Book: Close Before Striking by James Clayton Rogerscategories: Book, Civil War, University, Fiction, Academia, History, Gun Shows, Race, Guilt, Rednecks, Reconstruction, Appomattox, Comedy
James Clayton Rogersabout this book: Comedy crashes into History as old certainties fall victim to new perceptions. A professor of American history at a state university in Virginia, Hank Cheatham has begun to lose track of historical dates and critical outcomes. More ominously, he is suffering from blackouts. When he recovers from these unnerving attacks, he finds himself as often as not standing at the airport, with no idea if he is coming or going. A new destination is gnawing at the back of his mind. In the meantime, amidst delusions and controversy, Hank forges his way through a host of everyday obstacles, including rebellious daughters, a wife whose constancy he is beginning to doubt and an unreconstructed, gun-toting brother. Hank learns there is nothing physically amiss when he undergoes a series of neurological tests. This leaves him to the hard and embarrassing conclusion that he is suffering from a guilty academic conscience. Everything comes to a head when he finds himself duty-bound to bury a corpse in Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park. What he disinters turns out to be far more problematic than the man he is putting underground.
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