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Posted June 19, 2006
Civil War St. Louis Reviews...
"All Parts Together"
by Tom Mach
by Tom Mach
available from Amazon.com
All Parts Together
by Tom Mach
Paperback: 374 pages
Publisher: Hill Song Press (February 8, 2006)
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
"Sissy" by Tom Mach, first book in the trilogy, available from Amazon.com
Reviewed by D. H. Rule
In “All Parts Together” author Tom Mach takes on the full scale and scope of the Civil War across the country. This sequel to “Sissy” carries on the tale of the characters from that novel following them from the Kansas-Missouri border war in the bloody summer of 1863 through to Lincoln’s assassination and the war’s end. This ambitious tale shows a great deal of research on the part of the author.
As with “Sissy” the novel’s main character, Jessica Radford, serves as the voice of 21st century political correctness pointing out elements of inequality those around her are oblivious to. Others of the abundant cast of characters, northern and southern, black and white, serve as representatives of different aspects of the conflict. In this way the author spreads his characters and their stories across the map, from Atlanta to Washington, D.C., to St. Louis, to battlefields across the nation. In addition to the fictional characters the author includes as point-of-view characters many major historical figures—General Rosecrans, General Grant, poet Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and more. Lincoln’s sections were particularly nicely written, presenting a much more subtle and balanced portrayal of president than is usually seen.
On the whole, the cast of characters is far too large to follow comfortably. Action and character development are shunted aside in quick past-tense summaries rather than shown in fleshed out scenes. Some critical character moments and events ended up getting short shrift due to the brevity of scenes within such a huge canvas of events.
The interplay of characters’ lives in “All Parts Together” took several interesting twists throughout the stories. Happy endings became gray and uncertain as characters got what they thought they wanted then found out the reality wasn’t as shiny as they’d hoped. In this regard the author of “All Parts Together” hit his strongest thematic note. Victories were shadowed. Freedoms were tainted. Loves were besmirched. The tales of individual lives became symbolic of the overall effect of the war as a whole and its aftermath.
©2006 D. H. Rule
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