Join author Luke Salisbury as he reads from his newest novel, No Common War, a fictionalized history of his own family's participation in the abolition movement and the Civil War.
In 1835, two Salisbury brothers journey to Washington City from Sandy Creek, New York to promote their town. In Washington, they witness a slave being whipped. Mason Salisbury tries to intervene and is struck across the face with the whip.
Mason becomes an ardent abolitionist. In 1861, his son, Moreau, is at seminary when Fort Sumter is fired on, beginning the Civil War. Moreau cannot reconcile the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” with killing, even given the abomination of slavery. But his mind is changed when he discovers an escaped slave trying to get to Canada. Moreau and his cousin Merrick join the 24th New York Volunteers.
The summer of 1862 is a succession of battles. The 24th Volunteers meets the rebels for the first time at Cedar Mountain. Moreau sees men killed, smells powder and blood, hears the screams of the wounded. He fires at Confederate soldiers firing at him. The 24th fights at Groveton, is part of the disastrous charge at the sunken railroad bed at Second Bull Run, fights its way up South Mountain under heavy fire, and then is in the third wave through the cornfield in the fateful battle at Antietam.
No Common War presents battle as the Civil War infantryman experienced it, and does not shrink from depictions of the primitive medical treatment of wounds and infection, but it also shows the home front where the families and lovers of the combatants must sit and wait.
No Common War is based on the war experiences of the author’s great-grandfather, Moreau Salisbury. The photograph on the book jacket is of the same Moreau Salisbury.
Luke Salisbury was born in Rhinebeck, New York. He grew up in Oyster Bay and Huntington, Long Island and attended the Hun School of Princeton. In 1965 he read The Great Gatsby and his fate was sealed. All he wanted to do was write as well as that book was written, and if he couldn't do it, to try. In 1969 he graduated from New College in Sarasota, Florida, an experimental college that offered few rules and no grades. In 1984 he graduated from the Boston University Creative Writing Program. He taught at Bunker Hill Community College from 1984 to 2012. Following Mr. Salisbury's graduation from New College, he taught third grade in the Bronx where he learned about America in a way that could not be learned in any other way. His first novel, The Cleveland Indian, inspired by the first Native American to play major league baseball, was published in 1992 by The Smith and reissued by Black Heron Press in 2007. No Common War is Mr. Salisbury's fourth book of fiction. He has published one book of nonfiction, The Answer is Baseball, called the best baseball book of 1989 by The Chicago Tribune. Mr. Salisbury is a former secretary and vice-president of the Society for American Baseball Research and has contributed articles to many baseball books and magazines. His awards include Book of the Year (Online Review of Books & Current Affairs) and Best Historical Fiction 2006 (USABookNews), both for Hollywood & Sunset, his second novel. He lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts with his wife, Barbara. Their son, Ace, is a filmmaker in Brooklyn.