Seeing the Elephant

One Man's Return to the Horrors of the Civil War

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
524 Pages
Reviewed on 08/18/2019
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Author Biography

Dr. Tom Harvey is retired Associate Professor of Finance at Ashland (O.) University. In 1994, he found 250 letters written by family members about their experiences in the Civil War and thought they could become the basis for an historical novel. Delayed by pursuit of his Ph.D and 14 years teaching at Ashland, upon retirement, he decided that the books would make a great project based n the letters. Dr. Harvey was born and raised in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. He graduated from Hillsdale College with a BA in English, from Case Western Reserve University with an MBA in Finance, from Cleveland State University with a doctorate in management and strategy. He and his wife, Paula, reside in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Seeing the Elephant: One Man’s Return to the Horrors of the Civil War is a work of historical fiction focused on American history and was penned by author T. W. Harvey. Based on very real attitudes, events and emotions from authentic letters penned during the time period itself, the author has developed the tale of Lieutenant Thomas S. Armstrong into a compelling personal narrative of how it truly felt to be there in wartime. Featuring many different manoeuvres, conflicts and everyday situations from the perspective of a Union Army Soldier, this down to earth and realistic novel takes on the war from the average man’s perspective.

The deeper you read into this epic, vastly detailed work, the more involved you become with the work of author T. W. Harvey and the discovery of his great-grandfather’s collection of letters. That personal yet distant relationship between the two men lends emotional credence to the work itself, which is well-paced between descriptions of the real events taking place and moments of emotional downtime for Lieutenant Tom as he processes the true horrors and deep scars of what he has witnessed. The novel is detailed enough for Civil War non-fiction fans to delve into its soldier’s-eye perspective deeply, yet filled with action, suspense and an emotional character arc for Tom and his compatriots which stand up to any modern warfare fiction of today. Overall, Seeing the Elephant: One Man’s Return to the Horrors of the Civil War will please many a wartime reading fan and is highly recommended.