It took me long enough to read this under 200 page book about Nathan Bedford Forrest. General Forrest has always been one of my heroes and so when I saw the title of this book, Nathan Bedford Forrest's Redemption, I snatched it up at the Suwanee Raid reenactment
without hardly even thinking about it. Upon getting it home and removing the plastic, I found that the author, Shane Kastler, is an ordained Southern Baptist as well as an SCV member.

This book is decidedly Christian. Not only does Mr. Kastler quote scripture, but he continually draws one's attention back to the goodness and graciousness of the Lord--in his blessing of Bedford finacially before the war, in preserving his life during the war, and drawing him to Himself as he got continually feebler and more ill.
    There was a mildness in his manner, a softness of expression, and a gentleness in his words that appeared to me strange and unnatural. At first I thought his bad health had brought about this change, but then I remembered that when sick or wounded he was the most restless and impatient man I ever saw. Soon I told him that there was something about him that I couldn't understand, that he didn't appear to me to be the same man I used to know so well. He was silent for a moment, then seemed to divine my trouble, and, halting suddenly, he took hold of the lapel of my coat and turned me squarely in front of him, and raising his right hand with that long index finger (his emphasizer) extended, he said, "Major, I am not the man you were with so long and knew so well. I hope I am a better man. I've joined the Church and am trying to live a Christian life...Mary has prayed for me night and day for many years, and I feel now that through her prayers my life has been spared, and to them am I indebted for passing safely through so many dangers." 
        ~~Major Charles Anderson
Mr. Kastler paints a vivid picture of the man. I understand Bedford Forrest better than ever now. He does not try to hide his faults (such as his filthy bad temper) nor does he attempt to make more of them than necessary (such as the Fort Pillow massacre). He attempts to show the reader both the sins and the virtues of the man.

What is so very intersting about General Forrest is that he knew from his youth the tenets of Christianity. He believed them, but did not necessarily apply them to himself. He encouraged them in others--going so far to make sure his son, who enlisted with in at the beginning of the War Between the States, had other godly young men to associate with.

Nathan Bedford Forrest's Redemption is not an extremely in-depth book. It is an easy read and if I hadn't been distracted by other things, I probably could have finished it in practically one-sitting. I enjoyed it very much and would highly recommend it. Looking at it from a purely objective standpoint (whatever a 'purely objective standpoint' is!), I would be inclined to say that a unbeliever might find it somewhat preachy as Mr. Kastler takes the time to use examples from scripture to prove whatever point he is after.

You could give this to your kids to read without worrying about the content (unless you are worried that they will start saying 'damn'--that is in at least one quote). The writing-style is simple and engaging. There is much about Forrest that we could emulate, but like with any man, there is much we can learn from his faults. 

5-stars

        Racheal

 





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