Research on a Civil War soldier from Smithfield led to the creation and release of a new book, “Storm Coming: A Novel of the Civil War in Western Virginia.”
Oliphant Furnace-native Jack W. Lewis set out to research the war-based adventures of his great-grandfather, Alexander Swaney, when he stumbled on the complex tale of how the war shaped the formation of West Virginia and impacted the area.
“This is a complex and amazing tale, and I knew so little about it before I began the research for this book, despite growing up right next to Morgantown. I wanted to tell that story through the eyes of the characters who lived it,” Lewis said in a press release.
The book follows the exploits of Swanety and a young Methodist Episcopal pastor, Harrison Hagans, who was said to have joined the First Virginia Cavalry around the same time as Swaney in 1961.
“In my novel, I tried to shine a light on this very important part of the Civil War, which often seems to be swept under the run, especially in Virginia, which appears to be in denial that it ever happened,” he added.
The press released indicates that the book shows loyalties were seriously divided throughout both western and eastern Virginia, with towns and countries right next to each other seeing things completely differently.
“Uniontown figures in several aspects of my novel, in particular as a site of the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves,” Lewis wrote.
“Storm Coming” is available for $15.95 in print and $9.95 online for the ebook. It can be found at the Uniontown Public Library, and on Amazon.
This is Lewis’ fifth publication, prior ones focusing on engineering texts and nonfiction. More information can be found at www.jackwlewis.com.