Book Reviews
The Wastage The Wastage

About this book...

John Carlin, Former Archivist of the United States, and Governor of Kansas
Manhattan, Kansas


For me I want a book to grab me early on and never let me go.   “Wastage” does just that. The author adds to the historical story of the Civil War endless personal specific insights and experiences from all the key players and does so in a very believable way. I think students of the Civil War will see in this book dimensions that will give depth and a broader understanding of the successes and numerous failures and mistakes of the key leaders from the top all the way down.

                                  Former Archivist of the United States, and Governor of Kansas, John Carlin, July 2015.


Deb Goodrich -Bisel
Topeka, Kansas

The Wastage is destined to be a classic. It is as if we are meeting anew the familiar characters of the great Civil War, as if the events are unfolding for the first time. Smith brings them to life with originality and energy. Superb dialogue …. Smith has written a compelling novel.

          Debbie Goodrich Bisel, Topeka, KS “The Civil War in Kansas:  Ten years of Turmoil.”

Eunice Boeve
Phillipsburg, KS

The Wastage is aptly named, for the author doesn’t sugarcoat the misery and the awful bloody, gut-wrenching inhuman waste of lives in war.  The novel begins a year and a half into the war and ends in 1863 with President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation.   The author has to have done an astounding amount of research to bring those now long-dead players to life, so they actually seem once again to live and breathe.  His depiction of President Lincoln, in my opinion, is excellent.  Also it was no easy task to create a believable dialogue of ideas and opinions voiced by the President, his cabinet members, the generals, and other parties involved.  This is not a novel for the light reader, but it is, I think, an excellent book for the Civil War buff and other more serious readers interested in this terrible time in our American history. 

            Eunice Boeve, author of Along Shadowed Trails and the sequel Along Winding Trails

Upcoming Events

Sep. 27, 2017
Battle of Pilot Knob Reenactment
Location: Fort Davidson
Pilot Knob, MO

Every third year a full-scale reenactment of the Battle of Pilot Knob is staged, attracting tens of thousands of spectators.  The 2014 re-enactment commemorated the 150th anniversary of this pivotal battle in the West.  The assault on Fort Davidson in 1864 by Confederate troops left 1,300 of their most experienced soldiers dead, missing or wounded and thwarted the last best hope the Confederacy had to sweep Missouri back into the Confederacy, destroy St. Louis, and embarrass the Lincoln Administration, perhaps costing Lincoln the 1864 presidential campaign. 

The fort and site are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

Oct. 25, 2017
Battle of Mine Creek
Location: South of Pleasonton, Kansas
Sponsor: Kansas History

    The Battle of Mine Creek was the aftermath and final downfall of Confederate General Sterling Price's ill-fated attempt to invade Missouri and then Kansas during late 1864.  As stated in Jeff Stalnaker’s excellent book on this battle, “Union troops controlled much of the South, Sherman's men marched with impunity through Georgia and defeat at Gettysburg was a painful and distant memory,” and Grant and Lee were stalemated in the east in the Petersburg trenches.  “The Confederacy needed to stem the tide. Confederate major general Sterling Price led an army of twelve thousand mounted infantry on a desperate charge through Missouri to deliver the state to the Confederacy and dash President Lincoln's hopes for reelection. This daring campaign culminated with the Battle of Mine Creek. A severely outnumbered Union army crushed the Confederate forces in one of the war's largest and most audacious cavalry charges.”

    Imagine what the Confederals saw:  two brigades of Union cavalry, several thousand horses, in two long lines thundering toward your positions, with your backs to a swollen river and trying to protect wagons loaded with plunder and loot from the Missouri campaign.  Mine Creek was a disaster for the Confederacy. The clash of the outnumbered Union force against a hamstrung CSA line of battle was an overwhelming Union victory.  Price's army scattered and remnants limped back into Arkansas.  Actual CSA casualties from Price's Missouri raid are unknown but some historians place the losses at 75% killed, wounded, or missing.

Ron Smith
111 E 8th St.
PO Box 360
Larned KS 67550

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