Here’s a review of my short story collection, Stories of the Confederate South, that was published in a local magazine, Louisiana Road Trips, and on Amazon.
Those who consider themselves to be “politically correct” might mistakenly overlook Stories of the Confederate South. But Rickey Pittman is such a talented writer, that to read this collection of stories may cause a total shift in perspective and opinion about the southerners of the Civil War. I consider myself to be a Southern “liberal,” so have always been unquestioningly offended by symbols of the Confederacy, such as its controversial flag and the song “Dixie.” Those symbols embodied racism to me. The history books teach us that the Civil War was only about slavery and lead us to believe that all southerners were cruel slave owners and all Northerners benevolent abolitionists.
Stories of the Confederate South kills these sacred cows and makes the politically correct question our opinions and beliefs. The history books don’t tell us that General Lee was against slavery or that General Grant owned slaves until 1864. Who knew that there were more free blacks in the South than in the North, and that some were even wealthy?
Rickey Pittman writes these stories of the Confederacy from many perspectives, male and female, old and young about the actual people and types of people that need to be remembered. The diversity adds a variety that is missing when the South comes to mind. The powerful narrative, “The Taking of Jim Limber,” told from the perspective of a Yankee soldier, recounts the little known true story that Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, adopted a six-year-old, free black boy into his family and raised him as his own. During the Civil War, Federal Troops violently invaded the Davis home and took little Jim Limber from his loving adoptive family. He was abused by the Federal soldiers and taken on tour like a circus animal to be displayed as the beaten slave of Jefferson Davis. After receiving orders from Washington that the cruel side-show must stop, young Jim Limber was taken into the swamps by two generals and mysteriously disappeared. This story, as well as all the others ends with a powerful gut-level punch that makes you pause and reflect before eagerly reading the next story.
Pittman’s female characters make us realize that the Civil War was also a war against the women of the South, who were left behind to provide for and defend their families and homes from the Federal troops and the atrocities that accompany every war.
Stories of the Confederate South shows us how the Civil War changed everything including our views on the role of government and the power government can have.
Pittman successfully avoids stereotypes that have come to be associated with the Confederacy and Civil War. Stories of the Confederate South is a collection of powerful narratives that can change a lifetime of beliefs. Rickey Pittman is not just “whistling Dixie.”