All posts tagged: Civil war

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce sounds like someone I would love to have a conversation with. He was intelligent, a satirist, journalist, writer and critic – and he lived through a tumultuous period of American history. Ambrose also called Bitter Bierce was born in a log cabin in Ohio in 1842 and even as a young man, he worked for a publisher. I admire people who find their shelf in life early. They appear so sure of themselves. However, Ambrose’s path swerved with the onset of the American Civil War. He enlisted in the Union Army, fought at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, and eventually sustained a head injury causing him to leave the army. In much of his fictional writing, war is a central theme. He returned to his publishing path in San Francisco and with a stint in England. Ambrose was controversial in most of his writings, which caused ruffles. He worked for Hearst during a long period despite controversy. The satirical and controversial were thematic and Ambrose published The Devil’s Dictionary with an …

Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

(Includes rant about young adult fiction) I love it, I hate it, I love it, I hate it – I have the same guilty conscience after reading Beautiful Creatures as when I have eaten too much chocolate and enjoyed every bite. Here is yet another young adult novel with a supernatural twist and lo and behold, the main characters are teenagers and the balance between good and evil in the world is at risk. So far, Beautiful Creatures is generic, one in an unending line of young adult novel á la the Twilight Saga, and yes, this one is now a major motion picture. Surprised? Nah, not so much. However, Beautiful Creatures made a good impression on me and has its own identity and unique supernatural world. Winning characteristics include the male protagonist (I kid you not) and the novel’s Southern flair, which is far from the white trash in the Sookie Stackhouse series, but retains that old plantation, Civil War reenactment, history-saturated atmosphere, which the authors manage to incorporate in the plot. The uniqueness …

Blue Asylum – Kathy Hepinstall

Kathy Hepinstall is an author, I will keep an eye on. In “Blue Asylum” she has written an original story, but it is her language and narrative style that raises her above so many other talented authors. Hepinstall masters the fine art of writing by omission. She leaves the readers hooked by not confiding all the characters’ secrets, but carefully hints at them, making them snippets of truth for the reader to play with in their mind. Furthermore, she relishes the moments building up to a pivotal moment and than omits the scenes, we as readers have read thousands of times before. The result is a masterpiece about shattered minds and shattering beliefs in a time shattered by a grusome war. The plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is placed at the Sanibel Asylum after being judged mad by a court of law. She arrives at the backwards paradisiacal island outside the reach of the raging Civil War to be treated by Dr. Cowell. Other prominent characters are Ambrose Weller, a soldier broken by his actions in …

March – Geraldine Brooks

”March” begins with the premise of what happens to Mr. March, when he leaves his little women and goes off to do his part in the Civil War? Mr. March is of course the absent father in Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” but “March” is a very different story than its point of inspiration. “March” is about a man of war, fighting not only the enemy, but his own past and principles. Mr. March serves as a chaplain and later he is appointed to a plantation where he serves as a teacher for the newly freed slaves. Equality. Pacifism. Vegetarianism. The right to education. These are some of the principles that Mr. March tries to bring forth. It is however, the more private Mr. March, I find interesting. He is the self-made man, who loses his fortune. He feels guilty about not being able to provide for his wife and girls the way he wants to. He struggles with his past and an encounter with a slave woman, and he berates himself for not being …