Shelby Foote’s Shiloh: a Novel relates the events of the two days of bloody fighting (April 6-7, 1862) between General Johnston’s confederate forces and the Union Army’s troops led by Ulysses S. Grant. Johnston ordered a surprise attack on Grant’s position at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, not far from a small church called Shiloh Chapel. The novel is told from seventeen perspectives in seven segments, alternating between Confederate and Union narrators of varying ranks and assignments.
The reader must keep in mind from one chapter to the next who is telling this portion of the battle’s events, which side of the conflict he is on, and how his experience differs from the details conveyed by the previous and future narrators of the unfolding drama. A map at the beginning of the book indicates by numbers one through seven where each of the speakers is located on the battlefield with arrows indicating the direction of their movement.
A reader’s guide may be found on the library’s website at www.plymouth.lib.in.us The discussion will be led by Anna Liechty, former English and Creative Writing teacher at Plymouth High School. Books are available for checkout in the computer room at the library. This discussion is open to anybody who is interested.