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A gripping and thought-provoking work that is unlike any Civil War novel previously written, Sharpshooter takes us into the mind of one of the war's veterans as he attempts, years after the conflict, to reconstruct his experiences and to find some measure of meaning in them. A child of the divided East Tennessee mountain region, Willis Carr left home at age thirteen to follow his father and brothers on a bridge-burning mission for the Union cause. Imprisoned at Knoxville, he agreed to join the Confederate army to avoid being hanged and became a sharpshooter serving under General Longstreet. He survived several major battles, including Gettysburg, and eventually found himself guarding prisoners at the infamous Andersonville stockade, where a former slave taught him to read. After the war, haunted by his memories, Carr writes down his story, revisits the battlefields, studies photographs and drawings, listens to other veterans as they tell their stories, and pores over memoirs and other books. Above all, he imbues whatever he hears, sees, and reads with his emotions, his imaginations, and his intellect. Yet, even as an old man nearing death, he still feels that he has somehow missed the war, that something essential about it has eluded him. Finally, in a searing moment of personal revelation, a particular memory, long suppressed, rises to the surface of Carr's consciousness and draws his long quest to a poignant close.
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