ESCAPE TO SWEDEN
By Alton J. Myers
A century after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door at Wittenberg which resuted in a split in the Christian Church in Europe, there erupted on that continent a major conflict known as the Thirty Years' War. This war has been described by one historian as "a war whose ,horrors were unsurpassed until the 20th century." This is the backdrop of a book entitled Calico Dance - Escape to Sweden by Alton J. Myers.
In the years 1618-1648, the Catholic Church attempted to end the divisions - religious and political- that had emerged from Martin Luther's challenge in 1517. The conflict began in the region that would later become the nation of Germany, but in the time period covered in this book, it was a collection of territories, principalities and duchies more or less subject to the control of the Holy Roman Empire. Religious convictions were indeed deep on both sides and to this was added the desire on the put of many leaders to politically break away from Roman control. The author describes the convulsion this way: Neighborhoods fell apart over the issue of which church to stay with. People in some communities who were friends were turned into enemies of one another because of their church stances. Also the threat of invading army forces .. forced some people to take up arms and fight against the invaders and those who sided with the invaders.
This work of historical fiction follows a Protestant family (father, mother, son and two daughters) who decide their only choice is to get out of town in the cover of the night. They hope to eventually return to their farm but the invading army finishes off that possibility. Their goal then becomes to make their way north to sanctuary in Sweden where others have previously fled to begin their new lives.
Alton Myers, a retired clergyman who lives in Defiance, makes it clear that it is not his intent to take sides in the issues of this war. Many Catholic families suffered greatly by the advances of the Protestants in the struggle. No one was immune.
By the time the Thirty Years' War was ended by the Peace of Westphalia, the German population was reduced by more than half with not enough people left to adequately rebuild and replant.
Calico Dance reads quickly through its 103 pages and will help to enlighten the reader to this painful period of history. . .
Book review by David •Guilford: