GREG AHLGREN signing and discussing OLUSTEE: AMERICA’S UNFINISHED CIVIL WAR BATTLE his dramatic novel that details the February 20, 1864 murder of wounded African-American soldiers in the field by Georgia infantry following the Battle of Olustee, and explores the lingering impact the atrocity retains on that community's contentious Civil War monument controversy. Greg Ahlgren is a criminal defense lawyer who divides his time between Manchester, NH and Sarasota, FL.
Of his new book Greg writes "In Olustee I attempted in some small way to confront head on the issue too often ignored in Civil War fiction, (both in literature and film)--race. As more astute observers than myself have noted, the Civil War was not merely a national tragedy redeemed only by the heroic gallantry of its combatants--it was perpetrated by forces bent on establishing a white supremacist government in North America. All Civil War fiction should really start from that point. Unfortunately, from Birth of a Nation through Gone With The Wind, to Somersby, and Cold Mountain, it has not done so. The Killer Angels and its subsequent film Gettysburg were a white man's book and movie. Only the 1989 film Glory comes closest.
In Olustee you won't find Confederates portrayed as heroic underdogs, or Northerners as paternalistic moral guides, or slaves as obliging minor characters--images that have too long dominated Civil War fiction. The Battle of Olustee ended in February 1864 with Georgia infantry murdering wounded African-American soldiers as they lay on the field, considered chattel in servile insurrection, pursuant to the dictates of Jefferson Davis and approved by the Confederate Congress. In 2013 the State of Florida held legislative hearings and refused to allow the construction of a Union monument to these soldiers.
The battle included the NH 7th Volunteer Regiment and that unit, together with its commander, Colonel Joseph Abbott, the former New Hampshire newspaper editor, feature prominently in the novel."
Praise for the Greg Ahlgren's Fort Fisher:
War is typically viewed through a panoramic lens--maps of disputed territories, troop formations pitted against battle lines, the bloody engagements on which history turns. In Fort Fisher: The Battle for the Gibraltar of the South, Ahlgren relives this decisive naval battle of the U.S. Civil War through beleaguered civilians and soldiers on both sides of the conflict, people for whom the danger was daily and personal, their decisions casting shadows long into their future.
In the tradition of Stephen Crane and Gore Vidal, Ahlgren brings the reader in lockstep with the residents and vagrants of Wilmington, NC as the Union Navy chokes the only remaining port left to supply the tattered Confederacy. Everyone knows how this disaster ends. In Fort Fisher, Ahlgren shows us how it might have been lived.
- Helen Hanson, Bestselling author of the 3 LIES and The Masters CIA Thriller Series