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March 20, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

BATTLEFIELD: Farming a Civil War Battleground by Peter Svenson (Ballantine: $11; 246 pp., illustrated). When Peter Svenson purchased a 40-acre hay farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley in 1985, he was surprised to discover he had bought part of the site of the Battle of Cross Keys, where Stonewall Jackson scored a minor victory over the Union in 1862. As Svenson built his home, he researched the battle, juxtaposing his efforts to create a new life for his family with a growing desire to understand the past: "I am balanced on the cusp between agriculture and history. Every step I take seems to reverberate on the empty husk of time, and time itself often stops when I find myself thinking about that long-ago Sunday in June." National Book Award finalist.

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