Winner of the Western Heritage Wrangler and Spur Awards for his Western fiction, former sports journalist Johnny D. Boggs combines three American icons -- the Old West, the Civil War and baseball -- in Camp Ford, which has won the prestigious 2006 Spur Award from Western Writers as America as Best Western Novel. During the 1946 Boston-St. Louis World Series, 99-year-old Win MacNaughton recalls the greatest baseball game of his entire life, and the events leading to that 1865 contest between a ragtag collection of Union prisoners of war against a squad of Confederate prison guards. As a young boy in Newport, Rhode Island, MacNaughton falls in love with the new sport of baseball. When his family moves to the frontier community of Jacksboro, Texas, Win preaches baseball while his father pushes for Abolition. The outbreak of the Civil War sends the MacNaughtons back to Rhode Island, where Win’s father enlists in the Union Army. After a family tragedy, young Win runs away from home with best friend Mike Peabody to join the Union cause and avenge his father’s death. Captured in Louisiana during the catastrophic Red River Campaign, Win is sent along with a good many others to Camp Ford near Tyler, Texas -- the largest prisoner of war compound west of the Mississippi River. There, some POWs play baseball to pass the time, and Confederate guards develop a fondness for the damnyankee game. Soon, a game between the guards and POWs is proposed. At first, the contest for the prisoners is merely an attempt to escape confinement until winning becomes the most important thing in their lives, and something their Rebel opponents are determined will not happen. Meticulously researched, Camp Ford blends pathos with humor in this bittersweet story of friendship, betrayal, and the love of baseball.
"Boggs’ carefully researched novel boasts meticulously drawn characters and captures in a striking way the amazing changes America underwent during the span of one man's life. An unusual, very rich western that should attract not only genre readers but also baseball fans and Civil War buffs.” -- Booklist “A serious student of the game with a respect for history, the author weaves a heartfelt, well-rendered story about friendship and betrayal and, of course, baseball.” -- The Denver Post
“Camp Ford is a terrific book, humorous, sad, suspenseful, the most unusual Western of the year.” -- Roundup "... a must read for history buffs and baseball enthusiasts alike.” -- abqARTS
"As baseball stories go, Camp Ford by Johnny D. Boggs is a home run. ... Think The Longest Yard ... about baseball and without the glamour. ... timeless." -- USA Today Sports Weekly