In Brief: Whisperwood: A Confederate Soldier’s Story of War and Conscience

By Van Temple. Self-published, 2020. 376 pages. $16.99/paperback; $1.99/eBook.

Anderson Flowers Temple was a real person and a Confederate soldier in the Civil War for four long and dangerous years. In this novel, his great-grandson Van Temple transforms him into Anderson Flowers, also a soldier and one traumatized by the war’s nightmarish brutality and inescapable carnage. The real Anderson’s life story was handed down in the family by a monograph written by his son. It took root in the mind of a young Van Temple; decades later, Whisperwood shares it with readers as a fictionalized account.

How does a young man survive spending his early 20s under constant threat of his life? How does he confront the reality that he must kill or be killed? What does it all have to do with honor? If he survives, will he be able to experience love again? Who will be waiting for him if he ever goes home again?

The struggle did not end for the real Anderson when the war was over; he “vowed that he would never again take up arms” and lived to help settle conflict in his community in later years. Author and descendant Van Temple relied on Anderson’s story when he confronted the possibility of fighting in Vietnam, and now he shares it with the world in Whisperwood.

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