What happened to former slaves after the American Civil War? One of them, a man known only as Catesby, achieved great things. First introduced in "Catesby: Eyewitness to the Civil War," his story continues in "The Return of Catesby" by historian and author Bob O'Connor.
The young survivor of John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry and imprisonment in the infamous Andersonville Prison overcame crippling injury and adverse circumstances to serve a President and become a trusted ally of white officers. His blacksmith skills led to alliances with influential men on both sides of the conflict, including Confederate leader Robert E. Lee. Later, he survived the explosion of the Sultana, a steamboat returning freed Andersonville prisoners to their homes in the north.
Catesby was not an educated man by most standards, but he absorbed every experience that came his way and learned everything he could. He began his education at his mother's knee, learning to read. Although she was a slave as well, she instilled in her son a love of learning. He used that learning to step ever upward in life and he eventually became a teacher at Storer College, a school begun to provide education to freed slaves.
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With only one name, no known birthday, and an unknown father, this man who was began his life as a slave became far freer than many of the white men of his time. In "The Return of Catesby," readers will have an opportunity to understand his philosophy of life and learning as he shares it through his journals.
O'Connor lets his affection for history shine through in the narrative. The reader walks through Catesby's world, privy to his thoughts and motivations. This book should become a classic in multiple genres. Not only is the history captivating; the motivational aspects of the book will inspire as well.
Make no mistake: Catesby was a motivator as well as a teacher. Those students who sat in his classroom learned about living a better life along with the traditional school subjects. To the roster of such gifted life leaders as Og Mandino, Zig Ziglar and Dale Carnegie, we can add the name of Catesby. He was the Anthony Robbins of his day.
Read "The Return of Catesby" as a fascinating biography, a Civil War story or a self-improvement book. But be sure to read it. Catesby will charm you with his wisdom and his heart, even as he challenges you to be the best “You” that you can be.
“The Return of Catesby” by Bob O’Connor
Published by Infinity Publishing
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review copy provided by the author with no restrictions as to content. All opinions are my own.