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A Separate Country: A Story of Redemption in the Aftermath of the Civil War Paperback – 27 April 2011
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A lovely, richly detailed tale pulled partly from history, partly from his own imagination. [Hicks] captures the enchanting, dark humid soul of post-war New Orleans...--BookPage
A powerful epic about how love and unselfish choices lead to personal transformations...Hicks uncovers layers of detail about characters and events we naively thought we understood. A marvelous accomplishment, as beautifully written and heart-wrenching as its predecessor.--Booklist
After the War, Hood scampered down to New Orleans in order to try to live as fully as possible. That's where Robert Hicks enters in his marvelous new book, which looks back on the legendary and monstrous general of the Civil War with a brand new set of eyes. Hicks doesn't ever let us forget that this was once a man who 'cared very little for the men [he] ruined.' Yet at the same time, this is a work which seems designed to remember Hood neither as a legend nor a monster but as a man.--Miami Herald
Hicks follows his bestselling The Widow of the South with the grand, ripped-from-the-dusty-archives epic of Confederate general John Bell Hood...Hicks's stunning narrative volleys between Hood, Anna Marie and Eli, each offering variety and texture to a story saturated in Southern gallantry and rich American history.--Publisher's Weekly
Robert Hicks's riveting new novel takes up Hood's life after the war. Anyone who has ever lived in New Orleans must be prepared to be made homesick, and the bizarre cast of characters, including a dwarf, a burly priest and a boy of mixed and mysterious parentage, wouldn't seem right in any city but this one. I read A Separate Country with breakneck speed for that most old-fashioned of reasons: I wanted to see what happened next. And then I eagerly read it a second time to make sure I got the complicated twists and turns. Is there a better recommendation?--Washington Post
- ASIN : 0446581658
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (27 April 2011)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780446581653
- ISBN-13 : 978-0446581653
- Dimensions : 13.34 x 2.97 x 20.32 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 888,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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THIS ONE WAS DEPRESSING BECAUSE OF IT'S DISFUNCTIONAL PROTAGONIST.
I WAS SO TAKEN BY "WIDOW OF THE SOUTH" THAT I PASSED IT TO SEVERAL FRIENDS AND FAMILY,
EACH TIME I COULDN'T SPEAK OF THE STORY WITHOUT TEARING UP; THAT HOW MOVING IT WAS.
I READ TO FEEL EMOTION;"A SEPARATE COUNTRY" EVOKED NO SUCH FEELINGS.
As in Widow of the South, my emotions were moved to the point of almost quitting the book. As a Southern woman and great-greatgranddaughter of Captain John Ritter,CSA, this book seemed almost personal to me and mine. Every high-school student should add these Robert Hicks books to his/her required reading and hope this is the closest they'll ever come to war in America. God bless America.
The only shortcoming of A Separate Country is that I would REALLY like to know which parts are true and which fiction. It pains me to wonder if Hood's 10 children were, in fact, separated intentionally as pawns to gain money and publicity for Hood's old compatriots and their schemes.
The general is well aware of his shallow pride and says, "I live, others die. I had not been courageous in battle, I was not gallant. I had been inhuman, despicable, brutal in my insensate way." But nothing he has seen and done in the war is as strong as the thousands dying from the annual plagues of Yellow Jack, Cholera, and malaria in New Orleans.
Much of "A Separate Country" is spent with this hero of the beaten south in reconstruction. General Hood courts and marries Anna Marie Hennan, an upper-middle class Creole Belle. After several false starts, the couple, basking in her family wealth and his revered patriotism on the side of the losing CSA, begin a life in New Orleans which his business incompetence squanders leaving them only their eleven children to share their penury.
Author Hicks provides an inside view of tha wondrous 19th century citadel that was New Orleans, that great multicultural, multilingual, multiracial, Indian, Creole, French, Spanish, Euro city -- to the heart and soul of all that is and was its gustiness about death and dying and, more, killing.
Hicks' prose is often lyrical, e.g., his description of NO crowds, then and now, e.g., "New Orleans was a city of crowds --- a city that yanked people along from spectacle to spectacle ... twisted-up maze of beatings, amusement, intrigue, prayer, politics, greed, and charity. Folks formed up around Old Creole men arguing the hows and wherefores of a revolt as if they could; they formed up around drunken Americains asleep with the pigs; also around a young bride presenting her first child to the world; around the old Creole couple who were torturing their negro servants in violation of the code; around men picking out bawdy tunes on hollowed boxes strung with wire; around the Italian vegetable hawkers; around a young man choked dead in an alley off Dumaine, the dull black bruise of the garrote around his neck as if it had been delicately drawn on his skin, a tattoo."
I dare you to read Robert Hicks's "A Separate Country" and finish unchanged, but it's not the fictionalized portrait that will grab you. I think what will get to you is the profound grasp of the historical underpinnings that seeded this miraculous place, the "only in America" city of New Orleans.
This book is the second in the series. You need to read Widow of the South first. Neither book is 'about' the Civil War. They are both about the people in the war. A Separate Country is about the afttermath of the war and John Bell Hood's family. Both books in this series are excellent!