Clubs Are Trumps

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
290 Pages
Reviewed on 03/15/2012
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Kregg P.J. Jorgenson is the author of the best selling non-fiction book, Acceptable Loss, and four other books on the Vietnam War.
His novel, Stalking the Dragon -10th Anniversary Edition won the 2010 Reader Views award for humor.
Clubs Are Trumps is his third novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jean Hall for Readers' Favorite

A young man named Bent comes from the farm fields of Minnesota and he survives the bloody battle of Gettysburg. Union Private Bent Nyhavn is the moral center of this epic tale. Kregg P.J. Jorgenson in Clubs Are Trumps: The Road From Plum Run writes 288 pages of action, adventure, bawdy fun, and heartbreaking loss. The motto of the Union Army's Second Corps is "clubs are trumps," which urges victory or at least survival. The men want the advantage on the battlefield as well as at the card table. Civil War armaments, from the fiery hit of a musket ball to the stab of a bayonet, cause pain and destruction. The small, brown bottle of laudanum may numb the physical pain but it won't heal the mental scars. After many more army duties, Nyhavn rides West to scout for railroad surveying.

Nyhavn and all the men of the Second Corps have a story to tell through their life, death, or injury. They fight with a heroic advance after the Third Corps runs back to the creek called Plum Run. Clubs Are Trumps is full of military and tactical description. The sight, sound, and smell of battle is graphic and sickening at times. The young private Nyhavn reacts to this sickening chaos in a brave way. He is kind when he can be and he is brutal when he must be. Plum Run is also named Bloody Run as heavy rain mixed with soldiers' blood. The winding plot, intricate settings, and multiple main characters make this book a bold achievement.

Ashley Fontainne

The Civil War. Perhaps the darkest moment in history for our great nation, long forgotten by the generations that followed. The sorrow, heartache, and division experienced by both sides during those tumultuous times are a part of every American's blood. The historical aspects and details provided by Mr. Jorgenson are beautifully written, full of amazingly accurate detail and in the reflective tone of the day. The characters are rich, well-rounded and full of spunk.

The thing that made this such a fascinating read for me is that it brought forth a bit of history that I don't recall learning about in any history class in college or high school: draft riots. After finishing this book, I was so intrigued that I took to the internet and did some further research on my own, just to learn more about this part of American history that I was unaware of previously. I found it so interesting that I shared this information with family and friends (and was informed by my father that he already had this information. (Then why didn't I?).

Not only history fans but the younger generation also will enjoy the gritty details of this novel, I believe, since some of the exactly same underlying feelings towards being "forced" to serve in the military has relevance in today's world. Take the time to read this historical novel and learn a bit about what life might have really been like "back in the day" and then pass it along to another!

Kathryn Bennett

Clubs Are Trumps: The Road From Plum Run by Kregg P. J. Jorgenson is a wonderful book about the second Union army corps. The title itself - Clubs are Trumps - was the motto of this unit that lead a forlorn charge at Gettysburg. But what happened after that battle to those few who survived and had battle scars, both physical and emotional? Follow a handful of these men who are veterans from Minnesota and must survive and discover the meaning of the long journey home.

The Civil War is one from which everyone instantly can conjure up images. When you say 'Gettysburg' everyone seems to go silent; it was a grisly and tragic battle with so many dead. But what about the walking dead and wounded, those who survived that battle and must find their way back from the trauma and try to carry on with life. The detail in Clubs Are Trumps is amazing; you can tell that Mr. Jorgenson put in a great deal of research and work. You can feel the pain that these men went through. Walk with them as they travel along life’s path and truly try to live again.

This book is well written and hard to put down once you start reading. There were a few points that slowed it down a little bit for me, but as a whole this is the perfect historical read. The situation and characters are as gripping as the writing is good. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a fantastic read.

Trudi LoPreto

Clubs Are Trumps: The Road from Plum Run by Kregg P.J. Jorgenson is the historical story of three friends from Minnesota who leave home and their families to protect their country. The historical novel covers the years of 1861 through 1864, opening on the fields of the Gettysburg battle. Ben Nyhavn, Al Frantzen, and Trigg Kinnunen fight the battle. Because each has been wounded, they end up in New York City in the seedy Five Points area, dealing with the aftermath of the Irish draft riots. The three men left Minnesota as innocents and, because of all they have endured, we watch them become strong and powerful men. They see death firsthand on the battlefields. While in New York, they are forced to deal with corruption and murders. We follow Nyhavn, Frantzen, and Kinnunen through all of the hard times and travel home with them when their tour of duty is finally over.

Kregg P.J. Jorgenson has done his homework in the writing of Clubs Are Trumps and gives an accurate and detailed description of the events. The Gettysburg battle becomes very real and I felt the agony and defeat of the three soldiers and the men with whom they fought side by side. While I found the book slow paced, it was not short of action. Jorgenson has offered a great character study of what a Civil War participant had to endure, offering strong characters and detailed plots. This is a great read for all Civil War historical fiction buffs.

Christine Nguyen

Clubs Are Trumps, The Road from Plum Road is a book that takes you back to the Civil War where young boys enlisted in a war that they thought would only last a few months. It’s a story of lost innocence, friendship, dreams, and the indomitable spirit of man to persevere in the face of extreme obstacles. Private Ben Nyhaven, of Danish descent, enlisted in the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment to follow his slightly older friends and neighbors to war. He was just fourteen. With him were his good friends Trigg Kinnunen, a beloved womanizer that had a gift for seducing the ladies, and German Al Frantzen. Together they battled the odds to stay alive during the bloody battle of Gettysburg and got stuck in New York’s seedy Anthony Street to work out their remaining time in the army. They stumbled into a corrupt beehive of governmental activity with bribes, pimping, and other illicit discoveries.

Author Kregg P.J. Jorgenson writes a story of friendship which is endearing as three different young men from different backgrounds from New Tonder, Minnesota fight alongside one another. Their friendship continues to grow. This story is full of action with very bloody battle scenes, and moments of revelry between the young men as they capture whatever good times they can. The honest camaraderie between the characters was the highlight of the book for me.

The author writes convincing characters that are very strong with a comfortable bantering between them. The story line actually gets more interesting when they are forced to work in New York and I found myself getting more engrossed in the book as I continued to read. A good look into the realities of war for young boys who are forced to turn into young men.

Maria Beltran

Clubs Are Trumps: The Road From Plum Run by Kregg P. J. Jorgenson is a Western fiction that revolves around a group of young men from Minnesota during the American Civil War. The year is 1863 and working-class American immigrants are rioting over the injustices in the draft system known as the Conscripts Act. This law gives conscripts the option to be drafted as soldiers or to pay $300 and buy their way out of the war. The poor people resent the fact that they are being forced to fight a war that serves the interests of the rich and the African Americans. The Union Army sends in troops to quell the riots that are causing the deaths of many. Against this backdrop, the veterans from Minnesota will fight a war in a journey that starts in Plum Run to the Five Points Districts of New York City and beyond.

Clubs Are Trumps: The Road from Plum Run is currently shortlisted for the 2013 Best Western Award. This is absolutely no wonder because Kregg P. J. Jorgenson knows his subject extremely well and is a master story teller. Dialogue driven and fast paced, the plot focuses on the young volunteers from Minnesota who left the comforts of home to join the Union Army and face the horrors of the American Civil War. What makes the plot more interesting is that it is like going back in time and retracing real events of American history. And this is through the eyes of the soldiers whose views about life are about to change forever.

It is easy to empathize with the characters of this novel because they are ordinary men caught in extraordinary times and circumstances. As they journey from the horrors of Gettysburg to the streets of New York, the reader will get to know what is in their hearts and minds. This book is certainly an interesting read!