Brother against Brother

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Adams, William Taylor. [As Oliver Optic] Brother against Brother. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1894. [The Blue and the Gray Army Series] Out of print.

The initial offering in Adams's last Civil War series, Brother against Brother introduces the Lyon clan, New Englanders transplanted to Kentucky. Upon the death of eldest brother Duncan, two younger Lyon brothers -- Unionist Noah and secessionist Titus -- epitomize the tensions that split the divided state of Kentucky. Meanwhile, Noah's son and nephew, Deck and Artie Lyon, engage in vigorous boys' adventures in the cause of the Union.

This is a long, carefully constructed, reflective family saga, much unlike the desultory, astringently witty "Oliver Optics" of previous years. The style and concerns of Brother against Brother are so different from those of the Blue & Gray naval novels, as well as from earlier "Oliver Optic" books, that I suspect Adams had largely retired from the scene and given the franchise over to ghostwriters (though it would not be till An Undivided Union in 1899 that the presence of a new writer, Edward Stratemeyer, would be acknowledged; Stratemeyer's style is in turn quite distinct from that of Brother against Brother).


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