REVIEWS

Diligent research and family connections inspired J. L. Askew’s compelling saga of the Macbeth Light Artillery brigade in its service to the Southern Confederacy in what the author refers to as the “War Between the States.”


First deployed from Union County, S.C., to bolster the burgeoning wartime efforts, the seasoned Macbeth contingent was sent to Asheville, N.C. in 1864. Initially, the weary warriors looked forward to the change, but soon found the high mountain terrain daunting, with its potential for surprise attacks, difficult transport, and the raids of lawless deserters hiding in crags and hollows.


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A detailed history of a Confederate artillery unit.

In his nonfiction debut, Askew reflects on how he was first inspired to write a history of the Macbeth Light Artillery unit during the Civil War, due to his familiarity with his own family history: His great-grandfather had fought in the conflict and received a severe head injury—and, according to family lore, he’d been saved by a doctor who’d placed a silver dollar in the hole in his skull. The author eventually came to believe that much of what he’d learned about the Civil War was “half-truth and myth.” While doing some research, Askew came across a cache of newspaper articles that were pseudonymously written by Lt. Hazel Furman Scaife, a veteran of the Macbeth Light Artillery. After reading Scaife’s comment that the “Macbeth Light Artillery has an unwritten history that must be wrested from oblivion by the surviving members of the company,” the author decided to take it upon himself to write..


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War in the Mountains is a fantastic book that delivers a clear and informative account about a little-known American artillery group that was active during the Civil War and played an important role in several battles. I found it extremely fascinating, not just because of the brave men in the Macbeth artillery, but also because the book is full of small 

 that I never heard before. I have been to many of the places mentioned and wish I had read this book first. It’s easy to read and isn’t dry or too focused on gore.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who...


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Having recently read and reviewed for the Smoky Mountain Living magazine Vicki Lane’s And The Crows Took Their Eyes, a fine novel set in Madison County during the Civil War and focused on the Shelton Laurel Massacre, this week I returned to that era with J.L. Askew’s War In The Mountains: The Macbeth Light Artillery at Asheville, N.C. 1864-1865 (Covenant Books, Inc., 2020, 535 pages).


I have but one quarrel with this excellent history. The title suggests that the author will address only the activities of a particular artillery unit in a specific period of time.


Instead, Askew has given us a splendid account not only of the Macbeth Light Artillery, but also of the war in Western North Carolina, the leaders on both sides, the troops, the partisans and bushwhackers, and the women, children, and elderly who witnessed various raids and battles or fell victim to them. 


Though the author centers his history of the Macbeth...


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I must commend the author for his narrative style, as he painted a picture in his book, making it seem real to the reader. The author's detailed research gave more insights into what happened during the civil war. Askew's creative writing takes the reader to the historical era, evoking fear, sadness, and relief from the occurrences during the war. The overall theme is that war brings loss in the state, death of many innocent lives, loss of home, and grief to those who witness it. This was one out of the many lessons this book would teach the reader about war...


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WAR IN THE MOUNTAINS ostensibly centers on the Macbeth Light Artillery, a rebel division from South Carolina sent to Asheville, North Carolina to defend against Union incursions into the region in 1864, but the book spends a lot of time on other aspects of the war in lower Appalachian region. There are surprises here for even the most learned Civil War buff, as readers learn of the battles in the area, the skirmishes in between and the men who fought them. We learn


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J.L. Askew's WAR IN THE MOUNTAINS is a comprehensive look at a forgotten theater of the war, the fighting in the Appalachian region between eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina throughout 1864 and 1865.


WAR IN THE MOUNTAINS ostensibly centers on the Macbeth Light Artillery, a rebel division from South Carolina sent to Asheville, North Carolina to defend against Union incursions...


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A reader-friendly recollection of events: I thoroughly enjoyed this book, from beginning to end. With its extensive research it was thorough and insightful, but at the same time the author wrote it the same way the best storytellers would, engaging the reader...


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Loved this book. I'm always a big fan of history, and studied civil war maritime history in college. I really enjoyed...


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War in the Mountains is a fantastic book that delivers a clear and informative account about a little-known American artillery group that was active during the Civil War and played an important role in several battles. I found it extremely fascinating, not just because of the brave men in the Macbeth artillery, but also...


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