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3.7 out of 5 stars1,191
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on April 20, 2015
Not interested in reading this book
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on March 5, 2013
I really enjoyed Cold Mountain: A Novel. I loved the development of the characters and the wonderful descriptions of the scenery. It highlighted the true casualties of war.
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on July 27, 2004
I'm a fan of anything dealing with the south, the (un)Civil War, or anything remotely connected. Cold Mountain is the story of a man's journey in the literal sense as well as a trip within himself. Our protagonist, Inman, travels great distances for his love, Ada, who meanwhile is busy taking care of her farm. On his journey, Inman meets several characters and undergoes many adventures. Frazier's book is a feast of visual and natural imagery. He constantly brings the land and the weather, especially fog and rain to the forefront, giving the setting almost character appeal. The only book I've liked better than this one is THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD by Jackson McCrae
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on July 6, 2004
I read all the time....and go through all kinds of some, hate some, am bored by others. Until I read this book, my five favorite books were Precious Bane, Power In The Blood, Joy Luck Club, the Lonesome Dove Trilogy and The Citadel. Now I have yet another favorite.....Cold Mountain. If you are one to enjoy subtle details combined with a compelling will probably love this book, too. I saw the movie after reading the book....and, although I loved the movie...I was really seemed that the screenwriter never read the book....but just skimmed it. This book deserves to be read from cover to cover...and then kept to be read again and again....and only loaned out to friends who you know will return it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 24, 2004
An amazing first novel.
The writing is poignant, and highly descriptive. There are some idiosyncracies to adapt to, but this book moves from the normal brass and bravado of Civil War history to paint a story of one soldier's flight from battle from a hospital bed.
The pictures it weaves are of life in the south toward the end of the war when the inevitable conclusion is known and drawing painfully to an end. This paints the necessary flip-side to the glorious front airbrushed in "Killer Angels" or "God's and Generals." For all the hardship and romantic glory of the doomed Southern cause and the military brilliance of Lee, the martyrdom of Jackson and dogged determination of Grant, at least on the Southern side, the story was whether property could be held, travel accomplished safely or a safe meal obtained. Hard as the troops had it, they had it better than the general populace that gambled all on their success, and ultimately lost.
Inman's homeric travels, seemingly implausible escapes and the surprise (but not really all that surprising) ending draw Darwinian parallels to the daily struggle of survival. In the end he lives to pass on his love and life against all odds.
It is tedious in places where scenery seems to eclipse the story line, but hard not to appreciate the vivid detail and nature descriptions. As the book progressed I found it easier to focus on these sections. That this was so speaks to the writing skill as able to overcome my trained expectations from other such stories of action and heroics.
All in all a very worthy and necessary offering to the typical Civil War novel. A counterpoint to the bravado of Dixie and the Battle Hymn of the Republic, but played in a minor key. Well worth the time and effort to read.
I look forward to the next offering.
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on June 6, 2004
I had been skeptical of this book for quite awhile. I've owned it since 1999, but hadn't gotten around to reading it until just recently. I suppose being skeptical added to the procrastination.
Boy, am I glad I finally read it. Frazier has put a lot of time and effort into this book, and it shows. He has a very unique style of writing (such his way of writing when a character speaks). Although many of us may not write like Frazier nor have a desire to, it is great to open ourselves up to a different style of writing. Lots of thought is put into every idea in the book. There are many unexpected twists.
Although this wasn't a story which I would normally be ecstatic about, it was definitely a good one. One of the few 'war' books I've actually lost myself in. Frazier's writing is very intriguing and definitely something to experience. It's also the kind of story that doesn't need to be read very quickly and in a short amount of time. Feel free to span this book over a month or more, gives you more time to think about everything in it.
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on May 17, 2004
If I could recommend one book that's perfect to curl up to before going to sleep it would be John Frazier's "Cold Mountain". The writing is straightforward and yet the description of the characters' struggles against one another and the unpredictable blows of nature make this a story relatable for a wide audience. The story is a journey of two lovers who must struggle to live during the Civil War. The reader is able to see Ada, one of the protagonists, change her Charleston lifestyle to a more farm-like mountain life in Cold Mountain. Inman, the other main character, starts a long journey running away from the war in search of Ada. These two characters meet other people along the way and encounter unforgettable experiences during their own journeys. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who is looking for a casual reading book with love and adventure.
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on May 14, 2004
Cold Mountain is an vigorous tell about a soldier finding his way home, and a women finding other meanings in life other than having everybody do the job for you. It tells how the two people find their ways in adventure.
I thought it was one of the best books I have read in long time. When I read it I got caught up in it and could not stop reading it. It was passionate and I enjoyed every bit of it. I like how the Charles Frazier kept everything alive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2004
The contents of this novel are well represented by that huge, misty landscape on the cover. Cold Mountain seems to come from another era, one where authors weren't forced into the straightjacket of pithy sentences and cheap wit; it's reminiscent of Twain or Robert Penn Warren, huge, sprawling and thoughtful; there's something almost miraculous about it.
Some people may have been dissapointed with the novel because it isn't really about two of the things that it was reported to be about. It isn't pedantic historic fiction, a la 'The Killer Angels,' and not meant to shed light on the Civil War as a histroical phenomenon. It also isn't much as a retelling of the Odyssey. The underlying theme - looking for home and encountering obstacles - is the same, and there may be some resemblances between the obstacles that Ulysses and Inman face, but the heritage isn't noteworthy in any way.
What Cold Mountain does have is an endless depth of innovation in theme and style and character. It manages somehow to shift from a rousing adventure story to a contented and charming chronicle of farm life, to an eerie, sort of Sartrean mediation on life and morality, to an exploration of Southern folklore and small personal history. You can feel the author's talent stretching the bounds of the subject matter sometimes. He wants and has the ability to write about everything, from the greatest person to the smallest, from a gruesome battle to dinner in an inn. It's so eclectic, even, that it begins to approach a fault, but Frazier ties things together nicely using the theme of the war. Early on, Robert E. Lee is criticized for his smug 'It's a good thing war is so terrible; otherwise we might grow to like it.' Inman reflects that for a man like Lee, noble and dramatic, war is really not terrible, and that he has no compunction about sending 'lesser' men to die. Later on, this malcious spirit of greatness takes form as General Teague, captain of the southern home defense force, a real Bond villian of a character. The first couple of times he appears, complete with sidekicks, hammy dialogue and gut-splattering violence, are so brilliantly calculated; later, when he tracks down and confronts Inman, it plays out in such an intriguingly symbolic way, bringing the novel to a satisfactory close. There's a point where, reflecting on the death of a scoundrel, Inman thinks something like: 'There was no sense of redemption or nobility about it...neither did it seem like a deserved or justified end. It had simply happened,' and that seems to be the theme. Cold Mountain tries to encompass almost everything in life, and succeeds more than you would think possible.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2004
The author states that he is "copying" Homer's "Odessey." Okay, now that we have determined that the author is humble and does not have any pretensions we can get down to reviewing this muddled mess.
I hate to complain (no I don't, but that is the fine print), but I would appreciate some realims in a supposedly realistic novel of the American Civil War. I also want to skip over the "must have" items in any contemporary American novel that all editors insist on having. What I am talking about are the "sensitive, handsome and heroic male protagonist," the "strong, independent woman he yearns for against convention," and the "horribly evil 'entity' whose name must not be spoken." Frazier also did not forget the must-have "imps" (this time an albino) who help him in all his evil deeds.
Now that I have dispensed with the card-board cutouts, I'll take a swing at the "history" (quotation mark alert). Here is just one ridiculous history lesson. On page 68, for instance, Inman is shot at by a Whitworth sniper rifle. These rifles were the undisputed favorites of Confederate snipers. They were imported from England in small numbers, and had a killing range of 1,500 yards. The twisting hexagonal bore was what gave this .45 calibre rifle its accuracy. The problem is that this unique rifle shot a very unique and expensive bullet, meaning no sniper would waste a shot like that--not to mention missing Inman by a mile. This is simply not believable, but makes for sexy reading, impressing the New York editors who don't know jack. Having a yahoo shoot from the river bank ain't enough.
My other complaint about "history" is the fact that all Civil War heroes must have fought at Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Antietam (okay, Sharpsburg), The Crater, etc. But, hey, why not have this super-hero fight at all of the above? Better than that, put him in the middle of the line each time. My ancestors were at Gettysburg (9th Georgia Infantry, the winning side), but they fought in the Wheat Field. Ain't good enough.
But the truth for this novel would have had a negative effect. Or maybe it would have made it better? Frazier places Inman in the center of the line during Picketts Charge (Longstreet's Assault). I hate to break this news, but the North Carolinians held the LEFT during the charge. Worse for the book, the North Carolinians were accused of cowardice during the charge, as they were the first to falter (they were enfiladed) and retreated, leaving Pickett isolated and bound to fail. I guess that means Inman, if he were alive today, would be lying his ass off about his war record.
If you want an easy-to-read book , I would recommend this. I just wish the ones being touted for "historical" accuracy as an historical novel would actually describe real life. Believe it or not, the Civil War was much more interesting to the real participants than this.
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