Jonathan Alex Noyalas Director, McCormick Civil War Institute, Shenandoah University

5.0 out of 5 stars — Excellent!

Thomas Carlyle once observed, “history is the essence of innumerable biography.” Eugene Betit’s first book offers a great reminder to all about the value of individual stories. Those stories, as Carlyle believed, help us build a deeper connection to the past. Through the eyes of the Hite Family, Betit’s book offers tremendous insight into how families responded to the American Civil War and why all members of the Hite family who were of military age (40 in total) enlisted to fight for the Confederacy. In addition to gaining a glimpse into the lives of these young men Betit’s finely crafted and cogent volume, tugs at the heart strings as he recounts the stories of some members of the Hite family, such as George Smith Hite who enlisted in the 19th Virginia Infantry at the tender age of fourteen and did not live to see fifteen—having succumbed to wounds received at the Battle of Gaines’ Mill in 1862. Beyond the fascinating glimpses Betit offers, this study provides insight into the broader history of the Civil War era in Virginia, and specifically the Shenandoah Valley. Betit’s fine book is a worthwhile addition to anyone who interested in the lives of Confederate soldiers, the conflict in the Old Dominion, or who desire to gain a deeper understanding of how our American Iliad deeply impacted families, not only during the conflict, but years after the guns fell silent.