Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Civil War, in fiction

Do you remember last month when I mentioned that March is Trumbull Library's third annual One Book, One Town celebration?  Hundreds of residents reading Charles Frazier's novel, Cold Mountain, and getting together for lectures, movie nights, book discussions, a Civil War reenactment...  You can check out the jam-packed schedule here

If you've already read Cold Mountain, though, and were looking for some additional fiction titles set during the Civil War, you know I've got you covered!  Here are a few that I recommend highly.

My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveira.  A woman heads to Washington, D.C. during the Civil War to tend the wounded and further her dream of becoming a surgeon, against the wishes of her family.  Intriguing, with well-drawn characters.

March, by Geraldine Brooks.  Brooks plucks the much-absent father from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and follows him as he leaves his family behind to aid the Union cause.  Poignant and lyrically told.

Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara.  Did you ever see the movie Gettysburg?  That was adapted from this novel, considered to be one of the greatest novels ever written about the Civil War.  If you're a history buff, you owe it to yourself to read this one.

Cloudsplitter, by Russell Banks.  This is a deft re-creation of the political and social unrest during the years leading up to the Civil War, as slavery tore the country apart.  Banks manages to touch on upheavals great and small, from violent battle to scenes of domestic life.  Unforgettable.

Enemy Women, by Paulette Jiles.  Though her Missouri plantation family has vowed neutrality, the War between the States proves devastating to Adair Colley and her family.  She and her sisters are forced to flee, and when they're betrayed by a fellow traveler, Adair finds herself caged in a filthy prison alongside hundreds of others.  Can Adair ever win free and get home again?  Will home even still be there?  A tense narrative, beautifully detailed. 

Widow of the South, by Robert Hicks.  Carrie McGavock's home is commandeered as a field hospital in the days before the battle in Franklin, Tennessee, where nine thousand men would lose their lives.  Troubled by her own private losses before this, the battle serves to help shake her out of her torpor, leading her and her husband to ultimately bury nearly fifteen hundred Confederate soldiers on their own property.  Based on a true story, told by a master.

Not a fiction reader but still want to read more about the Civil War?  I'll be back on Thursday with some recommended non-fiction titles for you!

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