Monday, August 25, 2014

Introducing Jocelyn Green!


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Today I'm honored to feature author Jocelyn Green and her newest historical release, Yankee in Atlanta, Book 3 of the Heroines Behind the Lines Series! You’ll find Jocelyn’s fascinating guest post on Confederate schoolbooks below, followed by details of our drawing, plus information and links for all three titles.

Confederate Schoolbooks During the Civil War

Caitlin tucked her feet beneath Rascal’s warm body, the rag rug that had formerly been under the workroom’s table now in a tangle of sewn-together strips on the table in front of her. Twisting them tightly, she dipped them into a bowl of liquid beeswax, rosin, and turpentine. The days were only getting shorter, and there were no candles to be had unless one made them at home.

Ana sat across from Caitlin at the work table, elbows resting on the First Reader for Southern Schools open in front of her. When the wax had cooled enough, Caitlin carefully pressed the warm waxed strips around a glass bottle, from the base to the neck.

 “Why don’t you read aloud, Ana.”

The girl sat up a little straighter. “All right. Lesson Twenty-nine. ‘The man’s arm has been cut off. It was shot by a gun. Oh! What a sad thing war is!’ ”

“That’s enough.” Ragged crimson memories from the Battles of First Bull Run and Seven Pines exploded in Caitlin’s mind. Horrific scenes that had been engraved on the parchment of her soul. Certainly it wasn’t good for Ana to dwell on such things with her own father in the army. “Let’s read something else for your lesson. Do you know where Robinson Crusoe is?”

The above scene is an excerpt from Yankee in Atlanta, where we find Caitlin McKae, formerly a Union soldier, a governess in Atlanta for the daughter of a Rebel soldier. (If you’re scratching your head about that one, I promise the Prologue and Chapter 1 of the novel will clear it right up.)

One of my most fascinating discoveries while researching this novel was that of Southern textbooks. Since Caitlin is teaching her seven-year-old charge at home, I had the opportunity to include some fascinating excerpts, such as the one above, which is verbatim from its original source.

During the Civil War, scores of primers, readers, and arithmetics emerged from Southern presses, borne out of a widely held perception of northern textbooks’ anti-southern biases. In The Children’s War, historian James Marten says:

In fact only a few antebellum publications specifically attacked slavery, and they were all published prior to 1830. A few school histories provided factual information, limited mainly to laws and compromises related to the institution. Although slavery was virtually never mentioned as a sectional issue, schoolbooks increasingly provided examples and excerpts that highlighted the intrinsic value of the Union. Spellers used sentences such as “Stand by the Union!” and “In union there is strength,” while readers offered stories that showed the benefits of union and emphasized the institutions and customs common to all of the United States.

The most popular readers, McGuffy’s, studiously avoided controversial issues. Even versions printed in 1862 and 1863 did not promote one side or the other, but did include stories and poems showing the hardships of war.

Still, Southern presses in cities from Richmond to Mobile to Galveston produced nearly 100 schoolbooks for both patriotic and economic reasons (think blockade). Some left the war entirely out of the content. Others didn’t.

In a Confederate arithmetic by L. Johnson, long lists of story problems feature war situations. In one a merchant sells salt to a soldier’s wife, in another students are asked to imagine rolling cannonballs out of their bedrooms, and in another they are to divide Confederate soldiers into squads and companies. Johnson also included these famous problems: “A Confederate soldier captured 8 Yankees each day for 9 successive days; how many did he capture in all?”; “If one Confederate soldier kills 90 Yankees, how many Yankees can 10 Confederate soldiers kill?”; and “If one Confederate soldier can whip 7 Yankees, how many soldiers can whip 49 Yankees?”

Mrs. M. B. Moore’s Dixie Speller had a horrifying lesson, which I just had to use in the novel.

This sad war is a bad thing. My pa-pa went, and died in the army. My big brother went too, and got shot. A bomb shell took off his head. My aunt had three sons, and all have died in the army. [I hope] we will have peace by the time I am old enough to go to war. . . When little boys fight, old folks whip them for it; but when men fight, they say ‘how brave!’ If I were a grown-up, I would not have any war if I could help it. [But if forced to go] I would not run away like some do. . . I would sooner die at my post than desert. If my father had run away, and been shot for it, how sad I must have felt all my life! . . .This is a sad world at best. But if we pray to God to help us, and try to do the best we can, it is not so bad at last. I will pray God to help me to do well, that I may grow up to be a good and wise man.

Of course, the Civil War touched children in ways far more scathing than textbook lessons. For a more complete picture, I encourage you to check out Marten’s The Children’s War (University of North Carolina Press, 1998). Or, if you’re like me and prefer to learn while being entertained with a novel, Yankee in Atlanta shows the variety of hardships Ana faced while her father fought to defend their home.

Jocelyn Green is an award-winning author who inspires faith and courage in her readers through both fiction and nonfiction. A former military wife, she offers encouragement and hope to military wives worldwide through her Faith Deployed ministry. Her novels, inspired by real heroines on America’s home front, are marked by their historical integrity and gritty inspiration.

Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America. 

To enter the drawing for a free copy of Yankee in Atlanta, please leave a comment on this post. I’ll announce the lucky winner here on Wednesday.

And in case you don’t win, all three of Jocelyn’s novels are on sale for only $2.99 in ebook format at online retailers from now through August 28, so you’ll be able to get the entire series for a fabulous price!

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13 comments:

  1. I love reading more about Civil War times. Lovely cover and the book sounds great too!

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    1. Diane, you're entered! Thank you so much for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing!

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  2. I would love to be entered into your contest. I 've never read your books but they look terrific. I love Christian Fiction. Just started rereading American Revolution & Civil War novels. I read so many for awhile I changed genres. Now I change up what I read so I don't get tired of that genre. Love Amish, Historical, Suspense & WWII.

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  3. Hi, Pat! I'm so glad you stopped by and entered the drawing! If you love Civil War novels, you're going to love Jocelyn's Heroines Behind the Lines Series. My own specialty is American Revolution and Amish Historical, and I love reading historical novels set in just about any era.

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  4. I just want to mention that Jocelyn and her family are on vacation this week. She isn't able to join us, so I'll be checking in frequently to respond to comments and answer questions. Be sure to check out her website to learn more about her and her books!

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  5. I love reading books on the Civil War and loved Jocelyn's "Widow of Gettysburg". Thank you for the opportunity to win "Yankee in Atlanta".

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    1. Then you're in luck, Savanna! You're entered in the drawing, and good luck! And if you don't win, you can still get all of this series in ebook format for only $2.99 through Thursday!

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  6. Looks like a fascinating read. I was born in Marietta and have been a Civil War buff all my life. I'm also a full-time writer, with a two-part Civil War/Reconstruction novel under my belt. So, I really appreciate this opportunity. And, if I don't win (pout), I'll just have to buy a copy! Best of luck with the book!

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  7. Michael, thanks so much for stopping by and entering! You're on the list. Good luck!

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  8. BTW, I just got an entry from Denise Glisson via Facebook because she wasn't able to leave a comment. If anyone else runs into this problem, you can either enter by emailing me at jmhochstetler at msn dot com or leaving a message on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joan.hochstetler

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  9. This sounds like such a great story - thank you for the opportunity to win a copy

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    1. HI, Sharon! Thank you so much for entering, and good luck! I'm going to wait until this evening to draw to allow a little more time for entries. :-)

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  10. Believe Jesus Christ is your savior for your sins. Jesus Christ is God Almighty in the Flesh. This is the Gospel, believe Jesus Christ shed his precious blood and died for you and all of your sins on the cross, he was buried and he rose again from the dead three days later from God's Power and you will be saved, you are a Born Again Christian and you will go to Heaven forever. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God to where we all deserve death, destruction and judgement in the Lake of Fire from the wrath of God to where we need a savior to save us for our sins forever. By receiving Jesus Christ's blood sacrifice as full payment for your sins you will be saved forever. It matters not how much you have sinned in the past, in the present and in the future for yourself to be saved. Once you are saved you are saved forever no matter what. Good works will not ever save you and no one and nothing else will. That is the Gospel and if you believe in the Gospel you are now a Born Again Christian and you are now saved and you will go to Heaven forever and that is the whole truth. Spread the truth. If we do good works for God as he commands, we will please God and he will give us rewards to have in Heaven forever! All glory goes to God forever! Praise God! Amen! (John Ch. 3:16, Romans Ch. 3:25, 4:1-6, 5:9, 1 Corinthians Ch. 15:1-4, Ephesians Ch. 2:8-9) The Authorized King James Version Bible.

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