New Novel Portrays a Coming of Age Drama in the American Civil War

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Author Thomas Jackson Hawes tells the story of two best friends fighting on the opposite sides of the war

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The American Civil War, which raged from 1861 until 1865, brought about the end of slavery and the demise of the secessionist Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln’s historic declaration of the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, and finally put an end to that sordid chapter of American history. “Durham Station” is set within this decisive period of time, as author Thomas Jackson Hawes depicts the lives of two Southern families who stood against slavery and racism in their own way.

Jeff Barkley is the son of a prosperous farmer, though unlike other slave-owners, his family treats the slaves in their employ fairly and humanely, regarding them as equals rather than chattel. Buck, his best friend, is the son of a freed slave, and works for Jeff’s family along with his father and sister. Jeff’s parents were the ones who freed Buck’s father, who they regard as a personal friend. Despite this decent treatment, Buck still sees the injustice in the world around them, even as he enjoys fun careless adventures with Jeff.

The innocence of youth ends abruptly when Buck witnesses a gruesome crime committed by the town sheriff. As a slave boy, his word cannot hope to match that of a respected white man, and the crooked lawman repeatedly tries to silence Buck. Jeff and his family protect him, but he sees that there is an uglier world of hatred and violence outside the idyllic bubble of his life. This is thrust into the fore when the Southern States finally secede from the Union, sparking the Civil War. Jeff and his brothers enlist in the Confederate military to fulfill their patriotic duty, and are deployed to the frontlines to fight against the Union. Meanwhile, as the local situation deteriorates, the murderous sheriff tries to make another move at Buck, though again it proves unsuccessful. Despite the protection Jeff’s father offers, Buck realizes that he must leave his home, not only to escape the sheriff, but also because he cannot stand living in a nation that oppresses his people. He flees to the North and decides to serve in the Union Army.

Jeff and Buck end up on the opposing sides of the Civil War, but are bound by destiny to meet again in a dramatic culmination of their life journeys. In “Durham Station,” the nature of friendship will be explored, and readers will see how the love between true friends transcends all boundaries, no matter where they are or what era they live in.

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About the Author
Thomas Jackson Hawes was born on a farm near Wilmington, North Carolina. He served in the Air Force, was a back country fishing guide in the Florida Keys, owned a dive shop in Key Largo, got into sailboat delivery and visited almost every island in the Caribbean. Now Hawes lives alone in the Great Smoky Mountain with a scroungie old cat that “nobody could pet or would want to,” and a three-legged dog called Tripod.

Durham Station * by Thomas Jackson Hawes
Publication Date: May 2, 2013
Trade Paperback; $19.99; 185 pages; 978-1-4797-3311-8
Trade Hardback; $29.99; 185 pages; 978-1-4797-3312-5
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4797-3313-2

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