Book: Good Rebel Soil by Troy D. Smithcategories: Book, Civil War, Tennessee, Military, Guerrilla Warfare, Rebel, Confederate, Western, Southern, Historical Fiction
Troy D. Smithabout this book: Growing up in Sparta, Tennessee, I had a steady diet of tales about local legend Champ Ferguson -the notorious Confederate guerrilla who was hanged in Nashville in the months after the Civil War. Most locals regarded him, and still do, as a hero and a martyr; people from some of the surrounding counties (some of which had been strongly pro-Union during the Civil War) regarded him as a thuggish criminal.
The more research I did into his life, the more fascinating he became to me. He was not only a local legend a century-and-a-half ago, but a national one, and was probably the basis for a lot of the situations we've become familiar with in fiction (the vengeful Confederate hero whose farm was burned and family violated and/or killed.)
But he was more complicated than that. In this novelized version of his life, I've decided to go with legend as well as fact, and use the opportunity to do two things: A) give the reader some idea of just how vicious the Civil War was in the Upper Cumberland area of Tennessee and Kentucky, and B) tell Champ's story as though it were a Greek tragedy (all the elements are there.)
One of my fellow history professors at Tennessee Tech has called this novel the best book he has read about Middle Tennessee. This story will haunt you, as Champ Ferguson continues to haunt me and my hometown.
what to read next: if you read and liked this book...
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