Now that The Falcon is out, I’ve been asked a few times about the titles of the Hanlin series. I wasn’t going to answer right now – until I read Drew Gilpin Faust’s article yesterday in The Atlantic.
In Two Wars and the Long Twentieth Century she compares the Civil War and World War I, finding that the Civil War was more than just a precursor. It’s a good article, if you have the time it’s more than worth it.
It also gets deep into the heart of what I’m trying to do with William Hanlin’s Civil War – it’s no coincidence that the prologue starts in April 1917 when Woodrow Wilson went before Congress to declare war on Germany.
The Civil War was the first industrialized war . . . which came as quite the shock to everyone involved in it with the possible exception of Herman Melville (later). It started with volunteers, became a war of conscription, hundreds of thousands of troops were introduced to the effectiveness of rifles and rifled artillery.
It was ugly and only got uglier until it ended with the trenches of Petersburg (right) and a landscape that anyone associated with Ypres, Passchendaele (above), and the Somme would recognize in a heartbeat.
Which is why (okay, there’s more but, well, later) I used William Butler Yeat’s poem The Second Coming for the Hanlin Series titles:
The highlighted text are the seven titles of the Hanlin series, all really do have special meaning . . . as I hope is self explainatory for the first book, The Ceremony of Innocence and The Falcon once you recognize George B. McClellan on the cover.