The mere absence of war is not peace (John F. Kennedy). That is the premise of "The Late Unpleasantness", a post-Civil War novel whose title derives from a common reference by genteel folk of the time to the war that left over 600,000 dead. Through the experiences of survivors, the story evolves within Camp Douglas, a Confederate prisoner of war camp located in Chicago, the Andersonville prisoner of war camp in Georgia, and the fictitious town of Mission, Wyoming. Dubbed the "Andersonville of the North", Camp Douglas easily matched the brutality of its Southern counterpart and nearly six thousand soldiers of the Confederacy died there. Maura Spencer, a nurse from Chicago, cannot favor a side in a conflict between her countrymen and so tends to the inmates of Camp Douglas. Peace, when it finally arrives, holds little interest for her and she is unable to see to a season beyond the war. Aubrey Cameron, a captured Confederate soldier from North Carolina, is singled out for especially cruel treatment by his Camp Douglas captors and left to survive the peace bearing the scars of his internment. Like others of the era, Aubrey and Maura become part of the westward migration. In the fledgling town of Mission they join a fragile nucleus of veterans.Although this novel is focused on the Civil War period its messages are germane to the war experience in general and to the understanding that coming home from battle is a journey best taken in the company of others and not achieved merely by boarding a train....
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About the Author
Pamela Wielgus-Kwon is a lifelong student of history and literature, and a native of Chicago. In addition to "The Late Unpleasantness" she has completed two screenplays: "The Zoo" chronicles medical experimentation in the concentration camp at Auschwitz during the Second World War. "Duet" takes place behind the Berlin Wall in post-war Germany....