North and South eBook ✓ North and ePUB ñ


North and South [Ebook] ➫ North and South ➪ John Jakes – Liversite.co.uk Part history, part novel, this book chronicles two great American dynasties over three generations Though brought together in a friendship that neither jealousy nor violence could shatter, the Hazards Part history, part novel, this book chronicles two great American dynasties over three generations Though brought together in a friendship that neither jealousy nor violence could North and ePUB ñ shatter, the Hazards and the Mains are torn apart by the storm of events that has divided the nation.


10 thoughts on “North and South

  1. David Putnam David Putnam says:

    I really enjoyed this book and already purchased the other two in the trilogy Historical novels seem to be my favorite all time reads even though I write thrillers That s not to say I don t read extensively in mystery thriller because I do It might be that historical novels have a broader canvas and leavesroom for the author to make his her mark on memory That s definitely what happened here The length of this book though was like reading three other books and put me farther behind on I really enjoyed this book and already purchased the other two in the trilogy Historical novels seem to be my favorite all time reads even though I write thrillers That s not to say I don t read extensively in mystery thriller because I do It might be that historical novels have a broader canvas and leavesroom for the author to make his her mark on memory That s definitely what happened here The length of this book though was like reading three other books and put me farther behind on my TBR pile Really loved this book The style is third person omniscient which usually I don t prefer, but Jakes pulled it off I don t know how I missed this book back when it came out I think the cover might have had something to do with it The cover at the time did not depict the seriousness of the book I know, never judge a book by its cover.What I found most intriguing about this story was the run up to the civil war and how I was given a large dose of history I was unaware of through the eyes of the characters, families on both sides of the conflict Both sides were well balanced without the author taking a position Oddly, I couldn t help but see some of the same things in politics happening today that happened back then How both sides are so polarized no one wants to take a step back, take a breath and even attempt to meet halfway That s how the Civil War started with hate and giving no quarter.The characters are so well drawn I find myself still thinking about them after I finished the book For me this is a true mark of a great story.If you like historical novels, I highly recommend this book.David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson novels


  2. Kelly (and the Book Boar) Kelly (and the Book Boar) says:

    Find all of my reviews at being trolled three times yesterday for not only reading things wrong, but also for wasting my Goodreads space and apparently everyone s time creating picturebooks full of stupid and uninformative reviews that apparently belong on a place I ve never heard of before called Buzzfeed which I will make sure I remain in the dark about in order to take that as an eternal compliment please consider this a fair warning THIS REVIE Find all of my reviews at being trolled three times yesterday for not only reading things wrong, but also for wasting my Goodreads space and apparently everyone s time creating picturebooks full of stupid and uninformative reviews that apparently belong on a place I ve never heard of before called Buzzfeed which I will make sure I remain in the dark about in order to take that as an eternal compliment please consider this a fair warning THIS REVIEW IS GOING TO BE STUPID AND COMPLETELY UNINFORMATIVE AND THE ONLY PLACE IT S WORTHY OF BEING PUBLISHED IS TUMBLR This sucker has nearly 50,000 ratings and sits at 4.19 so obviously it s considered to be pretty good On the other hand, it s also a real puppy squisher at 800 pages and the first of a set of three just as puppy squishy books in a series so I could give zero poops if you ever read it or not Instead I m going to tell you about why I read it or re read it, as the case is here If your brain made you do a rewind in order for you to sing that line, you might be old enough to understand how North and South was a real game changer for me You might also be pretty awesome Back in the dark ages before DVR and Netflix, families would all gather around their giant 19 television sets in order to watch what was known as a miniseries Part television program part movie these programs were shown in two hour blocks over the course of how ever many days it took for them to play out On Tuesday, December 3, 1985 the first episode of North and South aired and I begged for a reprieve from my bedtime in order to watch every moment due to the fact that I was certain I had discovered my future husband In the show he suffered a leg injury in the war, in the book he lost an arm Spoiled actors, unwilling to truly sacrifice their body for their art Being that I was a Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur s Court already being raised in a factory town, I had no desire to experience the life of the iron mill Instead I set my sights on figuring out a way to become a proper Southern lady and live on a plantation one day Please note owning slaves and growing things were not of concern to my tiny little perverted mind I just wanted to live in a big house and get to kiss Patrick Swayze whenever I felt like it I also wanted to marry Orry but actually be Constance because Well, just look at her She was so beautiful She was also Irish Catholic and I was Catholic and attended a church with an Irish accented priest so I figured I could catch on real quick Plus, her boobs looked real good in those dresses and at nine years old big boobs were something I really dreamed of being able to achieve one day totally nailed that one too so yay me With the help of either my mother or my aunt being part of a 1980s wedding Picture borrowed from the interwebs, but we re talking the EXACT same theme here I was able to dig out a beauty like this from the recesses of the closetWhich I proceeded to wear every time I went to my grandparents house and flitted about saying things like I do declare couldn t quite get that Irish brogue so I turned Scarlett to the point where I was kindly told to shut the hell up I also learned how to slut shame my first fictional character, but seriously She was a total slut and deserved it.Long story long, I became O.B.S.E.S.S.E.D So much so that when I discovered this monstrosity on my Grandpa s bookshelf I decided to read it The family probably should have recognized there was something not quite right about me when I chose an 800 page tome rather than Sweet Valley High but whatevs Obviously it s been just a couple of years since I read this, but Good Golly Miss Molly it was even better than I remembered For some reason I was thinking the timeframe wascompact which would have made for some real snoozer bits and due to my senility I was pleasantly surprised that this volume contained what I believed were books 1 and 2 upon starting As I said before, I can t promise you ll love this or even find it worth your time For me, though, this is one of the great American novels and it has something for everyone Romance, war, family, friendship, it s all there Sadly enough, even though North and South is set pre Civil War, there are lessons that still ring true even todayThese foul times We might have prevented all this if we d responded with the best that s in us Instead, we seem to have responded with the worst I wonder if we re capable of anything elseFinally, THIS is my final book in the library s Winter Reading Challenge proving to the porny librarian that this girl does not live on smut alone NOW GIVE ME MY COFFEE MUG


  3. Matt Matt says:

    A shell whined in over the highroad to Churubusco The Mexican gunners in the convent of San Mateo had found the range Sword in his left hand, pistol in his right, Orry Main crouched in the marshy cornfield beside the road He cringed as he awaited the explosion of the shell The concussion nearly knocked him over To his left, a geyser shot up from the wet field, lifting cornstalks and bloody heads and limbs with it It was mid afternoon, the twentieth of August Orry had been in heavy fighti A shell whined in over the highroad to Churubusco The Mexican gunners in the convent of San Mateo had found the range Sword in his left hand, pistol in his right, Orry Main crouched in the marshy cornfield beside the road He cringed as he awaited the explosion of the shell The concussion nearly knocked him over To his left, a geyser shot up from the wet field, lifting cornstalks and bloody heads and limbs with it It was mid afternoon, the twentieth of August Orry had been in heavy fighting for nearly three hours and had thought himself numb to the sights of violent death The disappearance of an entire squad of men when the shell hit showed him how foolish he d been He gagged as the human remains splattered back to earth John Jakes, North and South For me, John Jakes s North and South occupies a place in the top tier of historical fiction for one simple reason it is absolutely committed to being two diametrically opposed things On the one side, North and South is one hundred percent soap opera, awash in the low, quotidian drama of people falling in love, people falling out of love, plotters scheming about sex or power, and schemers plotting about power or sex There are fisticuffs and battles, betrayals and revenge, and even a duel or two It is crowd pleasing fun On the other side, North and South is one hundred percent serious about the United States in the antebellum era, especially with regard to slavery Big chunks of the novel are set in prewar South Carolina, and though there is plenty of serene gazing at the big white houses, magnolias, and genteel chivalry, it doesn t gothan two or three pages at a time without reminding you of the raw, gaping wound of slavery As you might have noticed, my percentage math does not quite add up, in the same way this book does not quite add up These different impulses to divert and to teach often bump and grind against each other There are mixed messages galore, including a dance with moral relativism that lasts almost the entirety of the book s 700 plus page length I dare you to play the both sides drinking game, and down a mint julep each time a character equates the sin of slavery in the south with some other, supposedly equal sin in the north Actually, I don t dare you, because it will kill you.The setup of North and South is simplicity itself, literalizing the figurative conception of a house divided against itself While obvious, it is also quite effective In the north, we have the Hazard family, and in particular George Hazard, who when the novel opens in 1842 is heading to the United States Military Academy at West Point George comes from a wealthy family of Pennsylvania ironworkers Before he even gets on the steamboat to take him up the Hudson, he meets Orry Main, the son of a wealthy rice grower in South Carolina George and Orry become friends the old fashioned way by beating up some aggressive stevedores From there, their bond grows and deepens, as they survive the sadistic, wonderfully named upperclassman Elkanah Bent fight in Mexico and attempt to navigate the turbulent rapids of American domestic politics in the years leading to the Civil War While things begin with George and Orry, the story expands to include the other members of each family Especially important, in the north, are George s brothers Stanley and Billy, as well as abolitionist sister Virgilia Among the Mains, a number of storylines belong to Orry s progressive brother, Cooper devious sister Ashton and boring sister Brett Jakes writes in a firmly realist style In his world, a thing is a thing, and he evokes that thing with detail This works well for creating a sense of place, whether that is a muggy southern plantation or a smoke belching northern factory On the other hand, he tends to over describe his characters thoughts and emotions, bluntly informing us the exact state of their hearts at any given moment This has the effect of flattening the characters to a certain extent, by taking away ambiguities and shadings.That is not to say that Jakes s characters are not memorable, for they are, and not simply because they were performed with such utter devotion in the fabulous 1985 miniseries The brooding Orry, his star crossed lover Madeline, and Madeline s ferociously hateful husband, Justin, are just three of the unforgettable creations in a lengthy dramatis personae They can be short on psychological complexity, but never lack for impact Jakes keeps this story moving at a pell mell pace, heedlessly speeding from one encounter to the next The result of this pacing is a noticeable inconsistency in the big set pieces For instance, Orry and George s time in Mexico despite some sharp scenes generally feels truncated, despite it being one of the signature moments in their lives with major repercussions for their futures Truncation is a natural result of Jakes s proclivity for needless subplots, and I wouldn t have minded the disappearance of a character or two such as Cooper, who does not exist in the miniseries Still,often than not, Jakes is able to deliver Near the end of the novel, he does a fine job narrating the travails of Cousin Charles, who is posted to Texas with the Second Cavalry Also good is Jakes s conception of a post secession Charleston as a riotous Cabo San Lucas on spring break In any event, whether an arc pays off or not, there is no danger of getting bogged down If you didn t like a love scene, a battle, a fistfight, don t worry, because there is another love scene, battle, or fistfight just around the corner Of course, if you don t like love scenes, battles, or fistfights or brandy snifters, heaving bosoms, and expositional dialogue masquerading as everyday conversation you best look elsewhere A quick note on the love scenes, since you are all secretly wondering they are of the goofily euphemistic, soft R variety People are definitely having sex, but there isn t a single description that will have you reaching for a cigarette or clutching your pearls The violence, though, is fully hardcore Being historical fiction, a number of real people make cameo appearances Jakes does not really take the time to give any of these walk ons an interesting characterization, and at times, their presence feels like window dressing With that said, I give Jakes credit for his research, which is extensive He is not always able to work that research into his novel organically, but it cannot be said that he has not studied the period of which he is writing This is as good a time as ever to segue to slavery, an institution which is inseparable from any discussion of the Civil War Jakes is on record as making a determined effort to avoid being a southern apologist, even as several of his most likeable, dashing, and able protagonists have as their flaw a propensity for owning their fellow human beings When all is said and done, I think Jakes succeeds rather admirably The evils of slavery, the ugly realities of involuntary, race based servitude, are constantly at the forefront of North and South To be sure, there are many voices rationalizing the practice, or equating the enslavement of people with wage slavery in the north, but those voices are consistent with 19th century viewpoints, and create the palpable tension that quivers like a live wire from the first page to the last Jakes does a remarkable job of imagining what it must have felt like to live in these times, with the country trembling along the Mason Dixon fault line To exist in the years leading up to 1861 was to exist in the midst of a massive, deafening, multiparty argument among idealists and opportunists, between revolutionaries and reactionaries, all trying to forge their vision into being Unsurprisingly, Jakes is not perfect on this front While there are black characters, we never really get their perspective Too often though there are exceptions blacks seemlike audience members watching their fates argued over by others than active participants Further, I found it a bit troubling that the one abolitionist in the novel that is, the one character whose moral compass actually points true north is presented as literally mad Gone With the Wind, to which North and South aspires in setting, grandeur, and scope, is a better book But and this is important North and South has the advantage of being simultaneouslysensitive andaccurate regarding issues of slavery and race This is all getting a bit heavy, so I ll wrap it up You shouldn t read a novel to learn history, anythan you should attend the Indy 500 in place of driver s ed Yet there is something to be said for the ability of fiction to spark your imagination, to encourage you to learnabout a person, an event, a period There is also something to be said for the way that fiction can spark our empathy, and help us to connect with people, even though their lives and ours are separated by a century and a half But let s not get too serious here Weighty themes are debated, to be sure, yet just about every character is willing to forget their own name at the glimpse of perfumed d colletage or britches that are just a bit too tight There is a trashy heart at the center of North and South, and I say that with admiration Jakes ably fulfills the first imperative of historical fiction, to take you back in time, and once it gets you there, to keep you entertained


  4. Elaine Elaine says:

    Someone at work was about to take the North South Trilogy to the library, but offered them to me instead I took these three massive tomes, which I remembered dimly from the 1980s along with the TV miniseries adaptation with muted thanks No, I ll never turn down a book, but I expected some poorly written, overblown mess something like what you d get if VC Andrews decided to write a historical trilogy I put it off for nearly a year, and then finally cracked open North and South, fully pr Someone at work was about to take the North South Trilogy to the library, but offered them to me instead I took these three massive tomes, which I remembered dimly from the 1980s along with the TV miniseries adaptation with muted thanks No, I ll never turn down a book, but I expected some poorly written, overblown mess something like what you d get if VC Andrews decided to write a historical trilogy I put it off for nearly a year, and then finally cracked open North and South, fully prepared to be underwhelmed.Wow I m now on the second volume, and would like to belatedly join the John Jakes Fan Club Wow again I ve lived in the South since 1986, despite growing up as a full blooded Yankee, ancestry going back to pre Revolution days And I read Gone With the Wind, so of course I kind of thought I knew about the Civil War Wrong It seems I m only now starting to understand this not so distant history of my country I strongly recommend this series of books to anyone who feels they need to do some catching up John Jakes has painstakingly researched the subject and managed to personalize it through his characters His writing is clear, very readable, detailed without being dense, and entertaining enough to keep you turning the pages I also need to add that it s currently spring of 2012, and the political turmoil that fills the headlines today shows VERY LITTLE change from what Jakes depicts during the mid 1800s It s sobering andthan a little scary.Not having finished all three books yet, I can t do proper justice to the series with a review at this point, but if there is to be any criticism, it would be a tendency to draw the villains a bit too floridly Bent the Butcher and Ashton the scheming nympho have raised my skeptical eyebrows numerous times so far but they are, nonetheless, characters you love to hate Knowing full well that it s only a story, I still want to find out just how muchhavoc they have up their sleeves I m about 2 3 of the way through Love and War, the second book, and will probably not pause before picking up the final installment, Heaven and Hell. I may even get into The Kent Family Chronicles, John Jakes s earlier historical series But regardless, this author has enriched my reading and learning life with North and South, and I d strongly encourage any historically impaired readers to seek out these books post haste


  5. Nick Borrelli Nick Borrelli says:

    Too much of a soap opera read for me I was under the impression that this was a pretty decent story that was tightly connected with the events of the Civil War as the backdrop What I realized pretty quickly was that the story is the main focus and the Civil War part is just there for convenience That s fine if the story is a compelling one or an interesting one Unfortunately, I was disinterested in the fates of the Hazards and Mains fairly quickly and then I was left with nothing to hang my Too much of a soap opera read for me I was under the impression that this was a pretty decent story that was tightly connected with the events of the Civil War as the backdrop What I realized pretty quickly was that the story is the main focus and the Civil War part is just there for convenience That s fine if the story is a compelling one or an interesting one Unfortunately, I was disinterested in the fates of the Hazards and Mains fairly quickly and then I was left with nothing to hang my hat on Needless to say, it wasn t what I was looking for and I will not be picking up books two and three


  6. Karla Karla says:

    As good now as it was when I last re read it about 20 years ago The characters are vivid, the action broad, and the emotions reflective of the thorny period of history in which the story is set There are good people and bad and some really bad , scenes that are both funny and tragic, and it s all a marvelous soap opera Americanus No wonder they made a mini series of it.Since I ve seen the tv version too many times to count, reading this was like watching it all over again but it was very ent As good now as it was when I last re read it about 20 years ago The characters are vivid, the action broad, and the emotions reflective of the thorny period of history in which the story is set There are good people and bad and some really bad , scenes that are both funny and tragic, and it s all a marvelous soap opera Americanus No wonder they made a mini series of it.Since I ve seen the tv version too many times to count, reading this was like watching it all over again but it was very entertaining to see where the screenwriters deviated There were many little tweaks and a few huge changes It was so hard to think of Bent as a Northerner as I read Damn you, Philip Casnoff and your insidious accent, too Overall, though, the book is far richer andsatisfying.I rarely re read anything, but this is on my keeper shelf and will stay there for all time It s a very riveting saga that is written in a two fisted popular style The hunks of red meat just fly off the page and slap you in the face I adore the evil nymphomaniac Ashton and her thirst for revenge and power, suffer right along with Orry and Madeline s long and tortured path to happiness and the sequel really is a heartbreaker no HEA for those two , and am torn about Virgilia s militant abolitionism How ironic that she goes insanely Old Testament on the butts of those who use the same Bible to justify slavery The intersecting paths of the Mains and Hazards with their sociopathic nemesis Elkanah Bent is the stuff of melodrama and I love the unapologetic grandiosity of it all.I haven t read much of John Jakes outside this trilogy I couldn t make it through California Gold zzzzzzz. but I still rank him as one of my favorite authors simply for this sprawling, awesome epic of the Mains and Hazards


  7. Bettie Bettie says:

    Description Part history, part novel, this book chronicles two great American dynasties over three generations Though brought together in a friendship that neither jealousy nor violence could shatter, the Hazards and the Mains are torn apart by the storm of events that has divided the nation. The mini series.01 North and South summer 1842 summer 1844 02 North and South autumn 1844 spring 1848 03 North and South spring 1848 summer 1854 04 North and South summer 1854 Description Part history, part novel, this book chronicles two great American dynasties over three generations Though brought together in a friendship that neither jealousy nor violence could shatter, the Hazards and the Mains are torn apart by the storm of events that has divided the nation. The mini series.01 North and South summer 1842 summer 1844 02 North and South autumn 1844 spring 1848 03 North and South spring 1848 summer 1854 04 North and South summer 1854 autumn 1856 05 North and South spring 1857 November 1860 06 North and South November 6, 1860 April 1861


  8. Matt Matt says:

    John Jakes chooses to base the first book in the trilogy during some of the most trying years of US history, the lead up to the Civil War Jakes tells the story of two families, the Hazards and Mains, as they progress through these trying times, beginning in the early 1840s Meeting at West Point, George Hazard of Pennsylvania and Orry Main of South Carolina soon become best friends They forge a friendship that is severely tested at numerous points, as the United States begins to tear apart ove John Jakes chooses to base the first book in the trilogy during some of the most trying years of US history, the lead up to the Civil War Jakes tells the story of two families, the Hazards and Mains, as they progress through these trying times, beginning in the early 1840s Meeting at West Point, George Hazard of Pennsylvania and Orry Main of South Carolina soon become best friends They forge a friendship that is severely tested at numerous points, as the United States begins to tear apart over the issue of slavery and their respective families take up the cause for their region Viewing the issue from completely different points of view, the Hazards and Mains find themselves at odds with one another, though members of their respective families see beyond the geographic and political differences to let love and friendship bind them together Letting the story grown from George and Orry s experiences to those of their respective families, Jakes thickens both the plot and the character development in this powerful story, addressing many issues of the day in a forthright and clear manner A powerful opening to the trilogy, which will surely offer manyadventures and political intrigue at a time when the United States was at its most vulnerable.Jakes does not only write to entertain, but surely to teach as well, a point to which he eludes in the Afterward Forging a trilogy with such a strong political backdrop creates a setting and plot with much fodder and a great deal from which to draw These were the most powerful and yet the weakest years of the United States as it sought to reflect upon its political strife to come out stronger While not addressed by Jakes again save for a sentence in the Afterward , the reader may see this novel as an eye opening experience in the struggle between whites and blacks not properly remedied until a century later Addressing issues around women s rights, the divisive nature geography played in politics and commerce, as well as the abolitionist movement and inter racial ties, Jakes offers a political commentary on all these issues in a powerfully crafted fictional tale With raw emotion, Jakes captures the era and the nuances of daily life, making the story one ofthan simply war and its devastation.Kudos, Mr Jakes for this sensational opening to the series I cannot wait to dig into the second novel, hoping it is as exciting as the first


  9. Drush76 Drush76 says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here During the first twenty years or so following his graduation from college, John Jakes spent that period writing many short stories and novels that featured science fiction, fantasy, westerns and the occasional historical fiction Then he achieved literary success in the 1970s with the publication of The Kent Family Chronicles, a series of eight novels about a family between 1770 and 1890 Three years after the publication of that series last novel, Jakes embarked upon another literary series ca During the first twenty years or so following his graduation from college, John Jakes spent that period writing many short stories and novels that featured science fiction, fantasy, westerns and the occasional historical fiction Then he achieved literary success in the 1970s with the publication of The Kent Family Chronicles, a series of eight novels about a family between 1770 and 1890 Three years after the publication of that series last novel, Jakes embarked upon another literary series called the North and South Trilogy..The North and South Trilogy was a literary series that depicted the lives of two wealthy families the Hazards of Pennsylvania and the Mains of South Carolina during the years before, during and immediately after the U.S Civil War The first novel, 1982 s NORTH AND SOUTH , began with the establishment of the two families when their founders immigrated to the New World in the late 17th century The novel jumped a century and a half later when George Hazard, son of a wealthy Pennsylvania iron industrialist and Orry Main, the son of a South Carolina rice planter, Orry Main met as cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1842 The pair immediately become fast friends as they endure the brutal hazing of an older sadistic cadet from Ohio named Elkhannah Bent, and action during the Mexican American War The friendship between the two young men eventually form a connection between their respective families as they become acquainted with each other during family trips to the Newport summer resorts and Mont Royal, the Mains rice plantation in the South Carolina low country The novel also featured two characters who are not members of the two families Bent and Grady, a fugitive slave who used to be owned by Orry s future brother in law.Both the Hazards and the Mains find love, marriage or both throughout the novel George meets and marries Constance Flynn, the daughter of an Irish immigrant attorney Orry falls in love at first sight with Madeline Fabray, the daughter of a New Orleans sugar factor Unfortunately for Orryand Madeline, they meet and fall in love as she is preparing to marry the Mains neighbor, the brutal and venal Justin LaMotte George s younger brother, William Billy Hazard II falls in lovefirst with Orry s sister Ashton Main and later, with the youngest Main sibling, Brett And George s older sister Virgilia, an ardent abolitionist, meets and fall in love with Grady, who turned out to be the slave of James Huntoon, Ashton s future husband.More importantly, NORTH AND SOUTH depicted those last nineteen years of American history before the outbreak of the Civil War Through the eyes of George, Orry and their families John Jakes conveyed readers through life at the Military Academy at West Point first through George and Orry s eyes during the 1840s and later, through Billy and Charles eyes during the 1850s Although John Jakes portrayed George and Orry s West Point experiences withdetail, the author s portrayal of the Military Academy during the following decade proved to beinteresting, as he conveyed how Billy Hazard and Charles Main struggled to maintain their own friendship amidst the growing sectional conflict that threatened to overwhelm the Academy and the nation.What I found eveninteresting is that the novel began during the 1840s a decade in which the abolitionist movement began to become increasingly popular in many parts of North Another significant event had also occurred during this decade namely the Mexican American War Because of the war, George met his future wife, Constance Flynn, during a stop at Corpus Cristi, Texas on the way to the battlefields in Mexico The war also featured a backdrop for George and Orry s last dangerous encounter with Elkhannah Bent in the novel during the Battle of Churabusco The most important aspect of the Mexican American War is that it left the United States withWestern territory to settle including California Although both the North and the South had been in conflict over the slavery issue for several decades, the addition of the new Western lands, along with the rise of the Republican Party in the following decade, heightened the conflict between the two regions In fact, the conflict over whether or not slavery would be practiced in the new Western territories helped lead to the creation of the Republican Party and eventually, the election of Abraham Lincoln as the country s 16th president.For some reason, many of today s readers seem very critical of long and thick novels They are evencritical of a historical novel filled with a great deal of melodrama As I have stated in my review of Jakes 1984 novel, LOVE AND WAR , I simply do not understand this criticism NORTH AND SOUTH is a novela work of fiction It is not a history book Fans either complained over the presence of melodrama in Jakes story or they complained over the abundance of historical facts that served as the novel s backstory Like I saidI do not understand this mentality Even if many literary critics have been unwilling to admit this, a great deal of melodrama have been featured in the novels of literary giants And novelists like John Jakes have proven that one can create a first rate novel with a solid balance of both melodrama and history.Since NORTH AND SOUTH told the story of two families during the last two decades leading up to the outbreak of the Civil War, it only seemed natural that the topic of slavery would dominate its narrative I can recall a YOUTUBE vlogger complaining that Jakes seemed a bit too in the middle of the road about slavery This only seemed natural, considering the story s two main characters came from different parts of the country Following their stints in the Army, George took over the management of his family s Pennsylvania steel manufacturing company and Orry took control of his family s rice plantation in South Carolina that included slaves It was only natural that the novel s narrative would be about two men and their families trying to main their close friendship during the conflict over slavery.Being slave owners, it only seemed natural that the Mains would see nothing wrong with slavery Only three members of the family felt differently Orry s older brother Cooper viewed slavery as a moral wrong and refused to own slaves himself when he assumed control of a shipping line acquired from a man who had borrowed money from his father However, Cooper seemedconcerned with how emancipation would impact his family and state s economic situation than with the freedom of enslaved African Americans This would explain why he supported gradual emancipation Charles Main, Orry and Cooper s younger cousin, also felt that slavery was wrong But he was too young to understand that slavery could end and merely tolerated the institutionuntil he became a cadet at West Point And Cooper s wife, Judith Stafford, a former teacher who had been schooled in New England, believed in the absolute abolition of slavery and civil rights for non whites Yet, she rarely expressed her views to others than her husband Despite being Northerners, the Hazard family did not begin the saga as abolitionists with three exceptions George never gave slavery a thought until his first visit to the Mains plantation, Mont Royal, following his and Orry s graduation from West Point in 1846 This visit led him to become an abolitionist, his politics remained moderate like Cooper Main s Neither older brother Stanley, younger brother Billy, sister in law Isobel Truscott or his mother Maude seemed interested in abolitionism This was not surprising since the Hazards struck me as a moderately conservative family Only George s wife Constance and his sister Virgilia were fervent abolitionists Virgilia s abolitionism was viewed as fanatical due to her unwillingness to hide her hatred of slavery and slave owners beneath a veneer of politeness.I noticed that in the novel s second half, political moderates like George, Orry and Cooper seemed willing to blame political hardliners like Virgilia and rigid pro slavery like Ashton Main and her husband, James Huntoon for the eventual outbreak of the Civil War I could understand their aversion toward the country being driven toward war And I realized they believed that compromise namely the sacrifice of any future freedom for the slaves could have prevented the outbreak of war But unlike that YOUTUBE vlogger, I realized that Jakes was simply conveying the mindset of characters like George and Orry to his readers If he truly believed George, Orry and Cooper s moderate mindset regarding politics and slavery, why bother creating characters like Judith Main or Constance Hazard Another complaint that YOUTUBE blogger had brought up was Jakes lack of any slave characters I believe her complaint was at best, minimal Unlike the two novels that NORTH AND SOUTH , 1984 s LOVE AND WAR and 1987 s HEAVEN AND HELL , I must admit that the 1982 novel featured very little in depth characterizations of either slaves or Northern blacks There were occasional black characters that received brief viewpoints But NORTH AND SOUTH only portrayed one non white character with any real depth namely Grady, James Huntoon s slave, who eventually became a fugitive and later, Virgilia Hazard s lover and common law husband For a novel in which the topic of slavery dominated the narrative, I found this rather odd and lacking.I must also admit I do have some issues with Jakes portrayals of his villains Although I believe he did an excellent of delving into psyches, many of them were in danger of being portrayed as one note personalities And his worst villains seemed to be wrapped in a great deal of sexual perversion, violence or both This especially seemed to be the case for characters like Elkhanah Bent, Ashton Main Huntoon, Justin LaMotte and the latter s nephew Forbes LaMotte Bent is portrayed as a man with a sexual preference for anyone who happened to attract his attention whether that person is a man, woman or child Ashton is portrayed as a promiscuous female since the age of 14or younger In fact, one sequence featured a visit made to West Point by her, Orry and their younger sister Brett in which Ashton ended up having sex with a handful of Northern born cadets Frankly, I thought Jakes had went too far in this sequence and he seemed to portray Ashton s highly sexual nature as something ugly and perverse He also did the same for Virgilia Hazard, whose emotions regarding abolition and black men in general seemed to ring with excessive sexuality On the other end of the scale Jakes portrayed other villainous characters like George s sister in law, Isobel, as sexually frigid and Orry s brother in law James Huntoon as sexually inadequate.By the way, why did he portray Virgilia Hazard as a borderline villain Many fans of his saga viewed her as a villain due to a general dislike of Southerners Yet, the novel made it clear that Virgilia also harbored a strong dislike to those Northerners who opposed slavery, regardless if they were fellow citizens of Lehigh Station or members of her own family I have to be honest I still find it difficult to view Virgilia as a villain As a character, she was on the right side of history not only in her support of abolition and civil rights for non white, but also in her embrace of interracial relationships I found it difficult to condemn her for her beliefs.One could condemn Virgilia for her willingness to embrace violence to end slavery But honestly, this willingness only exposed the other characters hypocrisy In other words, many Americans like the other Hazards and the Mains continued to celebrate the country s use of violence to win independence from Great Britain during the late 18th century Yet, they condemned Virgilia and other abolitionists like her for supporting the use of violence to end slavery Even to this day, there are historians who continue to express this wish or desire that slavery had never ended via a four year war, yet see nothing wrong in celebrating the violence of the American Revolution I do not know if Jakes had intended this, but in another sequence in the novel, Virgilia had confronted Orry and Brett Main during the pair s visit to Lehigh Station in 1859 During a quarrel between her and Orry, Virgilia pointed out that it was only natural for those who participated in evil would deny it And she was right No matter how decent most members of the Main family were, they participated in evil namely slavery for their benefit And they saw nothing wrong with this Northern businessmen like George also profited from their business connections to the South In the novel, George had agreed to help finance Cooper Main s new vessel that would ship slave produced cotton to Europe No matter how fanatical , violent or confrontational people like Virgilia werethey were right about the country s ties to slavery.Although I love the novel overall, there were segments that I really enjoyed Among them were George s first visit to Mont Royal, Constance s early clashes with sister in law Isobel, the Hazard and Main families first summer vacation at Newport, the Hazards 1851 visit to Mont Royal, the Mains visit to West Point, Ashton and Forbes attempt to murder Billy following his wedding to Brett, and the whole Harper s Ferry segment beginning with Orry and Brett s visit to Lehigh Station and ending with their experiences during the Harper s Ferry raid But if I had to choose the segments that I truly enjoyed, they were the train crash that the Hazard family experienced on their way to Newport Charles conflict with Elkhanah Bent in Texas during the late 1850s and especially Billy s experiences during the crisis at both Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter.I will admit that NORTH AND SOUTH has its flaws especially the one dimensional portrayals of its villains and a minimum of African American characters in a story dominated by the topic of slavery But after so many years, I still love the novel I think it is one of the best literary depictions of life in the United States during the last two decades before the Civil War And to that YOUTUBE vlogger who believed that Jakes view on slavery may seemed a bit too conservative and suspect, I should point out that he ended the novel with a partial quote from Virginia born Founding Father George Mason, who condemned the entire country for its participation in slaveryand expressed a prophecy that it will pay the consequences for that participation Which it did


  10. Corey Corey says:

    John Jakes never ceases to amaze me I really enjoyed The Kent Family Chronicles so I just had to pick up North and South, and once again I didn t come back disappointed North and South is the intro to the Civil War Trilogy, with Jakes telling the story of 2 families, the Main Family of South Carolina, and the Hazards of Pennsylvania Orry Main and George Hazard befriend each other when both happen to be going to West Point in the 1840s to serve in the American Mexican War.From then on the Main John Jakes never ceases to amaze me I really enjoyed The Kent Family Chronicles so I just had to pick up North and South, and once again I didn t come back disappointed North and South is the intro to the Civil War Trilogy, with Jakes telling the story of 2 families, the Main Family of South Carolina, and the Hazards of Pennsylvania Orry Main and George Hazard befriend each other when both happen to be going to West Point in the 1840s to serve in the American Mexican War.From then on the Main and Hazard families become closer, but as time goes on their relationships are tested, with the talks of slavery and politics, and unknown to them at the time, the approach of the Civil War Excellent character development and setting, another epic Historical Soap Opera, Jakes creates unique characters, some you just love, and others you absolutely hate Looking forward to reading the rest of the Trilogy very soon


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *