Civil War buffs will enjoy this historical novel, which uses a range of characters, from politicians to privates to generals to civilians, to explore the motivations behind the war. The climactic scenes take place at the final battle of the war, in Selma, Alabama, in April 1865, where Union general James H. Wilson defeated Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. To reach that point, first-novelist Jim Harrell goes back to the beginning of the war, introducing characters on both sides whose varying philosophies and motivations reflect the deep internal divisions within the nation. Then, as the war progresses, Harrell's interweaving plotlines show how the South was gradually and relentlessly cornered. Fine period details and interesting characters bring the ruinous history to life.
Their Last Ten Miles
mixes real and fictional characters to examine the war, its causes and effects in a setting, Alabama, that is little known to many casual readers and historians who believe the war took place only in Virginia. Rich in detail and dialect, this book transports readers from familiar Washington to obscure Selma. It introduces them to familiar characters like President Abraham Lincoln and obscure characters like Union General James Wilson, one of the few Union generals who figured out how to win against Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
—Clint Johnson, author of In the Footsteps of Robert E. Lee and other Civil War books
Fine period details and interesting characters bring the ruinous history of this tragic era back to life for. This is an excellent read and the reader will be pleased.
—The Lone Star
Sparked by a family story of a heroic grandfather who lost an arm fighting for the Confederacy, Jim Harrell has written a novel of interest to a wide range of readers of historical fiction. His book has a particular appeal to readers in Alabama’s Black Belt where much of the action takes place. Sparing no details of the horror of the battle of Selma, Harrell also recounts deeds which “proved that the heart often knows something that the brain does not.”
—Kathryn Tucker Windham, nationally renowned storyteller
Their Last Ten Miles
is an enjoyable historical novel by an author who obviously has spent lots of time reading about Selma during the Civil War. As the South’s second most important industrial city after Richmond, Selma played a strategic role in keeping Confederate armies functioning during the final two years of the conflict. Why the city’s armories and the important battle fought to control them late in the war have received so little attention from historians has always puzzled me. Though Jim Harrell’s account is fictional, it is believable and a good read.
—Dr. Wayne Flynt, Distinguished University Professor, Auburn University