Posted: August 30, 2007 in Stories

In the initial weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck two years ago, people I think of as God’s Servant-Heroes descended on us from everywhere. Among those heroes of mine was a retired airline pilot from Nashville named Jim Knight.

Jim carries himself as a simple, good-hearted country boy, which immediately endeared him to Gene Logan, one of my elders (and another hero). They became instant buddies, and of all the neat people Gene fell in love with over the course of the next several months, Jim made the short list of favorites.

Somewhere in that crazy post-Katrina world someone told Jim I was a writer, which is quite a stretch. Anyway, Jim does some writing, too, so this initiated a fun conversation. I learned that Jim writes history, which is a big chunk of the way he enjoys retired life. He had a book published on a modern rendering of the story of Bonnie and Clyde, a book he sent me when he made it back home to Nashville.

Jim and I kept up by email along the way, and I was pleased when he jumped in to my ragtag group of young punk bloggers on our Desperate Houseflies blog. Jim wrote under the name Captain MidKnight, and entertained us with some of us historical writings.

After a while, we sort of lost touch, but not too long ago the good Captain reappeared and told me he had sent me a book in the mail. It was “Letters to Anna,” pictured above.

I started reading it on Monday while Hillary was in jazz dance class, and I read an entire third of the book in my first sitting. I couldn’t wait to pick up the story again on Tuesday, and I didn’t go to bed that night until I had finished the book. I enjoyed it that much!

In “Letters to Anna,” Jim tells the story of Burton and Anna Warfield, a distantly related couple who lived through the Civil War. As he tells their story, he masterfully weaves the entire history of the Civil War therein (I think I learned the Civil War better in those two days than in all my old history classes!). Burton spent two of the four war years in various Union prisons, and the correspondence between he and his wife that has miraculously survived are fascinating.

For $12.95 plus shipping, you can go to and get yourself a copy, but I’ve got an even better deal for you. Jim told me he sends out autographed copies himself for $15, which includes shipping.

If you are even the slightest history buff, send me a note and I’ll hook you up with Jim Knight. It will be fifteen bucks well spent.

  1. Lisa says:

    Al, I’d love a copy!! my email is Thanks!

  2. Al Sturgeon says:

    Got it, Lisa! I just sent Jim a note with your email address!

    You’ll enjoy it, but more than anything, you’ll enjoy interacting with a neat guy like Jim…

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