Friday, January 28, 2011

"The Parting: A Story of West Point on the Eve of the Civil War"

Remembering the Civil War

By Richard Barlow Adams

2011 begins the sesquicentennial years of the American Civil War, and whatever your take on the “why” and “relevance” of the four-year conflict that resulted in more American dead and grievously wounded than suffered in all other American wars combined, its continuing impact on present day America is undeniable. Is this right? Is this healthy? Should we have “gotten over the war” by now and swept it under the rug of history? Whatever your view, the fact is that more American literature has focused on the Civil War than on any other aspect of American history. Civil War organizations continue to abound, with long histories and faithful memberships. Every year, Civil War reenactment groups revisit in greater numbers the battlefields of old, and a growing number of Civil War round tables populates both North and South, and states not even in the Union at the time of the war.

Given this reality, and drawing upon my experiences as a graduate of West Point, I recently published a historical novel, The Parting: A Story of West Point on the Eve of the Civil War—fitting to the start of the sesquicentennial period. The story enters the Victorian world of West Point and the Class of 1861 as this band of fifty brothers and best friends experience a growing chasm within the class. The story is written with the Academy's Corps of Cadets as a microcosm of the nation, which it very much was, and with the intent of factually presenting historical events during the eleven-months leading up to the first major battle of the Civil War.

With few exceptions, the story characters are real and their relationships to one another are based on non-fictional sources. The story’s protagonist is John Pelham from Alabama, the most popular man in the class and perhaps the greatest young officer in the Confederacy. His Academy friends include Edmund Kirby of New York, Tom Rosser of Texas, George Armstrong Custer of Ohio, Henry du Pont of Delaware, Adelbert Ames of Maine, and many others. When the class begins its final year, Pelham meets Clara Bolton, a Philadelphian belle who captures his heart. In the months that follow, Pelham, Clara, and the Class of 1861 witness the unraveling of the Union and the birth of the Confederacy against the political backdrop of states' rights, slavery, the Democratic and Republican Parties, the fire-eaters of the South, and the abolitionists of the North. The story concludes with classmates and best friends confronting one another across Bull Run.

“Thanks to the great work of Rich Adams in The Parting, such a terrible period in America’s history is presented in a most profound and riveting fashion. There is a truth on these pages we can all benefit from. A great read.” –Hal Moore, Lieutenant General, U.S. Army (Ret.), Distinguished Graduate of West Point, and co-author of the book and top box office film, We Were Soldiers Once…And Young.

Rich Adams is a registered professional engineer specializing in environmental issues. He and his wife split their time between Greenwood Village, CO, and Sandestin, FL, and his author’s website is www.RichardBarlowAdams.com. The Parting is available at Tattered Cover bookstores in the Denver area and can be ordered in hardback, softback, and eBook from major bookseller websites.

Founder's Day Speaker Selected for March 5, 2011

LTC Jim Bradford has been selected by West Point to be the Founder's Day speaker in Denver this year.  Here's his bio:

LTC Jim Bradford  received his commission as an Infantry Officer in 1989 from New Mexico Military Institute.  Upon completion of the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course, Jim’s first duty assignment was at Schofield Barracks, HI where he served as a rifle and specialty platoon leader, company executive officer, and battalion staff officer for 4th Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

Following the Infantry Officer Advanced Course, LTC Bradford was assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, 1st Armored Division in Baumholder, Germany where he served as Battalion S3 Air, Rifle Company Commander, and Headquarters Company Commander which included deployments to Bosnia and the Former Yugoslav Country of Macedonia.

Jim and Daniele moved to Washington DC in 1998 where LTC Bradford was assigned as a military assistant and operations officer for the White House Military Office serving both President Clinton and President Bush.

Following  CGSC, LTC Bradford was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, FT Drum, NY where he served as the Division G3 Training Officer and as Chief of Operations for CTF-Mountain in Afghanistan.  Jim was later assigned to 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat Team as the Battalion S3 and as Brigade S3 and Brigade Executive Officer, 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division.  During his assignment with the 10th Mountain Division, Jim deployed to Afghanistan twice  and Iraq once.

In 2006, LTC Bradford was assigned  to US Pacific Command, Camp Smith, HI where he served as a Ground Operations Planner for Standing Joint Force Headquarters.

LTC Bradford assumed command of 1-63 Combined Arms Battalion as part of 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in May, 2008 which  deployed to Iraq from October 2008 to September 2009.  LTC Bradford will depart command in May 2010 for West Point where he will serve as a Regimental Tactical Officer with the Corps of Cadets at West Point, NY.

LTC Bradford holds an undergraduate degree from New Mexico Military Institute and the University of Texas and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Government from Troy State University.  His military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms Services Staff College, the Command and General Staff College, and the Joint Forces Staff College.

LTC Bradford’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star (4 oak leaf clusters), Joint and U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal, Joint and U.S. Army Commendation Medal (6 OLC), the Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medal, UN and NATO Medal, Joint and Army Achievement Medal (4 OLC).  Jim wears the Ranger Tab, Airborne Badge, Air Assault Badge, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, and Presidential Service Badge.