Before We Disappear – Book Review

Before We Disappear

John H. Turner, Jr

Published by American Book Publishers, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-58982-400-3

Before We Disappear, the first book in the McHenry family saga is a sweet story about a family and their tie to the land.  Set primarily in post-Civil War Tennessee, John Turner, Jr. weaves a lovely story about the life and times of J. D. McHenry and the people and land that he loves.  A work of fiction appropriate for all ages, the characters come to life cleverly depicting the life and times of the people of Crossville, Tennessee.  Centered in a land reeling from defeat and devastation, Turner leads us through this time of lost hope and shows us how the common people stood proud. His characters come to life bending their backs to the hard work that will return their homeland to a semblance of order and prosperity.

Little positive is written about the period after the Civil War called Reconstruction. The word itself brings with it connotations of carpet baggers, charlatans, and scalawags. Crooked government officials and scam artists were quick to pounce on the war ravaged communities of the Southern States. Popular literature and film has done much to concentrate on these dreadful characters of our past. It is refreshing to see a modern author concentrate on the good things that came out of such a dark period in our history. 

The innocence of the characters, the simple dialogue, and the quickly moving story line hooks the reader from the beginning and keeps them reading to the last page.  The characters bring to mind the strong, independent spirits found in books by Zane Grey or James Fenimore Cooper.  Even the most reluctant reader will be caught up in the narrative.  Destined for family libraries everywhere, this is a romping good, clean read.

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