The Currain family saga begins in 1783 with Tony Currain, and moves through over 1,000 pages past the time of his grandson – at least in this version of the story! – Abraham Lincoln. This reissue of a classic Civil War novel chronicles the building of an agricultural, social, and political dynasty, particularly in Richmond, Virginia. However, protection and pride in this system begins to subtly, at least at first, and then ruthlessly destroy those who failed to recognize its inherent flaws. Readers will gasp and be inwardly paralyzed at scenes such as the Southern and Northern rage at John Brown’s revolt, the former arising from fear, the latter from glorifying the rebel’s courage for justice. Inflammatory rhetoric reduces logic to hysteria. Read, over and over again, how rumor, misinterpreted facts, and looting for profit pervades the pre- and post phases of battle, scenes in which thousands will die. And how poignant are the stories of men like Trav Currain, who tells his children pleasant war stories that in reality were horrific (and he knows it). One wonders and then understands how the Southern belle mentality prevails throughout the gruesome reality of wartime. Characters like Faunt state that governments deny the will of their constituents while leaders plot, fail, and revamp multiple plans in search of victory. Indeed, Faunt stands like a Greek chorus, explaining, decrying, and praising the multiple sides of human personalities, all trying to gracefully and voraciously hold together an unraveling nation.
If you like an ever-changing novel of pulsating, comprehensive, and scholarly ideas about the causes, actuality, and effects of the Civil War, especially how they play out in one representative family, this is a terrific read. It’s worth every page of its riveting, saga-like tale. Classic historical fiction that you won’t want to end.