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No Certain Rest: A Novel

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

On a ridge overlooking Burnside Bridge-the focus of the Battle of Antietam-souvenir hunters find the unmarked grave of an unknown Union officer. Don Spaniel, an archeologist in the National Park... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Antietam revisited

This is a short novel dealing with a puzzle from America's past. A pair of relic hunters are searching the Antietam battlefield, and find a skeleton with a bullet hole through its head. As the park service's local archeologist investigates, it becomes clear that the dead soldier was an officer, and was killed in the battle, but not (apparently) in combat. This intrigues the archaeologist, and off he goes to investigate and solve the mystery.This is an interesting, if short book. There are interesting themes here. Several of the main characters almost kill one another (or do so) at various points, and you get the feeling that Mr. Lehrer is trying to make a point about violence and friendships. There is also some thoughts on the Civil War and the soldiers who died in it, and refreshingly it's not mostly about the gallant Confederates, who tend to get most of the ink in this sort of thing. I enjoyed the book, and would recommend it.

A Pleasant Way To Spend An Afternoon

Like most Jim Lehrer books, this one doesn't make you think too much, doesn't haunt you, doesn't make your brain work too hard and is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. I enjoy his off beat way of finding a story and presenting it. I liked it very much

Intriguing Civil War forensic mystery

This is the story of a National Park Service archeologist, Don Spaniel, who is called in to find the identity of a Union soldier whose bones were found by Civil War souvenir hunters on private land very near the site where the bloody Antietam battle was fought. Spaniel is a man focused on history of the Civil war, so much so that this is the main focus of his life. His passion is contagious and the reader also gets wrapped up in trying to find out who this Union soldier was. Working with a Smithsonian anthropologist Reg Womach, this duo search out clues left in the grave as well as the story told by forensic examination of the bones. Woven through the story are the details of that awful day on September 17, 1862 when over 23,000 soldiers lost their lives in the single bloodiest day in U.S. military history through the mistakes of General Burnside and other Union Army leaders. This mistake, and the escape of the Confederate forces, resulted in the extension of the war by 3 years with hundreds of thousands of lives lost.The story is told in two ways: while Spaniel and Womack are unraveling the clues, we also get to read the account of that day by a Union soldier who wrote the story ten years after the battle. It was a little confusing at first to understand that Spaniel did not have that written account until his own investigation was almost complete. However both lines of the story do complement each other once you realize what is going on.I thoroughly enjoyed this story on all counts: the mystery aspect and the Civil war story. The story was well written and went at a brisk pace. I found the plot twist at the end a little bizarre but overall strongly recommend this book to both mystery and history enthusiasts.

A Fantastic Blend of History and Mystery

I am a great fan of Jim Lehrer's work. His book, White Widow, is an American classic. No Certain Rest is very different, but as rewarding. A quietly searing search for the truth about one of the worst battles of the Civil War, the book deals in another kind of obsession. Lehrer comes to his subject with a wealth of historical knowledge and he writes with a crispness and an economy that makes this book a deceptively easy read -- a page turner -- when, in fact, its themes and characters are complex. This book is for Civil War buffs and novices alike. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend it as one of Lehrer's best.

Recommended for history and mystery buffs!

No Certain Rest is a modern day novel focusing on a Civil War mystery. The main character, Dr. Spaniel, is a government archeologist who is brought in to work on an unidentified set of remains discovered accidentally by relic hunters near the battle of Antietam. The overall mystery is fascinating as is the details included in a letter written by a civil war survivor who is a character in the book. The book provides authentic details of the war that are a bit gruesome and the dialogue is a bit stilted and dry but overall I enjoyed the book.
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