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 Posted: Fri Jan 16th, 2009 11:59 pm
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pamc153PA
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What are your thoughts on Civil War fiction, meaning fiction that uses the Civil War as plot in some way (like, for example, Gone With the Wind)? I've read the Sharras' trilogy, of course, and Cold Mountain. Right now I'm almost finished with a book I picked up the last time I was Gettysburg, Jacob's Ladder by Donald McCaig, and I hate to see it end. I'm surprised at how good it is. I don't make a habit of reading Civil War fiction ( know too much of the real stuff, so I get too picky to enjoy it), but Jacob's Ladder is a good book.

Anyone else read Civil War fiction?

Pam



 Posted: Sat Jan 17th, 2009 12:33 am
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1861-65
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I love Civil War fiction because it was what got me addicted to the Civil War in the first place. I would say those writers are some of the best because they have to do a lot of research to make the book as accurate as possilble. In my opinion, historical fiction books would be some of the hardest to write.



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 Posted: Sat Jan 17th, 2009 05:22 pm
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susansweet3
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Sad thing about some fiction not just Civil War but other historical fiction is they don't do the research.  Or they do but still change events to fit their story line. 

I would rather read the history than a fictional verision of history.   The more I read history the less I read historical novels.  When I want fiction I read mysteries. 

There are so many good works of history to read . I would rather use my time to read these works.

Susan



 Posted: Sat Jan 17th, 2009 05:23 pm
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fedreb
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The Bernard Cornwell Civil War series, started but as yet unfinished as he seems to have lost interest and gone off in other directions, are a bit short on characterisation and plot but the battle sequences are very well researched and related and, if only for that, worth reading.



 Posted: Sat Jan 17th, 2009 05:29 pm
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susansweet3
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Fed I have hear it is a good series and heard from friends too how sad they are it has never been finished. 

There is a mystery series set at various battles .  I tried reading them but could not get into them.  I cannot remember the author but know he did pass away last year or two. 

Susan



 Posted: Sat Jan 17th, 2009 06:12 pm
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TimK
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I really enjoyed "The Killer Angels". His son's books - not so much. I guess historical fiction for me is like most other things - if it is done right, I like it. If not, I would prefer to use my time another way. There is also a lot of non-fiction out there that is so dry I find that I can read ten pages and don't remember a thing that I've read. I suppose this could be just a different strokes kind of thing.

I do think I will put "Jacob's Ladder" on my list because of Pam's recommendation.



 Posted: Sat Jan 17th, 2009 06:20 pm
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I have on my bookshelf a huge weighty tome called "Cloudsplitter" written by Russell Banks which I read some years ago. It is fictionalised account of the life of John Brown as seen through the eyes of one of his sons and I remember it as a very hard to read book, one that you really have to work at, yet, strangely, hard to put down. I never gave up on it, although I came close on several occassions, and I remember thinking when I did finish it what a satisfying experience it had been. I will read it again one day, if I ever get to the bottom of the pile of the yet unread!



 Posted: Sun Jan 18th, 2009 12:20 am
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pamc153PA
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fedreb, I read Cloudsplitter, too, and I agree with you--I almost gave up a few times because it was getting tiresome to read. When I finally finished, I was both relieved and glad I'd stuck with it. . . but I don't think I'd have to read it again!

susan, was the name of the writer of the battle mysteries by any chance Parr? I started to read them, about three of them, and I liked them pretty well. It helped that the protagonist was from a town about 45 minutes from me named Pottsville, in the PA coal regions,  and I could picture things there when he described them. But if it's him you're referring to, and he passed away, then no wonder I haven't been able to find any of his new work!


Pam

Last edited on Sun Jan 18th, 2009 12:24 am by pamc153PA



 Posted: Sun Jan 18th, 2009 07:51 am
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susansweet3
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Pam I just looked him up it is Michael Kilian . The main character is Harrison Raines . First one is Murder at Manassas . He is a Pinkerton agent. Don't know why I didn't get into the series. I tried reading a couple but didn't get hooked so donated them to our book raffle at round table.
Susan



 Posted: Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 01:51 am
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Kentucky_Orphan
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Alternate history is a sub-genre I suppose of historical fiction. Harry Turtledove, who apparently writes only alternate history of varying time periods, has wrote several during the civil war and based off the idea of a confederate victory during the civil war. I don't care for alternate history in general (I think my recent post in the reader reviews of Gingriches trilogy would be ample to make this determination), but its out there if any are interested.

The only historical fiction I have ever really enjoyed was "The killer angels". "God's and Generals", I thought, was decent-the movie was terrible though (IMO).

That being said, I will never condemn this genre-anything that can get people interested in history is ok in my book-whether I myself enjoy it or not.



 Posted: Tue Apr 28th, 2009 08:58 pm
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Scarlett
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 I love Civil War fiction! The first books I read were Jeff and Michael Shaara's Civil War Trilogy. I found myself reading them for long stretches of time and having trouble putting them down. The only other fiction book I've read related to the Civil War is Gone with the Wind. I really enjoyed that one.

  I also admire how much time the authors spend researching the subject, (it took Margaret Mitchell 10 years to write Gone with the Wind!). They try to make their book as close to history as they can.  



 Posted: Tue Apr 28th, 2009 11:31 pm
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Have any of you read The March: A Novel by E.L. Doctorow?

This book is a fictional adventure as civilians and military meet and mingle along Sherman's march through Georgia and the Carolinas. The characters are very interesting and not what I call stock characters. The story is tragic, of course and filled, with so much hardship it does take energy to read. It is also detail-filled. Doctorow must have done much research about the life, culture and times of that epoch.

It was a best seller several years back and there was much talk of making it into a movie. It could have been a good movie, but maybe too dismal if the book were followed too closely.

I'm not a big fan of Civil War fiction, but this is one book about a facet of the war that I would like to read again sometime. 



 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 12:33 am
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susansweet3
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Fan I started it but never finished it.  I read that the author didn't do any research to write the book.  That is when I stopped reading . 

 



 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 12:52 am
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Gee, I just can't believe he didn't do any research. There is so much detail. Doctorow would have had to have a heck of an imagination in order to be able to write that book and not have done any study of Sherman's march and the culture of the times.

Maybe he said he didn't do research just to appear cool and not scare readers away who might think the novel was too much like a history book or an exhaustive examination of Sherman's campaign through Georgia and the Carolinas.



 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 01:17 am
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ole
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I actually liked "The March." Read it twice. If Doctorow didn't do his research, I'd be surprised. Found nothing in there out of believable bounds.

Ole



 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 01:39 am
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I HAD to check into this, so I went to my old pal Google. I found a partial NPR interview with Doctorow about "The March". In it, the writer said he read both Sherman's memoirs and Grant's. He praised their excellent writing ability.  THe interview is not complete so I don't know what else he did to study the culture and life of the times.



 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 10:52 am
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susansweet3
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Interesting . So he told different interviewers different stories.  I wish I could remember where I read the interview that he said he didn't do any research as It amazed me that someone would take the time to write such a book and not do research.  Glad to know he at least told a different story to NPR. 

Susan



 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 06:04 pm
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Mark
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Has anyone read "The Black Flower" by Howard Bahr? I've read it twice and it is by far my favorite piece of Civil War fiction. Its the story of a Confederate soldier who is wounded at Franklin. A warning though, the author is a admirer of William Faulkner so if you aren't into that sort of prose this probably isn't the book for you. Cheers!



 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 08:17 pm
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PaulaC
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 Hey all,

 

I love Civil War Fiction-- Who knows, how do we really know what went on at that time; we only have to rely on reliable sources for a glimpse into CW History.  I think its great and it enlarges the imagination to try to visualize what our ancestors really went through.  History is the best!!!!! :)

 



 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 12:39 am
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susansweet3 wrote: Interesting . So he told different interviewers different stories.  I wish I could remember where I read the interview that he said he didn't do any research as It amazed me that someone would take the time to write such a book and not do research.  Glad to know he at least told a different story to NPR. 

Susan

All I can figure is that he must have meant he didn't do the exhaustive research of primary sources and secondary sources that we see listed in books by Sword, Noe, Wittenberg, Cunnigham, Bonds, McMurry, Castel, Woodworth and other highly regarded Civil War scholars.  In fact, I agree that he probably didn't do that quality of research because it takes years and years to do that.



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