Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers
Rally ’Round the Flag-bookcover

By: Jeremy Leyland

Rally ’Round the Flag

Pages: 414 Ratings:
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A timely reminder of how the past colours the future”

Mary Cleeves

Rally Round the Flag is a thrilling historical novel set during the American Civil war.

The story begins in the mid-19th century in a large, Lancashire cotton mill,

which never stops production for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Here a family with rich and privileged men controls the lives of the desperately poor men, women and children who are forced to work for them...or be turned out onto the street with no income nor roof over their heads.

In 1861 events move to the USA, where the first real battle of the Civil War started.

The history of the (first) Battle of Bull Run is told realistically until, close to its end, it takes on an alternative life as a result of just one military action, which historically changes the remaining years of war. Senior General in the Confederate Army Robert E. Lee at that moment speaks of how he now sees war in this new version of victory: “Once you get 'em on the run don’t stop. Never give up the pursuit.”

This fascinating account of the war, doomed to kill a quarter of the entire population
of the USA, leads the reader through many of the major locations and actions of the war. The grim reality of the five years from 1861 describes both the true historical characters, as well as the three imagined young Englishmen whose lives now lie in the USA. Here they are destined to see, and even to experience at first-hand, the appalling bloodshed, death and destruction of a war so often fought at very close quarters. Here a brother could find his father or his son aiming a rifle at him across a battlefield; a general could be responsible for the death even of his grandson.

The story roars faster and faster through the hell of shot and shell.

Cannons, and shells from these cannons, and also from mortars, were designed to slice through great swathes of human flesh, while at close quarters Bowie knives appeared to rip out the throats of an enemy fighting for his own life within an arm’s reach.

The bodies of the enemy lay scattered across innumerable battlefields

and became food for the crows. An observer of a huge battle recorded in his diary that he had seen: “Entire regiments disappeared in a few minutes. Legs, arms, knapsacks and rifles thrust high into the air and then scattered on the bloody grass.”

The reader may ask: “Can history be changed by the alteration of one small event?”

But is there more than a little similarity in the 19th century between slavery in the USA and the penury, desperate hardship and death from disease walking the streets of Oldham, as well as the lack of any security existing for all those working in the mills, factories and mines of Great Britain?

One part of the same American country wants to destroy the neighbour it has lived with peacefully for more than one hundred and fifty years.

An extraordinary read awaits you...if you rally round the flag, but which flag do you choose?

The author has been a history teacher, geography teacher and Head Teacher, both in England and abroad. Now retired, he lives in rural England.

His father, Eric Leyland, was a well-known author of several hundred children’s books, some appearing as television series in the 1950s and ’60s.

Eric’s son is now an author himself and has always wanted to write an historical novel, although with the reality slightly twisted to explore what the effect on history might have been.

He has also travelled widely and has had the chance to explore many countries in his life. Rather than American history, he hopes that his next novel will be about a brutal murder in a school in England.

He has five children and two step-children, as well as at least six grandchildren at the last count, and a truly supportive wife, who still works in a school.

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