Book Review – Tree Soldier by J. L. Oakley

treesoldierTree Soldier is a very interesting look at a time (1935) when America was struggling to recover from the depression. I think the whole world was. With unemployment over 25%, not many people could find work. Thus was born the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), which both promoted the conservation of our natural resources and put young men to work. Many of these men sent their checks home to support parents, siblings, and anyone in their families.

The men of the CCC built forest roads and bridges, fought forest fires, and planted trees, among other things. They also finished or extended their schooling and were held to strict moral standards.

Tree Soldier is the story of Park Hardesty, a boy who grew into manhood in the CCC. Park is a quiet man with his own ghosts that need laid to rest. And one who catches the eye of Kate Alford, who is trying to convince the CCC there’s a place for women in their ranks.

I’ll admit to a personal interest in this story since it’s set in my home state of Washington. Generally, I’m more focused on the characters than the historical significance of the story. I’m all about the relationships in stories I read and there were a couple places I wanted a bit more on Park and Kate, but even this finishes strong.

Tree Solder seemed so well-researched and so steeped in history, I felt fully immersed in the time. It actually made me strike up conversations with my parents about that post-depression era and I appreciate that.

I understand there may be a prequel coming out and I’ll be standing in line to pick it up when it does.

Here’s the author’s website if you’d like to read further: Janet Oakley

9 responses to “Book Review – Tree Soldier by J. L. Oakley

  1. I enjoyed Janet Oakley visit to the Tacoma Readers and am not surprised Tree Soldier is so good. My dad was in the CCC’s though he didn’t talk much about it. Now I wished he had.

    • I didn’t know your Dad was in the CCC. It really made men out of boys. And in a good way, with a work ethic and moral code. At least, from what little I know about it, it seems that’s what they tried to do. The story felt very well researched.

  2. Another interesting recommendation, Laurie. I didn’t know about the CCC. I’ve found several new authors from the posts here at OTBF, and will be forever grateful to you for putting me on to Margaret Mallory’s Return of the Highlander series 🙂

    • I so know what you mean about Margaret Mallory’s Highlander series. The first story in that series just came out in audiobook and I had to have it. I love the voice they got to do it. I’ll be walking to her series for quite a while, I think. 🙂

  3. Sounds another great read – I just wish I time to read all the books recommended here – am certainly never short of suggestions. Thanks, Laurie.

  4. I need to read this. My mom’s dad was in the CCC and he fed his family for many years with that work. Awesome that this book exists.

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