THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT, THIS IS WHAT YOU GET
by Jim Scheers
In the musical abyss between New York City and Philadelphia (otherwise known as “New Jersey”), the only place to see punk bands in 1987 is the 321 Club. For suburban outcasts of any age the rundown club in the ghettos of Trenton is both a gauntlet and a haven. At the club, bouncers scream in Nick LaBlanche's face, he can’t last longer than a few seconds in the pit without getting knocked down, and skinheads stalk the new “poser.” But Nick persists and falls in with a group of fellow misfits: the romantic skinhead Victoria, the bookish Oz, the angry but idealistic Austin, and Bird, who becomes his sarcastic guide in his search for a community.
Inspired by the hardcore scene that flourished at the infamous Trenton nightclub City Gardens, This Is What You Want, This Is What You Get is a tightly woven tale of suburban punks suspended between the brutal energy of a fleeting underground scene and the complacent home life that has provided everything they could want ... except the answers they need.
The truth can be hard to look at head on. But facing it is how we grow up.
The year is 1938, and as the shadows of the war to come lengthen, the shadows of wars past still linger. Sixteen-year-old Bill Geiselman knows two things for sure: his grandfather is a Civil War hero, and his father was a coward in World War I.
In a few days, the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg will take place, marked by a gathering of veterans — both the Blue and the Gray. But his father has forbidden him to escort Grandpa Jacob to the reunion — or rather, ‘The Last Encampment,’ as the veterans are growing too old and feeble to travel. Following a violent argument, though, Bill’s grandfather suffers a heart attack and dies.
Angry and guilty, Bill runs away, hitch-hiking along country roads to Gettysburg. Perhaps there he can find Frank Reynolds, his grandfather’s buddy during the Late Unpleasantness, and relay the news of Jacob’s passing. But Bill’s sheltered small-town upbringing puts him in danger. He’s swindled, attacked, and robbed, chased by dogs and angry farmers with shotguns. To survive, he finally turns to theft and deception.
Reaching Gettysburg at last, wandering the camp and battlefield, he begins to doubt his grandfather’s stories. At first the contradictions seem minor. But in the end he has to decide whether Grandpa Jacob really was the hero he’d always made himself out to be ... and whether, perhaps, there’s more to his father than the label ‘coward’ might suggest.
THE LAST ENCAMPMENT by Jenn Freed
"... a page-turner where Huck Finn, in a manner of speaking, meets Henry Fleming of The Red Badge of Courage ... a very nifty tale where the Civil War lives on." — John Bowers, author of STONEWALL JACKSON: PORTRAIT OF A SOLDIER
"A fine story and easy read, told with compassion and a honed sense of the teen years ... a near perfect read for young adults." — Edison McDaniels II, Author of NOT ONE AMONG THEM WHOLE
"A sad but also heartwarming tale ... a great start for someone just studying the 'Late Unpleasantness'." — The Civil War Courier
Paperback, ISBN 978-1937997-51-9, $12.95; ebook $3.99
Paperback: ISBN 978-1-937997-56-4, $9.95 US; Ebook $3.99