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With a new introduction by Thomas Keneally.'The best novel of the Civil War since The Red Badge of Courage'NewsweekAs the Civil War tears America apart, General Stonewall Jackson leads a troop of Confederate soldiers on a long trek towards the battle they believe will be a conclusive victory. Through their hopes, fears and losses, Keneally searingly conveys both the drama and mundane hardship of war, and brings to life one of the most emotive episodes in American history.
Written by an Australian, this book represents a truly unique view of the Confederate army and the American Civil War. Worth reading.
I love tom Keneally's books.
I have only just started reading this book and enjoying it. Very well written and interesting characters.
Keneally's best novel yet, ripest fruit of an imagination that has been grinding for years in an effort to energize history within its fiction - sometimes head-on. sometimes obliquely, but never with quite full success. Success has come. The book is about the American Civil War, about a few soldiers - Usaph, Gus, Cates, Colonel Lafcadio Wheat - belonging to the Shenandoah Volunteers that make up a section of the "Stonewall" troops under the command of General Tom Jackson. Jackson here is a nearly empyrean figure who brilliantly, woefully outclasses his Union counterpart McClellan; and by using Jackson as a near deity-figure, Keneally is able, very deftly, to give an overall shape (the shape of military tactics) to the senseless death of mere boys. Small scenes, then, can be concentrated on - and they range from the heartbreakingly idyllic (two Union soldiers, two Shenandoah Volunteers sitting down for a rest together in a glade) to the gruesome (limb-flinging carnage among the morning lupins at Antietam). But Keneally keeps his eye on the masterful Jackson, and the dartings of strategy - loops and salients - make an almost beautiful and plastic frame around the awfullest of particulars. A sub-plot involving a Union-spy pair - a British journalist, a Confederate nurse - is of less import; and Keneally occasionally overuses Americanisms. Yet these are minor objections in a book that keeps the reading heart astir simply by its resonant, plain eloquence, Tolstoyan at its best: "They were certainly proud but had never fought before today. This evening it seemed that God had been saving this hour specially for them. For if they looked at the sunset one minute, there was nothing but a proper golden radiance above a black line of forest. And the next there were batteries galloping out into the open to get an uninterrupted line of fire on them, and there were long lines of men, who didn't seem any better dressed or any more rushed than laborers, moving out of the woods there on that ridge." A grave and breathtaking book, a model historical novel by a writer growing ever better. (Kirkus Reviews)
ISBN: 9780340431030 ISBN-10: 0340431032 Audience:
Number Of Pages: 525 Published: 1st January 1989 Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division Country of Publication: GB Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 12.8
Weight (kg): 0.37
Edition Number: 1
About the Author
Thomas Keneally won the Booker Prize in 1982 with Schindler's Ark, later made into the Academy Award-winning film Schindler's List by Steven Spielberg. His non-fiction, includes the memoir Searching For Schindler and Three Famines, an LA Times Book of the Year, and the histories The Commonwealth Of Thieves, The Great Shame and American Scoundrel.
His fiction, includes The Daughters Of Mars, The Widow And Her Hero (shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award), An Angel In Australia and Bettany's Book. His novels The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, and Confederates were all shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while Bring Larks and Heroes and Three Cheers For The Paraclete won the Miles Franklin Award.
The People's Train was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia division.