Blue Ink ReviewOriginally published in four separate volumes, J. Arthur Moore’s chronicle of a young Arkansas boy’s experiences on both sides of the Civil War battle lines gains emotional power as a single long tale.

At the outset of the tale, ten-year-old Duane Kinkade’s father enlists in the Confederate army, and when raiders kill the boy’s mother, he is left on his own. His search for his father takes Duane into battle at Shiloh, where he’s wounded then rescued by a Union doctor. The fact that the boy moves from Confederate to Union forces in this section and those that follow seems improbable, but Moore’s work is otherwise so well researched
that readers will believe it was possible.

Duane’s shifting perspective underscores war’s dreadful toll on all combatants. The boy is blinded while serving with the Confederacy at Gettysburg. Back with the Union in the final section, he endures the deaths of two friends, just kids like himself.

“War does thin’s ta ya,” Duane says in a passage characteristic both of Moore’s less-than-subtle use of dialect and the novel’s fundamental power. “It makes ya kill when ya really ain’t wantin’ naturely ta do it. It’s a horror ya cain’t b’lieve really happens.” Moore’s central point, that war is hell and everyone longs for peace, is underscored in a poignant scene where a Federal band, playing within earshot of the Confederate army
encamped across the river, begins with John Brown’s Body but also plays Dixie; as it closes with Home Sweet Home, “tears ran unchecked down the cheeks of a hundred thousand [sic] men and boys.”

Heartfelt and affecting, written in plain prose that suits its young protagonist, this sad story poignantly drives home the human cost of war.

Blue Ink Heads-Up: This would be an excellent resource for middle-school American history classes, giving a boy’s-eye view of the Civil War and reminding students that kids their own age were caught up in active duty during the war. The solid research and gripping battle scenes will engage adult Civil War buffs.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Writing accurate as well as interesting historic fiction can, and should be, quite a challenge for an author; unless the author is J. Arthur Moore, a veteran educator and social studies teacher.

Mr. Moore, the author of Journey Into Darkness a Civil War drama, writes with so much confidence and heart that one could almost believe that he had lived through the Civil War himself.

Written especially for students, Journey Into Darkness is a novel divided into four separate volumes. As each book unfolds, you the reader travel alongside the story’s main character as he courageously searches to find his father, a soldier in the Confederate Army.

Aside from being a meticulous chronicle of the war itself. what makes this story so unforgettable is the hold that it takes on your heart the moment that you identify with the main character, ten-year-old Duane Kinkade. This happens very early on in book one as you watch Duane, or Dee as his friends call him, become literally caught up in the turbulent and horrific events of the war.

Journey Into Darkness depicts the events of the Civil War with clarity and eye-opening truth. The reader, along with Duane, become witness to events before, during, and after the bloody battles because you become a participant in those battles. You learn, as Duane did, how to care for the wounded soldiers. The crude medical practices of the 1860’s magnify the suffering of the soldiers and the horrors of war, but also serve as a learning experience.

Beautifully interwoven among all of the unimaginable hardships and injuries that Duane endures during his search to find his father is a golden thread of hope that his arduous journey will not be in vain. Throughout Duane’s quest the reader sees obstacles overcome, friendships forged, loyalties challenged, and life lessons learned, whiile at the same time a vivid history lesson is unfolding before your eyes. Not only is this story a startlingly detailed time line of major and minor events of the Civil War, but also a diary of a boy’s commitment to find his father and who, in the process finds himself.

Ultimately, Duane learns one of the most important life lessons of all: the need for people in our lives; the treasures that are family, friendship, and love.

I highly recommend J. Arthur Moore’s novel Journey Into Darkness for what it is, historical fiction at its heartwarming best.

Journey Into Darkness is written by J. Arthur Moore. The book is a novel divided into four books, a device insisted upon by a young friend of the author because young readers do not like thick books, this particular book being 556 pages. This novel was created as an American Civil War: historical fiction story. The layout, design, and photographs are perfectly designed and placed in appropriate places to capture the words the story tells and visions the readers might have.

A mind blowing adventurous story of war, friendship, youth, soldiers, and death in the time of the American Civil war. One boy’s experiences during the time of war from age 10 through 13 are told with the turn of each page. Experiencing sadness, grief, heartbreak, friendship, loneliness, value, worth, and pride, a boy journeys through one of the toughest times America has had to endure, in search of his father who had gone to war. He finds himself on both sides at times, Confederate and Union, not taking either side, just trying not to perish with so many others.

Journey Into Darkness is an incredible story of true events written in a way to allow for further understanding of the events that happened during this time period. Adding a few fictional characters but blending them with actual names and places recognized today as great historical people and landmarks, the book is truly worth the read. It is a long read, but worth every word. I enjoyed this story immensely. Civil war stories are not often told through the eyes of a young soldier, and there were many during that time. Having made the center focus of the book a youth during the war makes the story hit the minds and hearts of children in a more personal way, and in my opinion allows young readers to relate to the characters and understand the plot a little more easily.

Journey into Darkness by J. Arthur Moore is truly a magical, educational, and adventurous story all readers interested in the Civil war should read and enjoy.,

Journey Into DarknessWell, I’ve done it! I’ve read all 4 volumes of “Journey Into Darkness,” and want to share a few thoughts with you while they are still fresh in my mind.

Foremost, I found Dee’s adventures during the North/South conflict to be most engaging and must admit that although I am not one to be overly emotional about stories of young people’s escapades in general and those about a bygone era in particular, more than once you managed to hook this 81-year old to the point of tears. Secondarily, I found your clever use of characterizations and vernacular of the time interwoven with your impressive knowledge of Civil War geography and chronology to keep the story line topical and relevant.

But to get more specific, why I found this yarn to be of particular relevance to my own lineage is because of my earlier extensive research on two of my ancestors, 2 great grandfathers who fought for the North during the War. One, Karl Friedrich Keppler, was a private in the 20th. New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the other, Louis Richard Brown, then a recent graduate of Hahnemann Medical College, was drafted into the 175th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment and stationed in Washington, NC, with the rank of Hospital Steward. Doubtless, both men experienced firsthand the carnage, deprivation and suffering that you so amply wove into your story line.

In pursuit of greater knowledge of my 20th. NY Regiment relative, in the early ’70’s I visited the site where he was wounded at Chickahominy, White Oak Swamp, VA, and taken prisoner and also visited Belle Island on the James River, where he was incarcerated and where deprivation and suffering were apparently beyond imagination. Your knowledge of the subject and vivid portrayal of Dee’s experiences therefore provided me with a broader perspective that I had previously been only superficially aware.

All that aside, Joel, thank you for sharing with my grandsons the fruits of your considerable labors. I’ve had several meaningful sessions with Isaac and Luke so as to better appreciate their reactions and to find that although they certainly were engrossed with the story line and adventure, would not admit to Grandpa of having been quite so emotionally caught up as I. Ah, youth!

Up From CorinthHistorical Fiction is a genre of writing that is historically difficult to pull off. Weaving fiction with fact takes great precision, it is a challenge not for the feint at heart. The facts are cast in stone, they cannot be changed. As if this were not difficult enough, author J. Arthur Moore decided to make his life even harder!

Let me explain. The author is a retired educator with over four decades of experience. The focus today in education is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), while this is laudable it means that many other areas are languishing, certainly one of those areas is History. This saddens me, as much about the present and even the future can be gleaned from understanding the past. In a very bold step J. Arthur Moore is trying to level the playing field. Write a book about America’s most contentious period, the Civil War, and do it in such a fashion that will appeal to middle and high school readers.

The approach taken by the author is an interesting one, the story is told through the eyes of a young drummer boy. Duane (Dee) Kinkade may only be 11 years old, but he is on a mission of the utmost importance, he is in search of his father . Dee has little to go on, other than a letter that explains he is with the Confederates in Tennessee. Dee signs on in Pittsburg landing and sees his first action at the Battle of Shiloh.
Wounded, he finds himself in the care of the Union army. Not as a prisoner, but as an 11 year old victim of war.

Up From Corinth explores the events from the Battle of Shiloh through the period following the Battle of Stones River.

It would be a gross injustice to the author and potential readers to discuss the plot very much more. Instead I will make some observations. Prior to reading Up From Corinth I had the opportunity to talk at some length with J. Arthur Moore, what impressed me most was his passion. I asked him what his goal for the book was, his reply surprised me “I want to see it in schools, I want to see it used in History classes.” At the time I thought the author was maybe not firing on all eight cylinders. Who has ever heard of a fiction book being used in a History class?

However, I was wrong, and I apologize for thinking what I did. Up From Corinth has much to offer the inquiring mind. The Civil War is one of the (alas too few) periods of history taught in our schools today. Most text books are dry and boring on the subject. It is not about dates, places, and number of casualties, it is a complex story of beliefs, ambitions and direction for a country that needed unity.

J. Arthur Moore takes the reader behind the scenes, yes his main characters are fictional, but he uses them to factual ends. This book does have a place in schools, I think it would be the perfect adjunct to a Civil War class. It would also not be out of place in a Social Studies environment. It also has a place in everyone’s home library. It is so well constructed, it is a waste to limit the target to schools. Likewise the age group. Up From Corinth is not just for the YA (Young Adult) crowd, I passed that mark over 40 years ago!

I found that as I was reading my thirst for knowledge gene was activated. My wife thinks I am pretty strange at the best of times, this morning she found me tearing apart a closet “What are you doing”? “Civil War research” was my reply. She went and hid behind her computer! Actually I told the truth, I was searching for some Civil War material to check out the factual aspects mentioned in Up From Corinth. Yup, everything that J. Arthur Moore uses as fact is indeed fact!

You can order your copy of Up From Corinth from Amazon by using the link at the top of the page, or from better book stores everywhere. There is also a supporting Web Site that is worth a visit.

Simon Barrett