Monday, January 22, 2018

A Year in the South: 1865:The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived Through the Most Tumultuous Twelve Months in American History by Stephen V. Ash

Showing off my new cow creamer.

I am listening to Rachmaninov's Island of the Dead Symphony no. 29.  Percy thought it was pleasant, or so I judge by his chuckling.  Have you heard a Guinea Pig chuckle?  It is so cute. He also chuckles when I tell him I love him.  Don't tell me piggies don't understand English.





A Year in the South: 1865: The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived Through the Most Tumultuous Twelve Months in American HistoryA Year in the South: 1865: The True Story of Four Ordinary People Who Lived Through the Most Tumultuous Twelve Months in American History by Stephen V. Ash

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Ash takes us through the lives of four people starting in the beginning of 1865 and how they lived through this final half year of the Civil War. (The War ended in May.)

One is a slave who becomes a freedman. His family must now learn how to cope with getting a job and making a paid living. Ironically many freed men and women left the South where there was now a desperate need for labor to the North where they found themselves competing for jobs with European Immigrants. This caused another type of conflict as too many people fought for too few jobs.

Another is a woman whose husband fought as a Confederate and was killed in action. One watches as she and her young family work to keep from starving on their once respected and wealthy plantation.

Two others are men, one young and one old, who also fight as Confederates and after the war must find new identities and work in the devastated South. The younger one moves north and learns to interact with people whose customs and cultures are very different than anything he's been exposed to.

The book is divided up into the four seasons of the year and inside each season each person gets a chapter.

This is a work of non-fiction and it is compelling in its drama and the fight to survive from four Southern people, very different from each other, and how they adapted and adjusted during the end of the Civil War and the life they once knew that is now lost forever and the beginning of Reconstruction.



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14 comments:

  1. Hi Sharon,

    This sounds very good. I have neglected my Civil War reading as I have concentrated on other aspects of American history. Histories that look upon the impact of individuals are very enlightening.

    Percy is very cute and he has great taste in music.

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    1. Hi Brian. This is one of the best non fiction accounts of the Civil War that I have read. It is highly readable and fascinating.

      Percy is chuckling at your compliment. :)

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    2. Personal experiences outrank general history, imo... possibly a more accurate picture of the "real" events of the time; or a sense of what it was really like... nice post, tx...
      didn't know guinea pigs chortled; amazing!

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    3. Hi Mudpuddle. I agree. This was a very personal insider account which made the war and its aftermath very real.

      Oh, guinea pigs make all sorts of sounds: chuckles, chatters, teeth grinding when they're annoyed with you and WEE WEE WEE! All the way home. (Or when they hear the refrigerator door open.)

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  2. Thanks, Sharon, for introducing me to what sounds like a fascinating book. I hope my library has a copy.
    FYI....problem with Blogger caused me to revise address:
    https://informalinquiries2nd.blogspot.com/

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    1. HI R.T. I was wondering I visited your blog and it wasn't there. I will visit your new address now.

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  3. Dear Sharon - this sounds like a great book. It is at times so difficult to imagine all the pain that took place in this blessed country of ours. Will be on the lookout for this one. Thanks for the wonderful review. Have a great day. Hugs!

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    1. Hi Debbie, I do feel grateful that I was not alive during that time. It's hard to imagine what some people went through. Have a blessed day.

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  4. would love to see this book made into a movie (bite my tongue!) It sounds wonderful. And, Percy is precious. And when did you get the bird? I don't remember a bird.

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    1. Hi Phyllis. I had not thought of it but you're right; this book would make a good movie. Have you not Hercule Parroh? I've had him for about a year.

      We've had a lot of changes this year. My dogs crossed over the rainbow. I gave away three guinea pigs; a fourth died so all I have left is Percy and Hercule. That's enough for now. :)

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  5. Sounds sooo interesting. I think I may have to find this one.

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  6. Oh, and that image is so adorable of your kids vying for your attention while you try to read.

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    1. Hi Ruth! You would probably enjoy this book. It's a quick fun read. Yep, my babies can be demanding, but I love them.

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    2. Oops, Sorry Ruth. I thought I was commenting on another book review. This book is a fantastic account of the final year of the Civil War. It really is the best account I've read so far.

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