Stonewall Hinkleman excerpt

As you look at your new Penguin catalog pondering just how many copies of Stonewall Hinkleman to order, you may ask yourself, “Is this book any good?”

While the Riddleburger name is as good as a freshness guarantee, an excerpt may help give you an idea of what Stonewall’s all about.

Here you go…. Before Stonewall goes back in time he gives us a look at his present-day existence. It’s not pretty.


All right, let’s get the whole name thing out of the way quickly.

My name is Stonewall Hinkleman.

No, it’s not a nickname. It’s my real name. Like I tell my parents – even Stonewall Jackson’s real name wasn’t Stonewall. But they don’t listen and it’s too late now anyway. I’m stuck with it.

So, you’d think I could at least go by my middle name, right? It’s Traveler, after Robert E. Lee’s horse. Yeah, that’s right, a horse!

I’m Stonewall Traveler Hinkleman and if you think that’s as bad as it gets, you haven’t heard the worst part.

You see, both of my parents are Civil War reenactors. This means my dad –

who’s really a boring insurance salesman – dresses up in a uniform and runs around in fields with a bunch of other boring guys who are all pretending they are in the Civil War. My mother pretends she’s a nurse, even though in real life she faints at the sight of blood.

Going to reenactments is my life almost every weekend. I have fought, I have cried, I have argued, I have resisted, but they make me go, too. I am twelve years old and I am the bugle boy, probably the dorkiest thing you can be. Even if I wanted to – and I don’t – I’m not old enough to march with the troops and shoot a gun. And I’m too old to still think all of this is cool.


Sometimes when I’m complaining about my crappy life, some kid at school will say, “What’s the big deal? Reenactments sound cool and it’s got to be better than sitting at home all weekend.”

Wrong! Sitting at home all weekend rocks compared to going to a reenactment.

Think about all the things that are good in life: DVDs, TV, PlayStation, Dr. Pepper, ice cream, French fries, YouTube and MySpace, Taco Bell, comfortable chairs, sleeping late, mattresses, Reeses Puffs cereal, Lego robots, Japanese comic books and clothing that doesn’t itch like holy heck.

None of those had been invented yet when the Civil War happened. Or even if they had you couldn’t get them while fighting the Civil War. So that’s why you can’t have them at a reenactment.

There you have it. Yes, he’s got a bad attitude, but it’s nothing that a little time in the real Civil War can’t fix.


3 Responses

  1. Dang, I love it!

    “Traveler” by Richard Adams is one of my favorite books, and I was a Civil War reenactor for about one battle when I was in college. I’m hooked!

  2. Reeses Puffs. Mmm.

  3. Great voice, that kid! Can’t wait for more!

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