PAPERBACK BOOKS
FROM GETTYSBURG WITH LOVE

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This work of fiction around recorded history personifies the strong and ongoing alliance between America and Australia which was formed after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. 

Theo is 10 years old as American troops arrive in the small fishing village of Mourning Plain on the south coast of Australia. When Theo's father joins the Australian Imperial Force and goes overseas in 1940, William Abraham Jones, Theo's 90-year-old American born grandfather, comes to live with Theo and his mother in Mourning Plain. William was only fourteen when he fought with the victorious Union Army at the battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. 

Theo's father is captured in Crete in 1941 and spends the next four years as a prisoner of war. William, a great admirer of President  Lincoln, has a strong and positive influence on his youngest grandson. His stories about the Civil War and the Gettysburg battle, of  slavery and the American Indian Wars, etched themselves deeply into Theo's memory, developing in him an early awareness of human struggle and suffering. 

Theo is appalled by the crimes against humanity described at the Nuremberg trials. His grandfather, as he lies dying a few weeks after Henry returns home, tells Theo that after he visits the Gettysburg  battlefield and stands near where President Lincoln gave his famous address, the stories he has told him over the years will help him     understand the causes of human cruelty and destruction. 

This is an entertaining and thought-provoking read. The story follows Theo through his childhood, sexual awakening, his first and second loves and his visit to Gettysburg, which finally puts into perspective for him, the teachings from his grandfather's stories.  

In Store Price: $23.95 
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ISBN: 978-1-921731-48-8    
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 170
Genre: Fiction

  

Author: David M. Griffiths
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2011
Language: English

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About the Author 

David graduated from the Flinders University of South Australia in 1980, and spent the last decade of his public service career with the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission investigating and conciliating racial discrimination and sexual harassment complaints.  

He has been writing poetry since he was seventeen, and a selection of his work, “Poems through Other Eyes and Mine,” was published in 2007. 

From Gettysburg with Love,” is his first published novel, and he is working on a second.  

David resides in Adelaide South Australia.

 

Chapter 1

The Eye of the Cyclone

S

ometime after midnight on Sunday, the seventh of December 1941, Theodore Henry Justice sat up in bed, thinking he had heard the roaring concussion of artillery practice by the Australian soldiers camped on the cliffs nearby.

After several minutes, realizing that he must have been dreaming, he went back to sleep until the rising sun filled his bedroom with the dancing shadows cast by the overgrown hedge outside his window.

He yawned and stretched as he watched the shadows pass like clouds over the line of plume helmeted soldiers printed boldly in black and red on the wallpaper between the wooden picture rail and high ceiling of his bedroom.

They were the Greeks marching against the Trojans to rescue Helen of Troy, and he screwed up his eyes in concentration as he listened for the metallic clashing of swords and spears against their shields as they marched on to victory.

When a boy is ten, his heroes are never defeated, but for the men and women of Australia, a deeply pessimistic view of the future of Australia was to permeate their lives after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and the summer of 1941 into 1942 was to bring the world to him and the little seaside village of Mourning Plain on the south coast of Australia.

Theodore, or Theo, as he was called by all but his parents and his American born maternal grandfather William Abraham Jones, was about to start his school summer holidays when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor  and the Philippines.

By the time he returned to school in February 1942, Singapore was about to fall, the Japanese had invaded Java, and Mourning Plain would become host to many of the American soldiers under the command of General MacArthur and to a large Dutch family who had escaped from Java.

Theo’s father, Henry Justice, joined the 2nd Australian Imperial Force as an intelligence officer as soon as war was declared in 1939, and was wounded and captured in the German invasion of Crete in 1941.

William Jones was only fourteen when he fought with the victorious Union Army at the battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. He had visited Theo’s parents regularly after they had moved to Mourning Plain in 1936 from Gundagai in New South Wales, and Theo was delighted when his mother asked him to live with them after Henry went overseas in 1940.

Theo’s grandfather had been nicknamed ‘Cemetery Hill Bill’ by his numerous Australian drinking mates because of his readiness to relate his heart-rending eyewitness description of the Confederate army’s famous charge against the strongly defended Union position on Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg in 1863.

Because most of his mates were veterans from the Great War, they were bemused rather than impressed by the old Yankee’s accounts of a battle at a German sounding town in a country they knew nothing about.

Theo, however, never tired of his grandfather’s stories that ranged from slavery in the deep south of America and the American Indian Wars to the goldfields of Australia in the 1880s and his friendship with Banjo Paterson, the Australian poet, best remembered for the famous song Waltzing Matilda. He would always remember how sad his grandfather had been when he heard that Paterson had died, and how his hands were shaking when he showed him a handwritten draft of a poem by Paterson about the road to Gundagai and a maiden with eyes of deepest violet blue.

Theo grinned when he heard the lavatory cistern chain rattling against the early morning stillness. It was being pulled with steadily increasing vigour, and he knew that his mother or one of his sisters was out of bed; unlike him and his grandfather, they never pulled it hard enough the first time.

He went out onto the wooden verandah that ran half way around the house. It was a perfect day for fishing, he thought, as he looked down at the calm sea, so he dressed and ran down the road to see if Jimmy Taylor was up.

AND ANOTHER SAMPLE FROM THE BOOK:

By the time she heard him running up the steps from the beach, their meal was nearly ready to serve. She was lighting two of the candles she had found and fixed on saucers in the middle of the kitchen table when he came in.

“Well, well, what a lovely surprise, dinner by candlelight!”

Untying his sweater from around his waist, he threw it into the front bedroom and went to the bathroom while she placed their meal on the table and turned off the light.

“It’s still nice and warm outside, I think this summer may be very hot,” he said as he pulled her chair out for her.

“Merci, Theodore.”

He complimented her graciously for her cooking as he ate with relish, demonstrating the same powerful appetite that he had for her body and intellect. They discussed the details of her travel arrangements, and, later, when he found that she had studied the history of the American Civil War at university, he told her some of the stories his grandfather had told him. Karina was particularly interested in his grandfather’s role at Gettysburg, as she considered that Lincoln had been a great humanitarian, and that the battle was not only decisive to the outcome of the war, but to the possibility of future universal democracy.

Theo told her that General Longstreet, who had been directed to command Picket’s famous charge against the Union army by General Lee, had argued that it was suicidal, and how his grandfather had told him that even some of the Union soldiers had cried as they watched the Confederates mowed down by their guns.

As he was telling her about the post Civil War conditions his grandfather had seen in New Orleans, she watched him over the flickering yellow flames of the candles, thinking of the many times he had shared meals with his family, and wondering if he also found his wife and mistress beautiful.

Her grandmother had impressed upon her that although most men had a deep and constant hunger for the combination of youth and beauty in women, few revered it as a gift from nature, could be trusted to embrace it without sullying it or themselves by the use of force or deception in the process.

The air was very still, and during a lull in their conversation, she could hear the rasping cries of seagulls above the soft and regular splashing of the little waves against the beach.

“The seagulls are very noisy tonight, Theodore.”

“Yes, I think we could be in for a storm, we must listen to the weather report after the late news.”

He sat back in his chair and stretched his arms above his head. “That was a wonderful meal, Karina, thank you very much.”

He refilled their glasses before raising his in a toast. “Here’s to your lovely dark eyes!”

She smiled and leaned forward to light her cigarette from a candle flame, and the neck of her blouse gaped open, exposing the curving fullness of her breasts to him.

“My God, your breasts are exquisite; I just wish that I had sufficient talent to capture your beauty on canvas!”

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