Crossroads of War: Washington County, Maryland in the Civil War

In her review of “Crossroads of War: Washington County, Maryland in the Civil War” by S. Roger Keller, Ellen Lyon paints a vivid picture of the book. She aptly describes the contents of the book, pointing out that the book is more about the experiences of the Episcopal priest Leighton Parks.

In her short and to the point review, she summarizes the beauty of the book. Touching upon the fact that this is the third book in the series written by historian S. Roger Keller, she points out the author’s statement that this book “complements and reinforces” the effects of the American Civil War in Washington County as mentioned in the first two books.

Ellen goes on to mention the fact that this book is based on the experiences of the local people along with the soldiers. She touches upon the fact that the book is primarily based on personal remembrances of everyone involved in the war, including the doctors. The fact that the book also contains spectator accounts from the women and children, who witnessed the war, is also touched upon. Ellen goes on to explain that the book is sourced from the poignant accounts in the letters and journals of people involves in the Civil War in Washington County.

Ellen also goes on to touch upon the heart of the book by touching upon the emotions covered in the book. Her following words are a good indication of what the book offers.
“Among the book's offerings are letters from Private Walter Scott Myers to his mother back home in Clear Spring and Angela Davis' letters to her nieces recounting "the tramp, tramp, tramp of the soldiers at night" outside her Funkstown home and the raids on her general store.”

In her excellent review, she points out the strengths of “Crossroads of War: Washington County, Maryland in the Civil War” by S. Roger Keller by indicating that it contains detailed, poignant, and touching  accounts from people in all walks of life. Ellen also points out that the book contains a list of all the wounded and sick soldiers “who were hospitalized in Hagerstown and Williamsport.”

All this gives us an insight into the nature of the book and indicates that the book is not the usual account of blood and gore. Without seeming to do so, Ellen indicates that the nature of the book is more emotional than stating stark facts. Her words bring out the fact that instead of glorifying the civil war, the book brings out the helplessness generated by the civil war.

Even though Ellen Lyon is able to bring out the nature of the book, as she experienced it, she doesn’t tell the readers about the weaknesses of the book. She fails to point out the failings of the book and doesn’t let the readers know whether all accounts in the book are emotional or if there are any accounts that glorify the civil war. She fails to point out view the author S. Roger Keller, a teacher who teaches Civil War for Elderhostel at Hagerstown Junior College and the Institute for Learning in Retirement, is trying to make with the book. Instead, she focuses on the fact that the author is has two other books in the works.

Yet, Ellen Lyon’s review of the book does justice to the book and provides readers with a succinct-yet-fair account of the book. Her words truly prepare her readers with what they can expect from the book.