Author gives presentation at Luther about Civil War era

LUTHER — Many of the settlements in Lake County were settled by Civil War veterans awarded land grants after the war.

Author and historian, Dr. Michael Deeb, gave a presentation at the Luther Area Public Library on Aug. 17, about the western front during the Civil War.

He also had his books available, the first being published in 2007, “Duty and Honor.” The fictional Civil War novels are a series about a family from Lowell whose son goes off to war, joining a cavalry unit in Grand Rapids.

“The books don’t focus on the war front during the Civil War, but centers around a family and the changes they endured throughout the war years,” he said. “The book is based on factual events and people, but I put words in the character’s mouths, making it fictional history.”

He told the audience his book, “The Lincoln Assassination,” explores the four conspiracy theories of how President Lincoln was killed.

Deeb, who summers in Canadian Lakes, was invited to offer a program at Luther Area Public Library by Carol Peel, who suggested he give a presentation about the influence on the war from the western front, which at the time was the Midwestern states.

“Most of us have learned about the major battles in the east during the Civil War, but people don’t know as much about the western front during the war,” he said. “Retaking the Mississippi was essential to the federal government. Tons of traffic and goods from the west passed through there.

“The Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers also were important economically and strategically for the Union. While the first major battle of the war, Bull Run, was a union defeat under Gen. Irvin McDowell, the northern armies were successful in the west.”

He explained why the war on the western front is not as known.

“Eastern newspapers largely controlled the news, and a lot of the major battles  happened in their back yard,” he said. “The war that was to be over in two battles lasted four years, took a great toll on life and destroyed the southern economy and social structure. There was no Marshall Plan in those days. Soldiers returned home without jobs.”

When the lecture was finished, Deeb thanked the group for having him, and refreshments were enjoyed.

“You have a very nice library,” he said. “My wife complains about all the books I bring home. I do a lot of research on the Internet and have access to all sorts of information, but I have accumulated a substantial library. No other time in history saw so many memoirs written by so many of the troops.”