The WPSD program for the fourth quarter of 2010 will be an Art Exhibit and Book Signing at Saks Galleries - Cherry Creek, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 20th. Tom Petrie '67 will be featuring his military art collection, and Rich Adams '67 will present his new book, The Parting: A Story of West Point on the Eve of the Civil War.
Tom has an outstanding collection of Nineteenth Century Military and Western American subjects. If you have seen his collection, which was featured at the Denver Art Museum in 2002 as part of the West Point Bicentennial Celebration, you know it's well worth viewing again. If you haven't seen it, I can say from experience that you will find the works more than interesting.
Rich's new book looks to be a naturally good read for West Point grads, as you can tell from the title alone. Rich will be giving an introduction to his latest work and answering questions, with books available onsite. A short description of the book is below.
It is July 18, 1861 near Winchester, Virginia. The Civil War has begun, and Confederate Lieutenant John Pelham, formerly of the West Point Class of 1861, is about to confront his former classmates and best friends at the First Battle of Bull Run.
The confident Pelham bears little resemblance to the seventeen-year-old who journeyed alone five years earlier from Jacksonville, Alabama, to West Point, New York, to enter the United States Military Academy. As the class begins its final year, Pelham meets Clara Bolton, a Philadelphian belle who captures his heart. In the months that follow, Pelham, Clara, and the Class of 1861 witness the unraveling of the Union and the birth of the Confederacy against the political backdrop of slavery and states' rights, the Democratic and Republican Parties, the fire-eaters of the South, and the abolitionists of the North.
The book's cover artwork is adapted from the painting Encampment on the Plain, by William Guy Wall, 1862, courtesy of the personal art collection of Thomas Petrie (West Point Class of 1967). Superimposed on the painting are cameo photographs of John Pelham and Edmond (Ned) Kirby, West Point classmates and best friends.
To a very great extent, The Parting authentically defines the Victorian world of West Point and embodies characters who are real and whose personalities and relationships are based on non-fictional sources. The principal protagonist, John Pelham, one of Alabama's most lauded sons, is the most popular man in his class, though not much inclined to follow Academy rules. Other cadet characters include Edmond Kirby (New York), Henry du Pont (Delaware), Thomas Rosser (Texas), George Custer (Ohio), Adelbert Ames (Maine), Nathaniel Chambliss (Tennessee), Charles Patterson (Arkansas), Henry Walter Kingsbury (Connecticut), Emory Upton (New York), Charles Hazlett (Ohio), Patrick O'Rorke (New York), Charles Ball (Alabama), and Henry Farley (South Carolina).
Woven into the story are the Academy's military and academic leadership, Jefferson Davis's ties to West Point, the venerable General Winfield Scott, the first-ever visit to North America by British Royalty culminating in an appearance at West Point, and the legendary tavern keeper and thorn in the Academy's side, Benny Havens.