wirz riding his old gray mare alongside.

"Run, you fools," Dance muttered.

They were two hundred or so, held in check by Wirz's commands and curses and occasionally brandished pistol, as well as thirty or so armed members of the Georgia militia and any escorting regulars. Dance looked away.

He shifted his weight to the other leg, glanced from habit to his ancient musket propped at his side, and fell once more to the interesting ponderation of Miss Violet Stiles. Dance selected an early Stiles Sunday dinner and rolled it out on his mind's stage.

Stiles Sunday Dinner. Volume Two.

Characters: The entire Stiles household, the mayor of Americus and his wife, Dance Pickett, and another member of the Georgia militia, an uncouth geezer on burial duty named Linney.

Act One: Dance must endure the patronizing efforts of Miss Stiles to engage Linney in conversation.

"I understand you are posted at the prison, Mr. Linney," Violet said, her voice cultured enough to jelly eels. "How do you find the work?"

Linney stopped midchew, surprised and not altogether happy to find attention on him. They might, after all, see him slip biscuits into his dirty vest. Linney gulped some wine and sent a look to Dr. Stiles, who was busy cutting meat for one of the younger girls and admonishing her to chew carefully.

"Reckon I find it all right. 'Cept I cain't talk about it or I'll git in trouble."

"Your discretion does you credit. Security is very important, for Yankee spies abound. I understand General Winder has called down detectives from Richmond. Goodness, what an important job you have. You are certainly our protector." She gave a little shudder, and Dance gripped his cutlery. She recovered from her theatrical musings, and asked brightly, "Where are you from, Mr. Linney?"

"Skull Gully. More of dem peas, ma'am. Some of dem biscuits."

"Please," Dance prompted.

"Please," said Linney.

"Certainly, Mr. Linney," said Violet with a frosty glance at Dance. "Tell me, Mr. Linney, where is Skull Gully?" said she, all melodic politeness once more.

"South."

"It must be a very nice town."

"It's a swamp. More o' dat wine, ma'am. Please."

"But it isn't polite," protested the youngest Stiles girl. "You've already had three glassfuls. Mercy me."

Dance choked on a biscuit. Violet's gaze rained down violence on the girl.

"Why, certainly, Mr. Linney." Violet reached for the wine.

"I won't tolerate it," the little girl said, and snatched the decanter. "He is being rude and we do not tolerate rudeness at this table."

"Posey Stiles," Violet breathed, eyes glowing red.

This time Dance couldn't hide the laughter.

It caught the attention of the oft-distracted Mrs. Stiles, who smiled with bemused approval at her laughing guest and returned to remonstrate with the other girls while keeping conversation with the mayor's wife.

"Such a lovely brooch, Esme. It's only a little gristle, Daisy, eat it. You should wear it more often, I've not seen it since the pink taffeta last Christmas. Rosie, wipe your mouth. I declare."

"Say your name again to me," Dance asked of the little girl with the decanter safely between her knees, "for you are my favorite Stiles, and I wish to remember it always."

She smiled up at him, glorious in her defense of the family wine, triumphant that someone admired it.

"I am Posey Eden Stiles, called so because my sisters are Violet, Lily, Rose, and Daisy, and when I came along Papa said I made a posy. So though I am officially Pansy, I am called Posey and I like it right fine."

"You like it very much," Violet corrected severely.

"Mr. Linney said right fine a minute ago, and I liked it."

"I like Posey right fine, too," said Dance. "And you were entirely correct to waylay this man from drinking all your wine. Such rudeness should be corrected, and hastily." He looked at Linney, who was slipping a spoon into his vest. "Linney, guardian and protector of genteel Southern womenry, I request that you apologize for your rudeness, and return to the table your recent acquisitions."

That had been the first time he saw Violet mad. But Volume Eight was the memorable best. Dance had gloried to see that a methodical chipping away had at last revealed the true Violet. On that infamous evening he had seen in full what had only peeked from behind a well-bred cloak—a tempestuous nature nigh unto feral, not at all civilly Southern as he was sure she had supposed. He didn't trot out Volume Eight very often. He saved it for when things were especially bad. Today was tolerable. He couldn't remember Volume Nine. It did trouble him some.

Violet Wrassey Stiles desperately needed guidance at this critical juncture in her young life. Someone needed to devote delicate method to make it clear that Volume Eight Violet was the one to be admired, not fought and subdued in favor of the other person he didn't much like at all. Clearly Dr. and Mrs. Stiles had a handful with that one, and would not mind the kind intervention of a concerned distant cousin—

"Strike me dumb," said Burr. "Look over there."

What Dance saw first made him squint, then made him lunge to the rail. A girl came out of the pines, following at some distance the columns of prisoners. He gripped the rail.

"That a woman?" Burr said.

"It's Violet Stiles," Dance breathed.

"Uh-oh." He had heard of the Sunday dinners. "What's she doin' here?"

"She can't see this." He broke and ran for the ladder.

"Where you goin', Pickett? Pickett! Oh, let her see, I say! Don't no one ever see. Fancy-pants what never put themselves in the way of mizry will find naught but mizry at the end."

Burr suspected he had said something wise, thought it should be wrote down, set himself to memorize it on account he couldn't write, then caught sight of a Yankee too close to the deadline and grabbed his musket. "I see you, Old Abe," he bellowed down into the stockade. "Do not try me today, for I am in a foul temper'ment."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot, Kathryn S. Olson. Copyright © 2014 Tracy Groot. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 15, 2014

    The Sentinels of Andersonville is a book that will make the read

    The Sentinels of Andersonville is a book that will make the reader explore a variety of emotions. Tracy Groot writes a book so powerful and impacting, it should be in every history class across America. Until I’d read the book, I’d never even heard of Andersonville and now it’s a place in history, I’ll never forget.

    Taking from actual historical events and combining them with a fictional story of several brave men and women, Tracy Groot tells the tale of Lew, Dance and Violet, just to name a few.

    When Emery Jones and Lew Gann find themselves at a standoff, they start talking. They talk themselves right into a friendship, although it’s quickly ending as Emery must arrest Lew and take him to Andersonville. Thinking the rumors cannot possibly be true, Emery is aghast when he delivers Lew over to Andersonville. Though a huge area, the ground is packed with starving, dying men…thousands of them. At that moment, Emery regrets following his orders and vows to free Lew, somehow, someway.

    Dance Pickett is a guard at Andersonville Prison and the son of a prominent lawyer. Daily he witnesses things he must pretend not to know but those secrets are weighing on him and his only release is in being with Violet Stiles and her family. Being at their home helps him to face his daily torturous assignment. Dance finds himself drawn to Violet, not only for her beauty but for her strong spirit and conviction. In a powerful conversation between Dance and Dr. Stiles, the two discuss the huge task of fixing the horrible events at Andersonville and stopping the evil therein. Dance struggles to know where to begin with so many dying and so few people caring enough to stand up for what is right. Doctor Stiles gives a powerful statement and in it he says, “It has nothing to do with a people rising up, but a person. One person, just one.” (pg. 246)

    When Violet accidently comes upon Andersonville Prison, she witnesses the atrocities and vows to do something to change what is being done to the men there. Violet manages to draw her whole family into the fight including her father, a doctor at Andersonville. Before she knows it, she’s managed to make her family the target of the authorities and they are accused of being traitors to the South. The people of Americus argue that “to feed these enemies is to forgive them.” (pg. 233)

    The Sentinels of Andersonville is a book that has forever changed me. It raises questions beyond my reasoning of how something so atrocious was allowed in America. But the story must be told and Tracy Groot does a fantastic job of doing so. This is an absolute must read. This book is so powerful no, it’s beyond powerful...it's haunting.

    I received this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2014

    The Sentinels of Andersonville*** by Tracy Groot This is a fic

    The Sentinels of Andersonville*** by Tracy Groot

    This is a fictional story about the Andersonville prison in Georgia where Union soldiers were kept during the Civil War, with history woven through the story. It goes in depth showing the horrendous, inhuman conditions these men faced everyday (you can read the book for more).
    Violet Stiles is a southern belle living in the town close to the prison. Her father is a doctor that treats the sick at the prison once a week. Dance Pickett is a prison sentry and Confederate Corporal Emery Jones are the main characters of the story. Violet, Dance and Emery play a major part in the story and their struggles as they try to help those within the prison walls.

    Those in the town nearest the prison harbor hatred for the those in the prison as do the prisoners toward the towns people. The story shows how some of the Southern population near the prison come to realize that the prisoners are human and should be treated as such. As some in the town near the prison begin to realize how these prisoners were being treated, they begin to show compassion and mercy by doing the right thing even if some others still harbored hatred. Families and friends of this town find themselves on different sides as to what the right thing to do is.

    It was good to see hints of Christian principles of loving everyone—including your enemy—included in the story and how we should live out those principles. However, not only did I find it hard to figure out the plot of the story and the characters involved, I also found the book hard to read as much of the story is within the prison walls. Even so, the author's research on this difficult time in our history can be noted in the story.

    ~~I received a copy of this book from the Book Club Network for my review~~

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2015

    "The Sentinels of Andersonville" was a great read. I w

    "The Sentinels of Andersonville" was a great read. I was consistently horrified by the atrocities that one human will commit against another. The amount of men that died in prison during the war that was recorded in this book was so huge that I am saddened by the lives that were lost unneccessarily. What this book taught me is that no matter how much you are in the minority, as long as you are doing something right, you will come out able to hold your head up in the end. The Sentinels of Andersonville really made me take a different look at the war. I think for the most part, most men didn't want to fight, but they were forced into it by others saying they must do their duty to either the South or the North.




    I honestly enjoyed this book. I had trouble putting it down as I wanted to find out what happened not only to the men in the prison, but to the townspeople that were trying to help them.




    I recevied a free copy of this book from The Book Club Network for my honest review. I was not payed for my positive review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2014

    Wow!  This is the first time I have read war-time fiction.  I fo

    Wow!  This is the first time I have read war-time fiction.  I found it to be gut-wrechning, yet heart warming; hope in a hopeless situation; life in the midst of death.  I was captured from the first page—saddened at how humans can treat another and at the same time encouraged that one person, or small group of people, really can make a difference, even if it is “just a lemon.”  




    I received this book from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2014

    This is a story based on real life of the Confederate prison cam

    This is a story based on real life of the Confederate prison camp where 13,000 Union soldiers died during the Civil War in the United States. Tracy Groot, using historical documents, weaves a fictional account of the lives of those living there in the town as well as in the prison.

    In this book, we are shown man’s inhumanity to man - between the neighboring states - because of the hatred brought about by the war. It also shows how God’s love lived out in the lives of His people did bridge this separation and resulted in redemption and transformation. The characters took risks to help those who were ill and dying which was “living out” human kindness at its best.

    The Sentinels of Andersonville was a real page turner for me and the author is a great story teller. I recommend this book, especially to history buffs.

    I received this free book from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 26, 2015

    can't rate this book

    I am unable to rate this book or write a review. When I tried to open this book to read it, it wouldn't open. After several tries, several different times, I finally just gave up on it and deleted it from my library. Sorry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2015

    Highly Recommended

    Although this is fiction it is based on actual accounts and gives additional readings you might be interested in. I was so interested I rented another book AND a video! I've always heard of the horrors of Andersonville Prison but never read about it. This gives a very realistic, graphic "look" at 20+ acres of misery, death, filth, and other unimaginable horrors that almost 30,000 prisoners endured -- all within "smelling" distance of a town of Southern people who prided themselves on their hospitality; to everyone except Northern prisoners that is. Yet there are a few individuals who risk their reputations and social standings in the community to make a difference. A great read for anyone who loves the Civil War era and has a social conscience.

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  • Posted October 13, 2014

    The Sentinels of Andersonville is Tracy Groot¿s powerful fiction

    The Sentinels of Andersonville is Tracy Groot’s powerful fictionalized account of the rebel prison in Andersonville, Georgia during the final months of the Civil War. The reception those Union POW’s saw could never be confused with Southern hospitality. Most of the Rebels assigned to work at Andersonville Prison cared little for the Union soldiers housed there. It was a job, an undesirable assignment. Yet some, whether clergy or healthcare workers, volunteered services that couldn’t make a dent in the needs of thousands of injured, ill, and/or malnourished POW’s and believed in their calling to do so. Those who spoke against the atrocities such as starvation and lack of any protection from elements were branded as sympathizers and risked themselves and their family members. Some refused to count the cost and did what they could to scrape together – literally – gauze for wounds, fruit, foods that were often turned away at the gates.
    A few of the guards began to see some of those imprisoned were just like them, men with families, perhaps wives and children, and the desire to one day return home to care for their family. The guards saw, and could not forget, the horrors – from rotting flesh to victimization at the hands of fellow prisoners. And some vowed to do what they could to help, even if it was to save even one life from the thousands. Even if it meant treason, even if it cost their own life unless their loved ones were able to rescue them on time.
    Through her extensive research and clear, impassioned writing, Tracy Groot shows how the light of God is seen in those individuals willing to risk everything to return even one POW to his family. Her characters are outstanding and three-dimensional, men and women of courage and grit.
    This has educated me regarding the parts of the Civil War I had not thought about previously, whether there were POW’s and how they were treated. I didn’t expect the red carpet to be rolled out, but reasonable wound care and food I thought were the least they could be given until reading about the horrors of Andersonville. Where I tended to think of the prison in shades of grey, Tracy Groot brings colors to light through those who chose to give what they could to relieve one person’s suffering. It is a historical work that stays with the reader long after the last page is turned, begging to be read again, and show future generations a piece of the past that should never be repeated.
    I highly recommend this work of literature to those who appreciate historical fiction of the Civil War era that presents well-researched facts. It is also for those who want to serve, and are trying to discover the lemon – or the wagon load of lemons – that they have to give. It is a rousing encouragement to each reader, personally, to do what we can for others, whether or not it is a popular or favored cause or the calling that the Lord places on our heart.
    I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

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  • Posted October 9, 2014

    The Sentinels of Andersonville¿and excellent read! I told a

    The Sentinels of Andersonville…and excellent read! I told as many people as I could about this book as I was reading it. It took me a bit of time as I could only handle small chunks of it at first as there is so much to process. But soon, I couldn’t resist and sped through to the end. I had the privilege in my younger days to do an intense research project on the prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, so I had the background knowledge going in. I was looking forward to seeing how someone could fictionalize the story. For those that don’t know the back story, I expect they would think Tracy Groot took great liberty to over-dramatize the story. Sadly, she probably erred on the “nice” side of details. Andersonville was a place ignored by too many and suffered through my even more.

    I was tremendously impressed with the care she took in recognizing the intense emotions both sides of the Civil War held and how that skewed some into horrible decisions. The characters she developed were so rich, I could imagine enjoying being in the parlor or battlefield talking with them. At first, it seems like we’ve read through the entire war, but instead mere days have passed. The depth to which the plot is taken lets you believe you are fighting for the very lives just by reading through their story. The most difficult point with this was my inability to either help the prisoners, or “take care” of the generals making the decisions!

    What I like most is the care Groot took in telling the stories of the guards and prisoners alike. She includes quotes from Andersonville survivors and those that endured it to death at the beginning of each part. While I recognize that it is a fictionalization, I like to think she might have come close to telling someone’s story. And when we have these atrocities in our history, one of the greatest things we can do is to tell that story in the hopes that in not forgetting, we don’t repeat it.

    This book was given to me by The Book Club Network in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted October 7, 2014

    Tracy Groot shares the stark reality of life and death in Anders

    Tracy Groot shares the stark reality of life and death in Andersonville Prison during the Civil War. Brimming with historical details, this story and its characters lingered in my mind long after the last page had been turned. Well-researched and beautifully written, The Sentinels of Andersonville is a poignant novel and a recommended read for fans of historical fiction. I loved this novel and look forward to reading more from Tracy Groot!

    I received a complimentary copy of this book through The Book Club Network. All thoughts expressed are my own.

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  • Posted September 17, 2014

    Well, you said the word justice, and that has all to do with it.

    Well, you said the word justice, and that has all to do with it. To them, you are the invader. The killer of their sons.”
    “It is mercy. It is a matter of humanity.”
    “He said those Yanks are getting as good as they deserve.”
    “I no longer see a man who wishes me ill- I see a man who needs help.”

    Andersonville was a prison for Union soldiers. The conditions were unbelievable inhumane causing the deaths of 13,000 soldiers in only fourteen months. “The Sentinels of Andersonville” is an eye opening story. It is stunning to realize such brutality existed. What is even more stunning is that so many knew and turned a blind eye to what was happening so close to home. This book not only covers the lives of the prisoners but also the lives of those in the surrounding towns and the guards forced to work at Andersonville.

    What was so brilliant about this story is how it causes the reader to feel mortification and grief as the author describes conditions in Andersonville Prison. And yet, just as we are prepared to harshly judge those involved, Tracy Groot pulls us back with characters who remind us that this was war and there were sons, grandsons, fathers who would not be coming home killed by some of these Union prisoners. While there is no good excuse for the treatment received by the union soldiers, we are forced to ask whether there really is any justice in war. And “The Sentinels of Andersonville” causes us to consider how what our own response would be faced with Andersonville. Would mercy or the need for revenge win? The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” –Edmund Burke

    Tracy Groot did a fantastic job of sharing enough details to allow us to truly feel and understand the truth of Andersonville prison. It is impossible to read “The Sentinels of Andersonville” without getting emotional. Is it possible for someone to “love” a book that describes such a horrible place? I am not sure that would be the appropriate word in consideration of the subject. But what I can say is that I enjoyed Tracy’s writing style, the amount of research that went into this book, and the fact that while being entertained, I learned some history. I look forward to reading the rest of Tracy Groot’s books and will be anxiously looking for any future books. For those who love historical fiction, Tracy Groot is an author that that won’t disappoint.

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted September 4, 2014

    I have been interested in reading The Sentinels of Andersonville

    I have been interested in reading The Sentinels of Andersonville since it first came out. I knew that Tracy Groot was an award winning author for Flame of Resistance., so this promised to be a great read. I was not disappointed! The story is set in the last year of the Civil War. The South is beginning to run out of men, money, and support. In the midst of this, the infamous prisoner of war prison, Andersonville, is set up outside the town of Americus, Georgia. Thousands of Northern prisoners are being set there with few supplies and a pair of unreasonable commanders. According to this work, more adequate supplies were commissioned by the Confederate government, they never made it to the camp. As a result, the conditions are deplorable; most prisoners are sick, dying, or dead.
    Dance Pickett is from a highly regarded Southern family. His father is friends with the governor; his brother is serving with distinction. He has found himself serving as a sentry at Andersonville. He is horrified by the conditions there, but doesn’t know what he can do, so he does nothing.
    Violet Stiles’ father serves once a week as a doctor at the Northern hospital at Andersonville. He forbids his family from coming to the camp and he refuses to discuss his work there. One day, on impulse, Violet travels to Andersonville. Her world is rocked to realize something of such unspeakable horror exists close to her lovely town. She determines to stir the citizens of Americus up to humanitarian action.
    Emory Jones captures Northern soldier, Lew Gaines, and is escorting him to Andersonville. As the two become friends, he begins to question his mission. When, Emory sees the conditions at Andersonville, he vows to get Lew out.
    This is a well-researched, beautifully written book. While there is no doubt in the readers’ mind as to the horrors of Andersonville, it is not so graphic and the story is so good, that most will want to read this page turning book. There is also a larger story, that of responsibility. How responsible are we when we see a wrong that is difficult or even dangerous to resolve? What if that wrong is being done to those we deem our enemies? The citizens of Americus faced the same challenges that those outside Nazi concentration camps faced. Is turning a blind eye the answer especially when it is difficult? As one character in the story said, “ Now I know the ways I cannot help; I will find ways I can. And if I can’t find them, I will make them.” As Christians we have a duty to obey God, even when it means violating man’s law. The question is, do we have the courage to do it?
    I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my opinion.

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  • Posted August 28, 2014

    Because Civil War is my favorite era to read, I had high expecta

    Because Civil War is my favorite era to read, I had high expectations of The Sentinels of Andersonville. I had it on my wish list for a while now. I could not wait to read it. The book is full of history that I love. I admire the author's research. But I really could not get into the storyline a lot. Dance and Emery were my favorite characters, the other characters were just okay. The book in general was good,  but I was slightly disappointed because of the high expectations I had for it.
    3 1/2 stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2014

    This book is one of those books that I just had to finish before

    This book is one of those books that I just had to finish before I could go back to my work. Tracy tells the story of the horrors of Andersonville in such a captivating & easy to follow style. Her characters are believable, the dialogue is interesting, and she doesn't get stalled on boring descriptions. She did a great job of showing the need for each of us to do what we can for those around us.

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  • Posted August 3, 2014

    This was a very well-written captivating book that told some tal

    This was a very well-written captivating book that told some tales of Andersonville prison.  While the book is fiction, she pulled from the history and truth known of Andersonville prison.  The horrible conditions, the starvation, the tight quarters--it's awful and shameful that men were treated in that manner.  Tracy had a very good way of writing about it, but the thing that challenges me is that it is not about what everyone else can do and won't do to help people, the moral of life, the moral of this story is "what am I doing to help?"  I can't change the world, but I can make a difference in one person's life can I not? Excellent book. 

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  • Posted July 21, 2014

    This is the story of a Confederate prison in Americus, Georgia,

    This is the story of a Confederate prison in Americus, Georgia, where many of the prisoners would not have died had there been enough food, water, bandages, painkillers, and beds for them. Violet, the daughter of the local doctor, tried to help the injured men, but many townspeople felt that was wrong. Yet it was her kindness that made the difference for many prisoners . The townspeople had once been cruelly tricked into giving money to build a hospital in Augusta for Confederate soldiers, and instead those who raised the money kept it. Moreover, they thought the Yankees were pillagers, murderers, defilers of Southern women and deserved to die. Although Violet‘s fiancé had been killed early in the war when a caisson had blown up, she felt compassion on the injured Yankees. It is a war story about the Civil war that had Americans fighting and killing other Americans. If you like war stories and the consequences of war, this is a book you will love.

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  • Posted July 17, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Sentinels of Andersonville was a DNF for me, but not due the

    The Sentinels of Andersonville was a DNF for me, but not due the quality of the writing. It was the subject matter that got to me. Tracy writes with passion and great detail, and I just reached a saturation point. I don't handle books dealing with war or true events well, but I would still recommend it, especially to Civil War enthuasists. The conditions of Andersonville were deplorable, and it boggles my mind what we are capable of inflicting on one another in the name of fill in the blank. Regardless of belief or behavior, we were created in the image of God and therefore afforded a measure of dignity. Tracy captured that in her book, and if that was all I gained from the chapters I read, then it was worth it. Oh, and the ending is pretty cool....I skipped to that when I knew I wasn't going to be able to finish:-)

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  • Posted July 13, 2014

    The Sentinels of Andersonville was the type of book that made me

    The Sentinels of Andersonville was the type of book that made me want to walk away from it, yet I couldn't.  It was tough to read about the horrors of Andersonville Prison during the Civil War.  Tracy Groot, did a good job balancing the reality of the prison's history, with a story line about fictitious people.  A small town of Americus Georgia, that could have been a small town anywhere during the Civil War.  They had lost much and were trying to hold on to what they had.  While the people on the surface seemed to do their best for the war effort, it became a reality that they did only what made them comfortable.  It was easier to overlook the atrocities of Andersonville Prison, 10 miles away, than to challenge the status quo and do something about it.  Helping the Northern Yankees in the prison was considered treason.  Yet, how could people overlook these crimes against humanity?  A lesson we could all learn was based on this question - it is not if I stop to help this man what will happen to me, but if I don't stop, what will happen to him?  We should all remember that even the small things we do for those around us can make a life changing difference.

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    Prior to reading this book, I was familiar with Andersonville on

    Prior to reading this book, I was familiar with Andersonville only as being the name of a Confederate prison during the Civil War. One of my favorite things about reading historical fiction is that I learn a bit about history that I didn't know before. On rare occasions, a book is so well-researched and presents historical information in such an intriguing way that I feel compelled to read more books on the subject. That is what happened while reading The Sentinels of Andersonville.

    I already knew I enjoyed Groot's writing style because I really enjoyed her book Flames of Resistance, but I do think this one is even better. Everything about this book was spot on - the description, the plot, and the characters. If I had anything negative to say, it would be that there were so many characters that sometimes I had to think for a couple of moments to remember the specifics of some of the minor characters, such as the townspeople.

    This book is not only good from a historical perspective, but also because the message is so relevant. Sacrifice, loving your enemies, standing up for what is right, even if you are standing alone, mercy, and keeping your word despite the cost are just some of the ideas Groot explores through her characters. I especially like her comments in the afterword about asking ourselves not, "What would Jesus do?" but asking, "What can I do right now?". It really challenges readers to make a difference day by day in our communities and the people we come in contact with.

    I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a great historical fiction read.

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  • Posted July 11, 2014

    This historical novel is not just entertainment, unlike so many

    This historical novel is not just entertainment, unlike so many books these days. This is the kind of book that makes you wonder what you could be doing to help your fellow human beings. It shows you what can happen if just one person stands up for what is right, and puts loyalty to God above loyalty to a country/government, just as the apostles did, and just like some of the characters in The Sentinels of Andersonville did. This book was inspiring.

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