CHICAGO — "Hell or Richmond" by Ralph Peters, published by Forge Books, is the winner of the 2014 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award “for excellence in Military Fiction.”
The W. Y. Boyd Literary Novel Award honors the best fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. Donated by author W. Y. Boyd II, the $5,000 award honors the service of American veterans and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction.
According to General William T. Sherman, “War is hell.” Ralph Peters’ novel "Hell or Richmond" is a stunning recreation of the hell of war during the fighting in Virginia from early May to early June, 1864. This catastrophic month of brutal combat resulted in 88,000 casualties as Grant pushed the Union Army south, stopping at nothing to defeat Lee and his army of Confederates.
A former military officer and enlisted man himself, the author brings to his writing a deep grasp of the military culture of the period; a detailed knowledge of the Union and Confederate chain of command; and a vital understanding of the climate and terrain of the fields of combat. His writing brings to life a wide array of rich characters, with all their strengths and weaknesses, portraying great men in a fresh historical light. Peters’ writing further gives voice to the common men who composed the warring armies. You live with them as they express—in authentically raw soldiers language—their concerns and complaints about life, the army, the food, the weather and, not least, the Virginia mud. You stand with them all as they fight, suffer wounds—or die.
"Hell or Richmond" finely portrays the human side of war, along with the horrific carnage, the influence of politics, inspiring courage, glory and defeat. Drawn from countless sources and brilliantly written, this very well crafted book is a must-read for those who long to understand the blood, toil and torment faced by both armies as our Civil War neared its end.
The members of the W. Y. Boyd jury overwhelmingly selected "Hell or Richmond" for this year’s award. The award ceremony will be on June 29 at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas.
Members of the 2014 W. Y. Boyd Literary Award committee are Robert Schnare, Naval War College, Newport, R.I. (retired); Lawrence Clemens, United States Naval Academy, Nimitz Library, Annapolis, Md.; John G. Jaffe, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, Va.; Maxine Reneker, Monterey, Calif.; Ronald Steensland, Panama City, Fla.; and Beth McGuire, Greensburg, Pa.
More information on the W.Y. Boyd Literary Award, including how to submit a nomination, is available on the ALA website.