Only certain people should read the Jackson Speed novels

Sometimes when a person tells me that they are reading one of my Jackson Speed novels, I feel an involuntary cringe. There are some people who really should not read my books, and maybe it would be a good idea to help people self-qualify whether or not they should read Jackson Speed.

And I’ll tell you right now, if you are not the kind of person who should read my books, I sinerely don’t want you to read my books.

About a year ago I found myself in a meeting full of about 50 business owners – most of them folks I didn’t know. One of the people in the room – in front of everyone – announced that he’d read the first Jackson Speed novel.

He didn’t say it in so many words, but he didn’t like the book. He acknowledged that I told a good story, and he acknowledged that I’d developed a character. But he did say he “hates” the character, and when he said it, I understood that what he meant was that he hates the book.

That’s cool. I can live with that. He’s not going to read any more Jackson Speed novels, and that’s okay. My feelings aren’t hurt. I knew when I started writing the books that they were going to appeal to only a certain few people.

I understand that Speed isn’t for everyone, and I get why some people don’t like the books.

So maybe it’s worthwhile to eliminate prospective readers before their sensibilities are destroyed.

 

If the word “nipple” bothers you

The protagonist of the story is an old man telling about his memoirs. The character is not the guy running from Yankee bullets in the Civil War. The character is the old man reminiscing. A lot of what he reminisces about are the women he bedded when he was younger.

When I started writing the novels, it struck me as funny if the old man remembers his love conquests by their nipples. So when Ol’ Speedy remembers the girls – and there were many girls – he remembers them by their nipples. So for every female character in the series, there are nipples times two.

If nipples bother you, please don’t read the Jackson Speed novels.

 

If you are given to moralizing

The Jackson Speed depicted in the novels is not a good, decent, church-going type of person. If you are in law school and you want to develop a firm understanding of “moral turpitude,” perhaps you should let Jackson Speed be your guide. He often conducts himself in a vile, base manner. He is a scoundrel.

His only two motivations are self-preservation and getting belly-to-belly with whatever woman is unfortunate enough to catch his attention. He is no Southern Gentleman.

So if your favorite part of your religiosity is condemning other people who are not as good as you are, please take that somewhere else.

 

If you are offended by bigamy and/or extramarital sex

In all of the book descriptions, I specifically point out that Jackson Speed is a womanizer. While the sex scenes are not graphic depictions, Jackson Speed has sex with a lot of women. He’s only married to a few of them.

 

If you don’t like history

The footnotes alone should be enough to keep you away if you don’t like history. Most of the Jackson Speed books are heavily footnoted because the novels are full of true history. While Speed is a character of my imagination, the setting is often real and many of the secondary characters are people who actually lived. I’ve gone to some lengths to fairly and accurately portray those people, and often the quotes given to them in the books are things they actually said or nearly said. All these portrayals, of course, are through the filter of Jackson Speed – who dislikes most of these people – but I do try to be fair and honest when dealing with historical places, events, and characters.

If you don’t have a love for history, too much of the painstaking research I put into the books will be completely wasted on you. So even if you enjoy the stories and think the character is outrageous and funny, and your favorite word is “nipple,” maybe you should skip the Jackson Speed novels. If you think history is boring and just a bunch of dates and places to be memorized, I might recommend 50 Shades of Gray. I’ve never read it, but I’m told it’s pretty banal.

 

If you are under 16 years of age

You’re too young.

 

If you are anyone’s grandmother

Maybe you’d like “Four Things My Wife Hates About Mornings.”

 

If you are one of these three people

My sons, who have never read them, hate my books. It may have something to do with their father using the word “nipples.”

 

If you are this woman

One of my very first reviews came from a woman who said, “I borrowed this for my free Amazon Prime monthly download. I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. I didn’t finish reading the book. Sorry, I’m not interested in hearing about how many times a 15 year old boy gets laid.”

For the purposes of my story, Jackson Speed needed to be 15 years old when he fled his boyhood home of Scull Shoals, so necessarily the story is about a 15-year-old. And let’s remember, in 1845, a 15-year-old was a man, not a boy. A shit ton of 15-year-olds got holes in them in the War of Northern Aggression.

If this woman is you, don’t read Jackson Speed. You cannot imagine how glad I am that she did not finish reading the book.

 

If you think Robert E. Lee sits on the right hand of Jesus

My books, while well researched and historically informative, take a critical view (Jackson Speed’s point of view) of a lot of historical personages. Robert E. Lee is among them.

I spoke about my books once at a meeting of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. These are my people. These are people who love history, specifically the time period of the mid-1800s. These are people who have a deeply held affection for their forebears. These are people who I can talk to and relate to and spend time with. But let’s be honest – most of these folks don’t read fiction. They just want the War of Northern Aggression in stark and vivid reality. They want Ken Burns and Shelby Foote, not Rob Peecher and Jackson Speed. Although, the speech to the SCV went very well, and I had my audience laughing for an hour. But they still aren’t the folks who are going to read my novels.

And I’m afraid too many of them would have apoplexy when they read High Tide and discover that Speed turns Yankee halfway through the Battle of Gettysburg.

But if you are a Son of Confederate Veterans and you can take a joke, then maybe. Maybe. But don’t get mad at me if you start reading the book and discover that Jackson Speed helped prevent Lincoln’s assassination in ’61.

 

If you think I mean 1961

Come on.

 

There is probably a lot more that should be added to this list, and I’ll continue to give thought to other people who should not read my books. I’m sure more people will read the books, tell me how much they don’t like them, and help me identify the characteristics of people who should not read the Jackson Speed Memoirs.

But if nothing in this list excludes you from reading Jackson Speed, then you really should get on with it.

Click here to start buying the Jackson Speed Memoirs.

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Excerpt from High Tide: Early passes through Gettysburg

A view of the town of Gettysburg from Cemetery Hill.

A view of the town of Gettysburg from Cemetery Hill.

As long as I can remember, one of the many things about the War Between the States that fascinates me is the story of the civilians who lived through the battles.

Imagine sitting safe at home one day and the next day two armies with a combined 100,000 men descend upon your town of 3,000. And then they commence to killing each other, and when they leave, all your homes and public buildings are hospitals and there are more dead people on the hills around your town than there are townsfolk.

As I said, as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with this aspect of the American Civil War.

So as I prepared to write Jackson Speed at the High Tide, I knew that I wanted to place Speed in Gettysburg prior to the battle.

If you’ve read the book, you know that Speed arrives in Gettysburg in June, 1863, just a few weeks before the two armies.

What you may not know is that both the Confederate and Union army had large units pass through Gettysburg prior to the battle. In both instances, the citizens of Gettysburg interacted with the passing soldiers.

One of my favorite scenes from the book takes place as the Confederates are passing through Gettysburg prior to the battle. Jackson Speed is playing the role of a wounded Union officer on leave to recuperate from his wounds.

As unlikely as it seems, I believe the scene is consistent with actual events in terms of the friendly banter that took place between the Confederate invaders and the townspeople. The scene takes place on June 26, 1863 when Confederate General Jubal Early’s division passed through Gettysburg on its way to York, Pennsylvania. This is about five days prior to the battle. As Lee advanced north into Pennsylvania, very strict orders were in place to prevent looting and thievery and other bad behavior toward the citizens. In lieu of looting, Confederate soldiers sometimes took what they wanted and paid for it with Confederate cash which, of course, was worthless in Gettysburg (and pretty well worthless everywhere). So, maybe it’s splitting hairs to say they didn’t loot and steal.

The following is an excerpt from High Tide in which Jackson Speed, a spy for the Confederacy, encounters Jubal Early’s division of the Army of Northern Virginia in Gettysburg on June 26, 1863.

 

I won’t say that here and there they didn’t do some rotten things – vandalism and theft was the worst of it – but on the whole I thought Bobby Lee’s army behaved themselves very well. Those who might have been inclined to do worse to the women had fellow Confederates keeping a pretty sharp eye on them.

Mostly the soldiers walked through the town. I think they were intent on putting up a good show for the citizenry – as the cavalry had done – because soon enough Jube Early would be riding into town making demands for cash. In groups or sometimes in ones and twos, the Rebels engaged the women and men who were now almost universally coming out of their homes. Some shopped in stores. Many stopped by one of the city’s hotels or restaurants for a drink or two or three of whiskey. I saw for myself a small group of Southern privates bust into a sweets shop, roust out the owner and then pay him in Confederate bills for all they took.

I witnessed one rebel private who had clearly got hold of some liquor stumble into a yard where another private was sitting on the front steps. The boy on the steps had asked for food, and the woman of the house had gone inside to get him some. Having seen the woman moments ago, before she’d turned to go back into the house, the drunken private said something pretty rough about what he intended to do to the “Yankee bitch.”

The private on the steps had a pretty calm air about him. As I recall, he was picking at his fingernails with a knife, or maybe he was whittling a stick. Either way, he didn’t look up from his business. But he said pretty clear and loudly, “You do it, and I’ll report you.”

Whatever warnings were issued among the men to behave themselves must have carried with them the promise of swift and merciless punishment, for the threat of being reported was all it took for the drunken private. He did an about-face and fell back in with the rest of the marchers, muttering to himself but making no real objection.

I was at my ease walking among them in civilian clothes, and not a one of them paid me any mind. Nevertheless, with an invading army in the streets and whiskey available on every block, I decided I didn’t need to linger too long in the streets, so I returned to Jenny’s house where I found her on the front porch giving bread and butter to a group of soldiers.

“Cavorting with the enemy now?” I asked her as they wandered off.

Jenny shrugged. “They looked hungry,” she said, “and they’re causing no harm. It’s not as if they’re stealing or burning or killing. Most of them are just boys, anyway.”

Well, those who were boys were not much younger than Jenny herself, but her work as a spy had turned her into an old soul. Of course, these boys in the infantry had souls old enough, too.

It should say something of how Johnny Reb behaved that as Early’s army passed through Gettysburg, some searching houses and others demanding bread and butter, that I felt at ease enough to lounge on Jenny’s front porch with her, rocking in a chair. Lee’s army was in high spirits, and the worst I saw from any of them was gentle teasing.

“How come you ain’t fighting fer the Yankees?” one of them asked me, stopping at the white fence in front of Jenny’s house while Jenny and I watched the soldiers pass from her rocking chairs. He was a young man, probably around twenty years old, and he wore a hat with no crown, a pair of pants with a hole in one knee and a white shirt so grimy with road dirt you’d have thought it was butternut brown. A couple of his buddies – one of them wearing a hat with no brim, a thing I will not forget for between them they had one good hat for two heads – stopped with him, grinning like buffoons as he questioned me.

“Wounded at Antietam,” I told him.

“Antietam, eh?” he called back, thoughtful like. “I was at Antietam. May be I’m the one that did it?”

I grinned back at him. “Could be,” I said, adopting his thoughtful attitude. “I was wounded when a jack ass kicked me and broke my leg. You look very much like the fellow.”

His buffoon friends guffawed all the louder now, slapping my inquisitor on the back. “Haha! You do look like a jack ass, Mose,” one of them said.

Young Moses, without a quick enough wit to find retort, accepted his besting pretty well and laughed along with his friends. He stood at the fence for a moment longer, searching for some sort of response. In the end, he grinned widely, shook his head and said, “Well don’t ye get behind me or I’ll kick ye again.” And with that Moses and his friends continued on their way.

Those boys were in high spirits. I do not think that any of them even realized it was possible that they would not have Philadelphia or Washington D.C. within the week. I think they all just accepted as fact that wherever Bobby Lee wanted them to go they would win another victory.

Jackson Speed: Not really like other historical novels

Billy Oates, Alabama governor, Confederate colonel who led his men up Little Round Top on the second day of Gettysburg. Some of the humor of the Jackson Speed novels comes from putting a character like Ol' Speedy next to a man like Billy Oates.

Billy Oates, Alabama governor, Confederate colonel who led his men up Little Round Top on the second day of Gettysburg. Some of the humor of the Jackson Speed novels comes from putting a character like Ol’ Speedy next to a man like Billy Oates.

A few years ago, when I wrote the first Jackson Speed novel, I was talking to a buddy of mine and trying to describe the book to him.

It’s easy if someone is familiar with George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman Papers, because then I can just say, “Well, Jackson Speed is similar to an American Flashman.”

But my friend wasn’t familiar with Flashman.

“Is it like Shaara’s books?” he asked.

“Um,” I hesitated. “Not really.”

Of course, Jackson Speed is almost nothing like the historical fiction of Jeff and Michael Shaara.

The father and son writers do a magnificent job of interpreting history through their stories, and if you have an interest in the Civil War and that time period, I highly recommend them. I’ve also enjoyed reading Bernard Cornwell’s Starbuck series (although I like his Sharpe series better).

Jackson Speed also isn’t much like Horatio Hornblower or Jack Aubrey.

These are all great historical novels well worth reading.

The history in them ranges from precisely accurate to complete fiction, but they are all wonderful novels that tell really entertaining tales and, for the most part, offer readers mini-lessons in history.

I hope that Jackson Speed also entertains, and I know that there are history lessons hidden within the fiction. But with the exception of Fraser’s Flashman, all of these books take a pretty stoic view of history. Their heroes are heroic. Even when these authors allow their protagonists to be flawed, the flaws are overcome and the heroes find redemption.

Jackson Speed is without redemption, and his flaws run deep, but the thing that drives me when I write these stories is a desire to not take any of it too seriously. I write about horrible times and terrible events, but what I like about Speed is that so long as he escapes it, none of it matters much to him.

When he sees a man shot in the gut in battle and the guy is dying a slow death with his intestines leaking out on the battlefield, Speed is just thankful it wasn’t him who was shot.

When he is forced to give a thought to the institution of slavery, he’s ambivalent because he ain’t in chains.

Of course he’s also horrified by all of it, and scared to death. Part of what makes Jackson Speed so awful as a person is his willingness to succumb to his fear. While the brave men he meets (typically real people from history) charge into battle or do the duty, Speed is crouched behind a tree trunk praying for safety. I love the juxtaposition of Jackson Speed and, for instance, William Oates of the Fifteenth Alabama on the side of Little Round Top on the second day at Gettysburg.

Oates – both the Oates in Jackson Speed at the High Tide and the real Oates of history – was a tough and fearless man, and the men of the Fifteenth Alabama only left that hill when they were nearly out of ammunition and exhausted from terrible fighting, a 20-mile march and climbing up the side of Round Top. And then there’s Jackson Speed, and you’ll know how he escaped that ferocious battle in the woods on the side of that famous hill.

And then, because we see all of this action through Jackson Speed’s memory, these stalwart men of history are viewed as maniacs and imbeciles. And that just amuses me to no end.

So if you’re looking for historical fiction that casts these characters in a stoic and properly respectful attitude, there are some great books out there that I highly recommend.

But if you think you’d like a little humor in your historical fiction, a little coward in your hero, some pinched nipples and slapped butt cheeks, then you might want to give Ol’ Speedy a read.

Is it farcical? Yes.

Is it absurd? Sometimes.

Is it interesting and informative? Absolutely.

Is it like most other historial novels? Um. Not really.

Coming Soon: Jackson Speed at the High Tide

At The High Tide FinalOne hundred and one thousand, six hundred and thirty one words is the final word count on Jackson Speed at the High Tide (less footnotes and introduction). It tops out at a good 30,000 words more than any of the other Speed books.

I’ve finished the final edits this afternoon, and it is no lack of modesty that forces me to say it is a brilliant piece of fiction.

Fans of Jackson Speed have waited an interminable amount of time for this book, and you have my deepest sympathies. It has been an unbelievable challenge for me to get this book written and I have been as expectant as you. But, it is finally done and dusted!

And truthfully, I think you’ll find that Volume IV of the Jackson Speed memoirs was well worth the wait.

In the coming days I’ll have more information about the release date. I have to finish out some of the footnotes (there are 78 footnotes!) and the maps – which are a huge job – and then I have to do the formatting. So there is still work to be done, but the writing, edits and rewriting are complete.

My hope is to have the book published by July 1, which is the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and seems a fitting time to release the book.

Above you can see the cover for the book. I’ve written about it before, but the cover was designed by Alex McArdell who is an amazing and gifted illustrator. I encourage you to check out his other work. Alex did an amazing job with the cover and I’m beyond thrilled with the way it turned out.

Fans of Jackson Speed will know that Volume IV consists of Speedy’s adventures at the Battle of Gettysburg, and they will know, too, that our cowardly hero switched sides multiple times at that battle. Alex did a masterful job of capturing the spirit of the book – the Union coat pulled back to reveal a Confederate coat; Speed’s beloved slouch hat; the tempting Jenny Rakestraw clutching at the chest of a heroic Jackson Speed. He even managed to work in the cupola of the Seminary in the background. Oh! It is brilliant!

I am so excited to get this book into the hands of readers who have come to love Speedy the way I do. In High Tide, readers can join with Jackson Speed as he flees his way from one end of the three-day battle to the next, always looking to save his own skin and, wherever possible, get belly-to-belly with whatever beautiful young woman is available. Speed takes readers from the Seminary cupola on the first day through the streets of Gettysburg as the Army of the Potomac runs for the safety of the hills south of town; he takes them up Little Round Top where he comes face-to-face with the famed 20th Maine; and on the third day of the battle, Speed takes readers across the mile-long wheat field in Pickett’s Charge to the famous Angle where the Confederacy reaches its “High Water Mark.”

And throughout, readers are treated to the humor of Speed’s unique perspective and single-minded purpose of saving his own neck. This “picaresque romp through America’s bloodiest battle” truly is magnificent.

In the meantime, if you have not yet read Jackson Speed on the Orange Turnpike, you should. High Tide will pick up immediately where Orange Turnpike leaves off, and Orange Turnpike is where I introduce the character of the lovely Jenny Rakestraw – the woman for whom Jackson Speed deserts his way into America’s bloodiest battle.

Next Speed book coming soon

Last spring I was diligently working on the Jackson Speed books, churning out pages like a Civil War history machine.

Devil Dan Sickles (left) ... Something seems to be missing.

Devil Dan Sickles (left) … Something seems to be missing.

My plan was to finish in the summer of 2013 the third and fourth Speed books. The third book sees Speed into the battle of Chancellorsville, and the fourth book answers how it was that Speed fought for both the Confederacy and the Union at Gettysburg, and how he managed to win the Medal of Honor from Lincoln.

Another great Civil War mystery is also solved in the fourth book, and I am certain there are historians everywhere who are salivating with anticipation over the release of this book so that they can, for the first time, have a definitive explanation for why Dan Sickles sent the Third Corps out into the Peach Orchard on the second day of Gettysburg.

Anyone familiar with the battle will know that Sickles’ Third Corps of the Army of the Potomac woke on the morning of the second day at Gettysburg in a strong position on Cemetery Ridge. General George Meades’ lines stretched in the famous “fish hook” from Culp’s Hill around Cemetery Hill and down Cemetery Ridge to the Round Tops.

It was good ground that Meade held.

Confederate Gen. James “Old Peter” Longstreet knew it was good ground. He advised Lee not to attack the Union’s defensive position but to skirt south of the Army of the Potomac, find a good defensive position of his own between Meade and Washington D.C., and let the Federals crash upon the Confederate shores (as they had at Fredericksburg eight months earlier). Lee, of course, rejected Longstreet’s advice, and the result was one of the most famous charges of all history. Charges (like Last Stands) are usually famous because of how disastrous they were. The Charge of the Light Brigade. The Charge of Krojanty. Pickett’s Charge.

Inexplicably, on the morning of the second day of the battle, Sickles decided to warp the fish hook.

He pushed Berdan’s sharpshooters into Pitzer’s Woods where they encountered Confederates.

Then, around noon on the second day, Sickles pushed the entire Third Corps forward into the Peach Orchard.

So many of those who witnessed it wrote later about the grand style in which the Third Corps of the Army of the Potomac marched forward: Lined up in columns; Flags unfurled; Bayonets gleaming in the sunshine.

General Win Hancock would be my pick for the best Union general on the field on the second day of Gettysburg. Commanding the Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac and positioned just to Sickles’ north on Cemetery Ridge, Hancock had a good view of the Third Corps’ march in the Peach Orchard.

Hancock was standing with General John Caldwell, who remarked how magnificent the Third Corps looked as it stepped off Cemetery Ridge in grand style and went forward to the Peach Orchard.

“Wait a moment,” Hancock said, “and you will see them come tumbling back.”

Robert E. Lee’s attack plan called for an echelon attack beginning on his right flank and moving left, so the first Confederate troops to set out came out of Pitzer’s Woods and attacked into the Devil’s Den and the Peach Orchard and along the Emmittsburg Road where Sickles had moved the Third Corps.

The Third Corps was destroyed.

Sickles, who was a politician and not a general, personally paid for his folly. He lost his leg at Gettysburg when a cannonball shattered it. He was stretchered from the field.

More tragically, the Third Corps also paid for his folly. It was reduced to such an extent that it was no longer recognized at Gettysburg as a combat unit. Reserves had to be pushed up to fill the void on Cemetery Ridge – the original position held by the Third Corps. Hancock had to order troops into a suicide bayonet charge to hold the Rebels off long enough to get reinforcements up to Cemetery Ridge, so I suppose those poor Yankees paid for Sickles’ folly, too.

Because he was a politician, Dan Sickles was able to secure for himself the Medal of Honor. In my studies of military history, I have determined that politicians did not always make excellent generals, but they were remarkably successful in spinning their failures into chest decorations.

What’s puzzled historians over the years is this: Why? Why did Dan Sickles give up a good defensible position? Cemetery Ridge was a position his enemy (at least in the case of Longstreet) did not want to attack. Go to the field yourself. Stand on Seminary Ridge and look at Cemetery Ridge. You don’t need to be a West Point graduate. Common sense will tell you that you hold that ridge.

The answer from Sickles and the one most historians have accepted is that the Peach Orchard presented a small rise in the low ground between the Union and Confederacy. Sickles claimed that the Peach Orchard appeared to him to be a position from which the Confederacy could establish artillery and threaten the Union lines.

This is, of course, absurd nonsense!

Now, 150 years later, the truth is poised to be revealed.

Jackson Speed, in the upcoming book “Jackson Speed at the High Tide” (the fourth book in the Jackson Speed memoirs), reveals the true reason why Sickles sent the Third Corps forward to its destruction.

But, as I said from the outset, my plans to release the third and fourth books in the Jackson Speed series got delayed considerably.

Editing memoirs (or writing fiction, whatever) takes time, and sometimes you think you’ve got a chapter edited (or written, whatever) and you find you have to go back and re-edit it (or write it, whatever).

So I’ve been delayed a bit. The third book, Jackson Speed on the Orange Turnpike, should be out in a matter of just a few weeks now. The fourth book – the one where Sickles is revealed to have been just as nuts at Gettysburg as he was when he ran into Francis Scott Key’s son in Washington D.C. – should follow in a few months.

If you’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of the next Speed book and thought you would have it by now, let me say two things: 1. I’m sorry. I’m working on it! I promise it’s coming soon. And 2. Jackson Speed on the Orange Turnpike will be better for the wait. I promise.

Not another Civil War book

I have recently finished writing “Jackson Speed and the Blood Tubs” and am currently writing “Jackson Speed at the High Tide.” Both are set just before or during the American Civil War.

This is hallowed ground I’m treading upon, and I know it. My family is eat up with Civil War (a family farm actually makes an appearance in “Jackson Speed at the High Tide”). My oldest son is named for his sixth great-grandfather who lost his arm at Vicksburg, serving with his father and four brothers. Nobody has more respect for the history of the Civil War than I do.

Jackson Speed was caught on the cover of Harper's Weekly resting a comforting hand on Kate Cherry's bottom during the bombardment of Fort Sumter.

Jackson Speed was caught on the cover of Harper’s Weekly resting a comforting hand on Kate Cherry’s bottom during the bombardment of Fort Sumter.

But let’s be honest … There are a hundred thousand fiction and non-fiction books about the American Civil War, and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine of those take an appropriately reverent approach to their subjects.

Even for the most fanatical of Civil War fanatics, you could never hope to read but the smallest percentage of Civil War books. I mean, it takes a couple of decades to get through Shelby Foote’s “The Civil War: A Narrative” (which comes in three volumes of a million pages each), and that’s required reading. If you haven’t read Foote’s Narrative, don’t even talk to me about the Civil War.

Of course, nearly all of it is required reading. Personally, I think the finest Civil War historian has been Glenn Tucker. His histories are incomparable in my opinion. I know a lot of people don’t care for Tucker, and he challenged some long-held views about Gettysburg and Old Peter. Nevertheless, for my money, Tucker does it better than most Civil War historians.

In every Civil War book I’ve ever read, one thing was consistent and clear: The author understood that the American Civil War is sacred. Lincoln is to be revered. Robert E. Lee venerated. The warriors were honorable, the battles worthy, the cause of preserving the Union and freeing the slaves righteous.

The Jackson Speed books are not that.

“Jackson Speed and the Blood Tubs” is the first in the Jackson Speed Memoirs to get Speedy into the Civil War, and only the smallest bit of the book is set during the war.

Speed is there when the cannonballs trace their arc in the Charleston sky to explode among the Yankees in Fort Sumter (no Yankees were killed during the making of this bombardment). And when a cannonball lands at Bobby Lee’s feet on Marye’s Heights overlooking the Battle of Fredericksburg, it’s Ol’ Speedy who’s standing nearby.

If you’re looking for a definitive Civil War novel that captures the horror and tragedy and heartbreak, the courage and honor and dignity, I can recommend some fine books, but Jackson Speed will not provide you with those things.

While I take great pains to ensure historical accuracy and spend more time researching than writing, I do not pretend that “Jackson Speed and the Blood Tubs” or “Jackson Speed at the High Tide” fall into the category of Civil War fiction.

Instead, I’m writing Jackson Speed books set during the Civil War.

Those familiar with Ol’ Speedy from the first volume of his memoirs, “Jackson Speed: The Hero of El Teneria,” know that Speed isn’t your typical Civil War Southern Presbyterian officer who prays for God’s favor when he commences to killing his enemies. No, if Jackie Speed is praying for anything, it’s that God will help him find a hidey-hole to crawl into until the shooting is done.

Speed holds no man in esteem when that man’s goal is to get him at the death, and so Stonewall Jackson is a priggish Presbyterian who looks like a flapping duck any time he attempts to ride his horse; Sherman is a red-headed little devil. To Speed, they are all maniacs and madmen who enjoy the slaughter.

And, of course, his one motivating desire is to get belly-to-belly with any woman unfortunate enough to catch his eye, and so while the cannons are blasting, you can bet that Speed is likely as not hiding in some bedchamber and hoping to use the woman astride him for cover should a cannonball come bouncing into the room.

No, the Jackson Speed Memoirs are not Civil War novels, they are Jackson Speed novels with a Civil War backdrop. My brand of humor and Jackson Speed’s unique observations have no place in Civil War literature.