Confederates Mass Market Paperback – Apr 1983
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|Mass Market Paperback, Apr 1983||
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'A fine and compelling novel' Financial Times 'It compels admiration over and over for its energy and its insight into human character' Spectator 'Deserves comparison with the great war novels of the last hundred years' Observer 'Such a magnificent book that I count it a privilege to read and keep' Books and Bookmen --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty novels since. They include Schindler's Ark, which won the Booker Prize in 1982 and was subsequently made into the film Schindler's List, and The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates and Gossip From The Forest, each of which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novels are The Daughters Of Mars, which was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize in 2013, and Shame and the Captives. He has also written several works of non-fiction, including his memoir Homebush Boy, Searching for Schindler and Australians. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
In my opinion, it is not only a major fictional recreation of a key stage in the U.S. Civil War (basically, the months that culminated in the battle known to the north as Antietam [the south as Sharpsburg, which is how it shows up in the endpaper maps], but one of the top ten war novels that I've read over the last 50-odd years. I'd rank Keneally's CONFEDERATES just below WAR AND PEACE and Crane's RED BADGE OF COURAGE, and somewhat above Hemingway and the few good World War II novels (Mailer, Waugh, and the forgotten Russian Stalin-era novel, Simonov's DAYS AND NIGHTS).
The detail in the book, both of the feellings of soldiers in combat and of factual material (very good material on field surgery in the Confederacy - probably not hugely different than in the North, but the whole book is done, with a few exceptions, from the perspective of the "doomed cause" of the South) surpasses most of what I've read. The feel of the book (its literary quality) is interesting: it is gritty and realistic, but the rhythm and style sufficiently echoes nineteenth century writing at its best so that you really feel you are there, with men and women of that era.
I have three suggestions:
1. If you haven't read this book, get a copy and read it.
2. If you read it years ago, read it again. I've noted in my calendar to read it again in a few years. Among other things, it adds to our insight, I think (as good books often do), on situations that we are trying to understand and deal with today.
3. The publishers should bring this book back into print and movie producers (or TV) should give it serious consideration for a high-quality production.
Equally fluent in passion or pathos, Keneally's describes battles, intrigues and romance conveyed with powerful reality. With a solid research foundation, he fashions images of people and events with superb clarity. From domestic struggles to the clash of battles, we share every emotional upheaval. Keneally portrays the intensity of war with an surprising clarity as it cuts off friend and foe alike. For a man who once trained for the priesthood, he places the reader alongside his people with deceptive ease. A master at conveying people and environment, he deserves full recognition for his talents. This book will remain a classic of Civil War literature. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
The Confederate army we meet here consists of ragged and hungry teachers, musicians, small farmers, orphaned children, men in their 60's, conscripts, and even the sorely ill and walking wounded, who share their stories and simple dreams as they trudge resignedly and painfully across Virginia toward their destiny-the Battle of Harper's Ferry/Antietam. Despite the tactical brilliance of General Tom "Stonewall" Jackson, the battle itself eventuates in the most horrific blood-letting and soul-wrenching trauma I've ever seen described. Homely details, described in a plain, almost offhanded manner, lend great irony and bring the enormity of the carnage into focus: split-rail fences with their "crops of dead," cornfields with human remnants "lying in heaps that must be climbed," young soldiers forced to tread on "a mat of Christian boys," and the very air above the cornfield "flying with bits of the corn crop and with limbs, naked and clothed, and with haversacks and heads and hands."
I cannot imagine any Civil War novel which will affect the reader more profoundly than this one. Exhaustively researched, historically accurate, brilliantly depicted, and absolutely unforgettable, it pulses with the lives of our forebears and makes gratitude seem inadequate for their sacrifices.
Most recent customer reviews
The novel is very good and it would have been five stars but for the unsoportable/tiresome (for the reader) southern slang speech of the protagonists/characters. Read morePublished on May 27 2003 by ADB
I made a mistake with this book. I should have read the first page before buying. I don't mind if a novelist wants to reduce a Confederate general's deified historical status a peg... Read morePublished on July 14 2002
I have read this book (of course) but have also met the author in a proffessional context.
May be I am a tad subjective but I found the book dull (not to the standard say of... Read more
In the first hundred pages of this novel, which is lauded for its realistic portrayal of southeners during the Civil War, there are at least two dozen references to human... Read morePublished on Nov. 2 2001
At times this book is pretty good, but at times it is border line trash. Every single female character in the book was ... . I had no idea nineteenth century women were so "easy. Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2001