Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Novel, photos, maps, exhibits, 327 pp., 2007. Tate Publishing & Enterprising, 127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, Oklahoma 73064. $25.99 plus shipping and handling.

When asked to name a prison camp during the War Between the States, the average person will normally respond “Andersonville.” The Confederate prisoner of war camp, Andersonville, or officially Camp Sumter, usually receives the most publicity out of all POW camps on both sides. Although the conditions at Camp Sumter were atrocious, there were Northern camps that were as bad or worse. The main difference, however, was that the South was under a blockade causing a lack of supplies for its soldiers and she was contending with an invading army. Captives received the same rations in most cases as the average soldier. The Southern force was a starving, ragged army at the end of the war. The Union contingency did not suffer with these issues, yet their prison camps were horrible. Prisoners were starved, used as target practice, not given the proper supplies to ward off the cold winters, and much more. This normally is overlooked as being a part of war.

Ron Jones once again does a superb job of weaving truth and fiction together to create a historical tale entitled The Road to Rock Island, A Confederate Soldier’s Story. While this is considered a novel, the publication shows more factual information then some non-fiction books. His work contains actual letters, information out of diaries and official documents. The story is true, only the inserted dialogue is invented.

In this manuscript, the reader learns about characters, many based on Mr. Jones’ ancestors, as they survive during the War Between the States. The main character, William Moore, is from Elbert County in Northeast Georgia. “Bloodshed. Fear. Elation. Sadness. Loneliness. Comradeship. Homesickness. Rejuvenation. Reunion. War. Peace. These are but a few of the ideas and emotions brought before readers as Ron Jones leads them along the path followed by William Moore,” states Dr. Michael J. Bradley in the Foreword of this book. The reader follows Moore through campaigns and ultimately into the prisoner of war camp known as Rock Island Prison. This hell on earth was endured by countless Confederate soldiers. The Road to Rock Island offers the reader a glimpse into what took place there on a daily basis. By being based on actual people, this allows the reader the ability to let history come alive for them.
The Road to Rock Island is a companion to Mr. Jones’ first book, War Comes to Broad River. Both are extensively researched and well written. Suitable for middle and high school students, either of these books would be a worth addition to personal or public libraries.

Written by Cassie A. Barrow

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