Firepower — A Review
When I was in my 20s, I enjoyed historical fiction. I became an avid reader in the navy and would be so engrossed in a book that F-14s slamming into the deck above me went unnoticed. On one cruise I was obsessed with Leon Uris. He was very good at telling a story in the context of history. He used enough well-known facts to keep it credible, but the story was primary. Having lived in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, if you want a glimpse into the historic basis of the “troubles” and current politics, Trinity would be a good place to start.
Philip Leigh provides the same opportunity and experience with his novel Firepower. Mr. Leigh is an experienced non-fiction author and Civil War historian. He put his knowledge to excellent use. Through his novel, he credibly describes how repeating rifle technology, that was available, never made it to widespread use during the Civil War.
The book provides insight into aspects of the 1860s that I found interesting. Most prominent was the bureaucracy that existed in the Federal government even then. Leigh’s descriptions of the companies involved in the manufacture of the standard firearms of the day were well done. He even provides a picture of the manufacturing processes and the challenges associated with gearing up production.
There is plenty of intrigue. The intimate discussions of loyalty and people making difficult decisions are insightful and even touching. There are spies who take significant risks to provide the Richmond government information about developments in the North.
While I got a lot out of the book overall, two scenes really stand out. One is with President Lincoln and one with a black doctor working with the Confederates. Firepower is an enjoyable piece of historical fiction.