By: Carl Becker and Robert Thobaben
He was but five feet, two or three inches tall and weighed only 125 to 130 pounds. He had poor hearing and poor eyesight. Bespectacled, he was timid in appearance. He dropped out of high school after his junior year; his grades sprinkled with F’s, and took employment as a menial laborer. Seemingly, he hardly had the right stuff, physically or mentally, for becoming a hero in combat. Yet Rodger Young proved his mettle on a South Pacific island during World War II and, for a while, was more than an unsung hero, his name on the lips of thousands of Americans as a synonym for bravery. Continue reading
The Struggle for the Life of the Republic: A Civil War Narrative by Brevet Major Charles Dana Miller, 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Edited by Stewart Bennett and Barbara Tillery (Kent: The Kent State University Pres, 2004. xxiii, 301 pp. $34.00, ISBN 0-87338-785 -6.)
Among the thousands of books stemming from the American Civil War, memoirs of soldiers, Union and Confederate, constitute an appreciable share. Given the accumulation of such books, perhaps publishers considering expending print and paper on another manuscript of personalia should weigh several questions: does it present a significant view of a battle or campaign, of leading military figures, of ordinary soldiers or of why men fight. Though hardly remarkable on any of these counts, The Struggle for the Life of the Republic, a reminiscent narrative of Charles Dana Miller, a soldier from Ohio, deserves publication primarily because of his description of camp life.
The editors, Barbara Tillery, a descendant of Miller and a desktop publisher, and Stewart Bennett, a historian, have given order to a narrative that Miller composed sometime between 1869 and 1881. Continue reading