Friends of the Wigwam - A Civil War Story, John William Huelskamp

Friends of the Wigwam - A Civil War Story, John William Huelskamp

This entertaining historical novel is loosely based on real events, using a series of contemporary letters as its framework. These events are largely seen through the eyes of a group of young friends - the 'Friends of the Wigwam', linked by the discovery of a hidden riverside cave near their home. The story begins in the late 1850s and finishes in 1864, and ends with the wartime career of the last of the friends in active service, rather than ending with a particular major historical event.

I found that the book took a bit of time to get into (but worth it), as there is large main cast and a number of secondary characters. There are also sections where Lincoln or other senior figures take centre stage, although I think I would have eliminated these in favour of concentrating on the main narrative.

Despite the major events portrayed and the presence of the major historical figures, the core of the book is the story of how the war splits up a group of close friends, and the impact it has on them. Unusually the main characters don't actually have much impact on the war, and the story doesn't have a traditional happy ending. The atmosphere of the Civil War period is nicely brought to life, the battle scenes are accurate and engrossing, and the main plot is moving and engaging, and as a result this is an entertaining and worthwhile read. 

Author: John William Huelskamp
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 382
Publisher: Cadence
Year: 2016

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