NOW OR NEVER! Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery

*“Absolutely stellar.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Honesdale, Pennsylvania July 2017 -- Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights, is pleased to announce the publication of NOW OR NEVER! Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery, written by debut author Ray Anthony Shepard, a grandson of a slave. The title, also a Junior Library Guild main selection, will be published this October.

George E. Stephens and James Henry Gooding were not only soldiers in the famous Black regiment of the Civil War— they were also the first African American war correspondents to report from the battlefield. Their dispatches told the unflinching truth about their lives at camp, their intense training, and the tragedies on the battlefield. Like their fellow Black soldiers, they not only fought against the Confederacy and the inhumanity of slavery, but also against injustice in their own Army.

Based on extensive primary source research, this riveting dual biography illuminates the lives and work of Stephens and Gooding through their letters home to their families and insightful war reports.

In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews raves: « ““Two black Civil War soldiers and writers offer unique perspectives about how they fought on and off the battlefield… both showing a different side of the war to blacks and abolitionists. Author Shepard does a great job using the dispatches from these men to form the basis for this narrative. The most impressive contribution is how the individual voices of (the soldiers) are in the forefront with their similarities and distinctions. This is a powerful use of primary resources… Absolutely stellar.”

NOW OR NEVER! Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Infantry’s War to End Slavery

Calkins Creek * Written by Ray Anthony Shepard * October 2017 * 978-1-62979-340-5 * $17.95 US * $23.50 CAN

ebook 978-1-62979-916-2 * Includes archival images, author’s note, bibliography, timeline and source notes * boydsmillspress.com * rayanthonyshepard.com

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