Rensey Goode was a young boy growing up in the beautiful setting of the North Carolina mountains. His family owned a farm and he knew that he was destined to work with them in his future. The prospect was pleasant and awaited until a cataclysmic event occurred. Suddenly, his entire outlook changed.
The year was 1861 and several southern states including North Carolina made the momentous decision to secede from the union. Their reason was to defend themselves against a northern government that was looking to make slavery illegal and in effect take way an agricultural system that provided a comfortable living for gentlemen farmers.
With war on the horizon, Rensey and several of his friends heeded the call to join the Confederate army in order to protect their way of life. Gangraw does a good job of depicting the boys moving from their initial enthusiasm into the horror of combat. Suddenly they are thrust into the experiencing kill or be killed, maiming, and watching their friends die. They also become aware that the enemy is not evil but consists of men and boys like themselves forced into an armed defense of their country against the division facing it.
There are many books written by anti-war activists that call attention to the horrors of the institution. Gangraw joins their ranks with a good story of what combat really is like. His contention, like those of the others writing about these horrors, is that the only winners of any war are those that survive it. Glory is an empty phrase for those that have died supposedly earning it.
1/18 Paul Lane
A HIGH PRICE TO PAY by Rick Gangraw. White Feather Press, LLC (October 3, 2017). ISBN 978-1618081612. 260p.