The Sentinels of Andersonville is a book that will make the reader explore a variety of emotions. Tracy Groot writes a book so powerful and impacting, it should be in every history class across America. Until I’d read the book, I’d never even heard of Andersonville and now it’s a place in history, I’ll never forget.
Taking from actual historical events and combining them with a fictional story of several brave men and women, Tracy Groot tells the tale of Lew, Dance and Violet, just to name a few.
When Emery Jones and Lew Gann find themselves at a standoff, they start talking. They talk themselves right into a friendship, although it’s quickly ending as Emery must arrest Lew and take him to Andersonville. Thinking the rumors cannot possibly be true, Emery is aghast when he delivers Lew over to Andersonville. Though a huge area, the ground is packed with starving, dying men…thousands of them. At that moment, Emery regrets following his orders and vows to free Lew, somehow, someway.
Dance Pickett is a guard at Andersonville Prison and the son of a prominent lawyer. Daily he witnesses things he must pretend not to know but those secrets are weighing on him and his only release is in being with Violet Stiles and her family. Being at their home helps him to face his daily torturous assignment. Dance finds himself drawn to Violet, not only for her beauty but for her strong spirit and conviction. In a powerful conversation between Dance and Dr. Stiles, the two discuss the huge task of fixing the horrible events at Andersonville and stopping the evil therein. Dance struggles to know where to begin with so many dying and so few people caring enough to stand up for what is right. Doctor Stiles gives a powerful statement and in it he says, “It has nothing to do with a people rising up, but a person. One person, just one.” (pg. 246)
When Violet accidently comes upon Andersonville Prison, she witnesses the atrocities and vows to do something to change what is being done to the men there. Violet manages to draw her whole family into the fight including her father, a doctor at Andersonville. Before she knows it, she’s managed to make her family the target of the authorities and they are accused of being traitors to the South. The people of Americus argue that “to feed these enemies is to forgive them.” (pg. 233)
The Sentinels of Andersonville is a book that has forever changed me. It raises questions beyond my reasoning of how something so atrocious was allowed in America. But the story must be told and Tracy Groot does a fantastic job of doing so. This is an absolute must read. This book is so powerful no, it’s beyond powerful…it’s haunting.
I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.