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Ron

Book review of "Jack Hinson's War, One-Man War".

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After reading this book, I delayed in writing a review about it. The problem I had is to understand if this is a fiction or a non-fiction book. At times, it does read as a fiction work but non-fiction is my final conclusion. The actions described in the book appear to be fiction but the author provides references, notes, a bibliography of sources and the book is indexed. The writing is good and the book is entertaining. The author, Lieutenant Colonel Tom C. McKenney, USMC Retired, studied military history after his retirement from the service caused by wounds in Vietnam. He has written several books and contributed articles to magazines, appeared on television on NBC, CBS, and FOX. His writings and appearances on TV were also for advocacy for veterans issues.

The story is about Jack Hinson and his reactions to the atrocities committed by the union occupation forces of the region of Stewart County, Tennessee and several other neighboring counties in Tennessee and Kentucky. This area includes Fort Donelson, Fort Henry and Fort Heiman. The narration describes the military action at these forts and offers a prospective not found in other books. Jack Hinson's home was about 5 miles from Fort Donelson and the battle was fought on a portion oif his property. He observed the union forces around the fort met with General Grant and also the confederate general Gideon Pillow (at different times). Most interesting is the too brief description of Forts Henry and Heiman. He does mention the later use of Fort Heiman by both union and confederate forces and also by himself as he conducted his guerilla actions. Much local history is provided concerning the towns and people nearby included the much forgotten iron smelting mills operated in the backwoods of Tennessee nearby Fort Donelson. Also provided is a narration of General Forrest's campaign near Fort Heiman that resulted in the capture of a couple union river transports. During the fighting, one rebel cannon wass served by a gun crew consisting of Generals Forrest, Buford and Tyree Bell. It is said that Forrest ordered the gun crew to " Elevate the breech a little lower ,Boys". Forrest appointed cavalry officers to command the captured union vessels and armed the boats with cannon from his horse artillery. The carreer of Forrest's navy was all too brief with their destruction. These events led up to the capture of Johnsonville and the Very large union supply. The supplies destroyed at Johnsonville were valued at several million dollars.

But, I'm now telling to much of the story. I'll leave the rest for your reading pleasure. I recommend this book as non-fiction civil war history that offers local history during the Union River Camapign of 1862. It is good reading and does surprise the reader. This book is available through Abebooks at www.abebooks.com , I have used Abebooks and it is a good book service.

A final note is that Jack and his wife, Elizabeth had 12 children and 10 slaves. Six of the children died duning, and another died one month, after the war. Jack freed all of his slaves during the war but all of them elected to stay with Jack as hired hands. They stayed on the property and the area later became a local black housing area.

Ron

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this book is very much non-fiction, and as you said has a lot of local descriptions that help understand the area. also one of the local iron smelting operations furnished a hugh percentage of cannonballs during and after the war of 1812, them produced munitions for the army until WW1. if you look online it is under cumberland furnace.

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I'm away from home and can't look at my copy to verify this, but I seem to remember that the author explained his approach somewhere in the book. He said he intended it as non-fiction and did extensive research. However, some historical details just weren't available. In those cases, he made up something to fill in the gaps. I thought it was easy to tell the difference between fiction and non-fiction. The important information was non-fiction. The fiction kept it from being dull and dry. I thought it was an interesting approach, but my taste in books is not universally shared.

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John,

We share the same taste concerning this book. I enjoyed the book despite having the thought it read like a fiction book. I now do not believe it to be a fiction book. Recommended for everybody. This book describes the hardships the civilians had to endure.

Ron

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