"If life is a road that we walk from one end to the other, the detour that many of us took during the sixties and seventies through Vietnam certainly made all of life’s other little detours seem pretty inconsequential.
From the moment of arrival in-country until the phone call arriving back home, it is a path that all of us took; and proceeding along with Bo day by day was a walk down memory lane – a comfortable visit with fellow travelers back to a time that today only exists in our memory. Ironically, his tour ended in the same province and in the same district where mine started just a few days after he left.
While it is true that there is no way to convey all that combat entails to someone who has not been there, this sharing of a year in harm’s way resonates with those who went that route, and it is simply enough written and compelling enough to convey the frustration, boredom, occasional terror and infrequent fun in a manner that those who missed the experience can relate to and perhaps at least gain some understanding.
Here’s to the Road Warriors!
Wayne Marshall – Phoenix Program, Mekong Delta, Republic of Vietnam 1970-71.
"Road Gang was a real page-turner. I finished in one evening and was rewarded with a lively, candid account of the life and times of a fine Viet Nam era soldier."
Max Toch – Platoon Leader, 101st Airborne Division, Republic of Vietnam 1968-69.
Empire of the Owls
"Quite simply one of the finest works I have ever read on any subject. This book , though its subject core is the War itself, covers the period 1859-72 and consists entirely of people's contemporary reports and observations of the time. This is far from an unbalanced work and is not limited to the contributions of Confederate servicemen or politicians , the words of non American observers and visitors are also recorded.
I believe even the most 'well up' of historians would find something new in this work. A labour that has taken the author many , many years to compile, the events are all in chronological order, and this enables the events of the time to effectively unfold before you. It's historical accuracy is it's biggest plus. Yet is is far from your average history book on the subject of the War. As with all the best books on historical subjects, at times the work makes you think that other reference works have omitted things that should have been included. At just over 350 pages it is an extremely informative reference work.
The work is well produced, the copy I have is a paperback of perfect binding manufacture.
This work should be a standard reference work for those interested in this period and subject. I doubt if there is a better work available today.
Could it have been improved ?....Unlikely , though if I had to find something to say , it would be that an Index might have been useful to those seeking details or words on a particular event or body.Thoroughly recommended, it has to be rated 10/10.Anyone interested in this work should contact the author in the first instance. I have always found that the authors know the best place to obtain their work."
John Collier, Camp Commander, SCV Camp #2161 (Capt. John Low CSN) Scarborough,England.
"If the Union were to undertake to enforce by arms the allegiance of the confederate States by military means, it would be in a position very analogous to that of England at the time of the War of Independence."
Alexis de Tocqueville, from Democracy in America
“The Old South died hard, after a gigantic struggle unsurpassed in American history in high principle, valour, and sacrifice. Even worse, perhaps, the Old South has been buried under an avalanche of libels. It is very seldom allowed to speak for itself, especially in recent decades. Mr. Traywick has allowed the South, and especially Virginia, to speak for itself, in a variety of voices and in a very original and persuasive way. Not to be missed by anyone looking for a different perspective on the War for Southern Independence.”
Clyde N. Wilson, Ph. D.
Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History, University of South Carolina
“H. V. Traywick’s Empire of the Owls, is characteristically Bo – iconoclastic, judging truth according to where his research takes him, and forthright in his expression. For some, because this book rejects established perceptions, they will immediately reject this book. For others, and I believe for many, it will be warmly received as the struggles of the South during and after the Civil War are placed before us in the voices of those who lived during the period. A well-edited volume does what a contemporary writer’s running narrative would find difficult to accomplish. “By bringing together carefully introduced and edited texts drawn from diverse sources, Traywick has enabled the unique but often silenced voice of the South to be heard and appreciated. The writer has broad interests coupled with eclectic knowledge, and he draws upon all of his resources to set contextually each quoted passage. Letting individuals of the period speak for themselves is crucially important, for it both challenges long held perceptions and serves to redeem those often falsely castigated. “This volume is neither an attempt to return to a neo-orthodox statement of the conflict fought valiantly but lost by the South, nor is it an attempt to sanctify the South, its leaders, or its aspirations. The Empire of the Owls is simply an attempt to permit real life individuals to interpret the history as they lived it – this could not be a more simple task, nor could it be a more difficult task!”
Frank E. Eakin, Jr. Ph. D.Marcus M. and Carole M. Weinstein and Gilbert M. and Fannie S.
Rosenthal Professor of Jewish and Christian Studies, University of Richmond
“This splendid book does what nearly all modern histories of the Civil War era fail to deliver by providing an objective and fair accounting of what actually took place in that consequential time in American history. We take a walk through the past to view America and the South as it existed from 1859 through 1865 and the subsequent Reconstruction era. The tale is told in a straightforward chronology as the gentle agricultural Southern people are swept up economically, politically and militarily by the larger imperialistic Industrialized North bent on establishing political and economic hegemony over the South. We meet the leading figures of the day such as Lincoln, Lee, Davis, Grant, and civilian leaders such as Frederick Douglas and Booker T. Washington. And we are told the story by people who actually lived, fought, and wrote during the time, their analysis unfiltered by today’s politics and culture which predetermines how all modern accounts of the war are spun. I always have preferred firsthand narratives to secondary historical analysis delivered by progressive historians who interpret for modern readers what they should think and feel. Empire of the Owls demonstrates that the South is not evil. The Confederacy is shown to actually have a raison d’etre and proud Virginians such as Mr. Traywick can vividly recall and relate what the South stood for and stands for today."
“Mr. Traywick’s skillful editing of the voices of the past explodes the Yankee version of American history, carefully and clearly analyzing the systematic and cruel destruction of the South. From John Brown’s raid, the great battles, slavery and emancipation, and finally Appomattox, the end result of this tragic fight was a foregone conclusion. Might and money triumphs over right. The South refused to go quietly into the night, preferring to retain their liberty, economy, honor and way of life, and their brave fight against the North will be forever remembered. This book goes a long way in helping us understand what really happened.”
Mr. Bragdon Bowling, JD
Former Commander, Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans
Former Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia of the SCV
Former President, Richmond Civil War Roundtable