(This first appeared on Innsmouth Free Press on September 9, 2015.)
Review: Andersonville, Edward M. Erdelac, 2015.
If they didn’t invent it, they were early adaptors of the term “dead-line” at Andersonville. That’s “deadline” as in cross it and you’ll be shot dead.
Eighty years before the world saw the corpses and the unflensed walking dead of Auschwitz and Treblinka, it saw photos of the survivors of Andersonville. More than forty-five thousand Union prisoners of war entered its gates during the American Civil War. Almost thirteen thousand died there. Its commander was the only person executed for war crimes at the end of the war.
Erdelac accurately diagrams the horrors of Camp Sumter, Andersonville’s official name: the stockade, the guards enforcing the deadline, the cramped and open area designed to only hold 10,000 prisoners, its single contaminated stream serving as drinking water and sewer, and the “raider” gang that preyed on fellow prisoners. The prose is clear, the nouns unadorned.
The adjectives are mostly reserved for the tentacles, demons, sacrifices, brandings, whippings, and magic rites. Continue reading