Fort Pillow Massacre: Nathan Bedford Forrest and Madison Smartt Bell
Look at the lady with the rock in her hand, a child pulling at her skirt. The Fort Pillow Massacre. Madison Smartt Bell is a writer I admire. We have mutual friends. His writing intrigues and illumines. I’ve given more than my share of All Souls Rising as presents. Bell lights much darkness.
It’s hard to imagine the great youngish man of Southern letters, Madison Smartt Bell, and the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, villain of the Fort Pillow Massacre, having much of anything to do with each other. But now, intriguingly they do.
Madison’s new book is called Devil’s Dream. It is a novel about Nathan Bedford Forrest, the man who led the Fort Pillow massacre, the man who founded the Klan, the man who underlines, for me, the insignificance of intellect without moral insight.
Forrest was, by most accounts, a very, very smart man.. I am quite curious to read what Bell, a very smart man with a profound moral and artistic compass, makes of Forrest. I think I know what this lady with a rock in her hand and a child clinging to her skirts thinks of him.