Trapped in what appears to be an endless bloodbath - vividly presented with Heffernan's meticulous historical research - three boys gradually begin to change until their close-knit childhood ties are little more than a fractured memory. By war's end, one boy is dead, one returns a physically crippled and emotionally compromised man, and the third comes home as an unfeeling psychopath. The novel turns on the subsequent murder of the psychopath, and the offer of redemption for the wounded young man who must investigate the crime.
When Johnny Came Marching Home is a story about war, and how it affects the lives of all who become a part of it, both directly and peripherally.
"Sliding back and forth in time - before, during, and after the Civil War - William Heffernan creates a powerful, intriguing, and complex novel about the intricacies of friendship and the devastating effects of war." (Jonathan Santlofer, author of The Death Artist)
"When Johnny Came Marching Home evokes a young soldier's reluctant relationship to violence and brutality with a chilling realism that brings the reader face-to-face with the moral complexities of even the most noble of wars. Following in the literary tradition of Ernest Hemingway, James Jones, and Larry Heinemann, William Heffernan is able to somehow find grace and beauty amidst the horror of battle." (Kaylie Jones, author of A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries)
"A carefully constructed and evocative Civil War-era tale that will hold you from first to last page. The author has a rare gift for transporting the reader in time and place. Put this one at the top of your list. No one does this kind of novel better than Heffernan." (John Lutz, author of Serial)
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