Dr. Ed talks with Thomas Moore, author of the book A Fatal Mercy: The Man Who Lost the Civil War.
An award-winning book, having won both the British Bridport Prize for Fiction and the “Chapter One Contest” of the West Cork (Ireland) Literary Festival, the author wrote it while studying at Cork College in Ireland, where he was working on his Master’s degree in the History of the Irish Revolution. It is thus no surprise that the book’s main character and his family were emigrants to America’s southland from Ireland.
Set in the American War of Secession and its aftermath, Drayton FitzHenry is the son of a prominent South Carolina planter. He opposes secession but joins his brothers in the Confederate Army in defense of his state. During the war’s decisive battle at Gettysburg, Drayton commits an act of mercy toward a Union officer, which he later discovers probably caused the South to lose the battle. By his act of mercy, he is literally “the man who lost the Civil War.”
Drayton wrestles with guilt and self-reproach for half a century until he travels to Gettysburg in 1913 when 50,000 Union and Confederate veterans returned to the battlefield for a time of national reconciliation.
In addition to discussing the book and its characters, the guest talks about his previous books, The Hunt for Confederate Gold and No Villains No Heroes. He also tells us what it was like to work in Strom Thurmond’s office for over 20 years. For most of that time he was the senator’s top advisor and speech writer.
As a graduate of The Citadel and Cork College and as a student of Irish history, Thomas Moore shares several parallels between the Irish Revolution, the Irish Civil War, America’s War Between the States, and the cultural conflicts going on in America today.