Estes Park, Colorado

Today’s coffee-house photo is of the Starbucks in Estes Park, Colorado. It has two entrances. One is off the main highway that goes through town. The other is off the Big Thompson River and the river walk. It is one of my favorite Starbucks location. I’ve had coffee there at least a dozen times. I visit each time I attend the writer’s conference in Estes Park. They have great Wi-fi with tremendous bandwidth.

estes-park-co


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffeehouse, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application support analyst. He is a former Captain in the US Army. His blog Kepler’s Book Reviews was named a 100 best blogs for history buffs. Kepler has a Bachelor of Arts in history with English and military science minors. He also earned Master of Religious Education, Master of Arts and Doctor of Education degrees. You can also visit him at Kepler’s Book Reviews.

Review: Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage

As I read “Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage” by Tom Bensing I was thinking who would be a good audience for this book? The answers were found in the pages of the book. The book will appeal to a diverse group of readers. The person with an interest in United States history during the 1850s to mid 1860s will walk through those years with snapshots of selected events of the time. The Civil War buff will enjoy a different perspective on the battle of Gloreita. Those with an interest in Colorado before it was a state will get an interesting look at the state.

You get a look at abolition and the Underground Railroad. You see how a passion for abolishing slavery motivated Silas Soule’s family to move to Kansas. You experience what it is like and what happens to people who aided slaves. You will relive the days of bloody Kansas and see firsthand the fallacy of the Stephen Douglas compromise allowing Kansas to decide if it was to be or not to be a slave state.

John Brown is brought to life as we see his actions in Kansas and later at Harper’s Ferry and how Silas Soule participated in an attempt to rescue John Brown’s men after Harpers Ferry.

We see a friendship between Soule and the poet Walt Whitman as well as learning of an interesting connection between Brown and Whitman. We go gold prospecting to Colorado and also get a good picture of the state during the late 1850s to mid 1860s. We make the trek with Silas and the Pike’s Peakers as the head to Glorieta Pass to fight the Texans in the Confederate Army who invaded New Mexico.

We see his moral courage when he not only refused to take part in the massacre of Native American women and children during the Sand Creek Massacre, but was the first to testify against Colonel John Chivington who led the attack. Surprisingly to me, the author gives great detail of Silas Soule’s killer, Charles Squier life.

The book was well researched. It started slow for me, but I’m glad I stuck with it. After making it through the family history and finally getting to Silas Soule, I found a well presented and interesting story. Yes, I recommend the book. Historian Tom Bensing did a good job of presenting “Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage”. The publisher is Dog Ear Publishing.

“Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage” by Tom Bensing

As I read “Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage” by Tom Bensing I was thinking who would be a good audience for this book? The answers were found in the pages of the book. The book will appeal to a diverse group of readers. The person with an interest in United States history during the 1850s to mid 1860s will walk through those years with snapshots of selected events of the time. The Civil War buff will enjoy a different perspective on the battle of Gloreita. Those with an interest in Colorado before it was a state will get an interesting look at the state.

You get a look at abolition and the Underground Railroad. You see how a passion for abolishing slavery motivated Silas Soule’s family to move to Kansas. You experience what it is like and what happens to people who aided slaves. You will relive the days of bloody Kansas and see firsthand the fallacy of the Stephen Douglas compromise allowing Kansas to decide if it was to be or not to be a slave state.

John Brown is brought to life as we see his actions in Kansas and later at Harper’s Ferry and how Silas Soule participated in an attempt to rescue John Brown’s men after Harpers Ferry.

We see a friendship between Soule and the poet Walt Whitman as well as learning of an interesting connection between Brown and Whitman. We go gold prospecting to Colorado and also get a good picture of the state during the late 1850s to mid 1860s. We make the trek with Silas and the Pike’s Peakers as the head to Glorieta Pass to fight the Texans in the Confederate Army who invaded New Mexico.

We see his moral courage when he not only refused to take part in the massacre of Native American women and children during the Sand Creek Massacre, but was the first to testify against Colonel John Chivington who led the attack. Surprisingly to me, the author gives great detail of Silas Soule’s killer, Charles Squier life.

The book was well researched. It started slow for me, but I’m glad I stuck with it. After making it through the family history and finally getting to Silas Soule, I found a well presented and interesting story. Yes, I recommend the book. Historian Tom Bensing did a good job of presenting “Silas Soule: A Short, Eventful Life of Moral Courage”. The publisher is Dog Ear Publishing.

The Crimson River

Crimson-fr-cov-sm“The Crimson River” by Donna Westover Gallup is Book Four in the Mysterious Ways series. The publisher is Cladach Publishing.

Donna Westover Gallup does her usual great job of telling a spellbinding tale. It is what I have come to expect from this great storyteller. I was surprised the story went back and forth between the present and the 19th-Century Colorado Territory. While that caught me off guard, the use of flashbacks was a marvelous way to tell the story.

The author wasted no time getting right to the mysteries that kept me turning the pages. I feel she had a good balance of Christian faith without a forced insertion of “the plan of salvation” just to do it. God’s activity in the lives of the characters was apparent chapter after chapter. Well done!

The story progresses well. The inclusion of historically accurate events adds to the drama. The trip to Texas with the mesquite thorn poisoning and then to Missouri with the inclusion of the small pox story line was well told and frighteningly realistic.

The author did a nice job of wrapping up a lot of loose ends as the book concluded. Without spoiling the ending I will say it was more real life than some readers may have preferred. However, I felt it was right on the mark.

I hope Donna Westover Gallup has her next book in the works. I love the way she tells her story, how it includes the Almighty’s activity in everyday life and hope she has more stories to tell.

Read in October 2012 and reviewed in March 2013.

Note: I have read all four books in the series. I read The Crimson River the last week of October 2012, the same week the book was released. I did not have a review copy. I purchased my copy. I had a job change October 29th, a major car accident November 5th that put in in the emergency room via ambulance, and serious injuries after a very bad fall on ice just when I was recovering from the car wreck. All delayed the writing of this review as well as several other projects.