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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.