Then, as well as now, Charleston prefers an unhurried pace and a conservative nature. Charleston’s charms provide too many diversions from rebellious indignation. Charleston’s planter elite balanced their radical politics with an equally ardent taste for St. Cecilia Society balls, regattas, horse races, and seasonal plantation parties. How did the few, with much to gain, convince the many, with virtually nothing to gain and everything to lose, to join them in a treasonous and ultimately disastrous rebellion? Why did Charleston’s working-class whites don a butternut gray uniform to fight and die to preserve a right to property they did not own and never would.

Clues and the classic techniques of propaganda are found in my new Civil War historical novel, Will O’ the Wisp: Madness, War, and Recompense.

The answers resonate with today’s red state-blue state political divide.


“Will O’ the Wisp: Madness, War, and Recompense” can be purchased through Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and A-Argus Books, and W&B Publishing.

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