Two strangers, young men from Pennsylvania and South Carolina, meet on the way to West Point.... Thus begins this brilliant novel of antebellum America, spanning three generations and chronicling the lives and loves of two great family dynasties. The Hazards and the Mains are brought together in bonds of friendship and affection that neither jealousy nor violence can shatter - until a storm of events sunders the nation and brings the cataclysm of war!
©1982 John Jakes (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
Loyal member since 1998
North and South is the first novel in John Jakes' trilogy of the American Civil War. This first book tells the story of the close friendship the develops between George Hazard Of Pennsylvania and Orry Main of South Carolina. Hazard belongs to the industrial class of the mighty North, while Main is a member of the Southern caste of slave holding plantation owners. The backgrounds of these two men are fraught with seemingly insurmountable differences. Despite this, Main and Hazard become close friends during their time at West Point, as well during their service in the Mexican American war. After that conflict the two friends are followed throughout the tumultuous 1850's, right up to the firing on Fort Sumter and the start of the Civil War. The tragedy of the Civil War is magnified as these two intimate companions choose sides, wish each other luck, and go to war.
Over the last 25 years I have read this trilogy three times and I have been waiting very impatiently for an audio version. And it has arrived in all it's glory. Having the superb Grover Gardner narrate is simply icing on a three layer cake.
I enjoyed this pre-Civil War novel. The stories of the characters are interwoven well with the history of the time. It took me a while before I connected with the characters, but the novel grew on me as it progressed. Love, rivalry, revenge, and slavery are big parts of this story of connections between people in the North and the South. Two families are bound by a deep friendship between West Point cadets, and the drama follows from there. The characters are a little black and white, with the bad people truly despicable and the good people almost all good. But Jakes did successfully get me rooting for the good guys and hating the bad guys. While it felt a bit manipulative at times, I let it happen and enjoyed the listen. The story has a good number of characters and subplots, and is wrapped smartly into a cohesive whole. The history was more believable than the characters. I rarely read or listen to a sequel right away, but I have already bought the sequel to this and will listen to it next. The reader is solid and well suited to this story.
Live on edge of National Forest with lake, birds & wild animals. No more perfect place to indulge life-long love of reading.
During Jakes research, he read Bruce Catton's civil war studies and came across the above quote and referenced it in his afterword. I was struck by its unusually apt descriptiveness and therefore used it as my review headline.
There are many wonderful things about this book: it's well researched, richly panoramic, excellently narrated and beautifully written. It is very easy to feel you know the main characters as they grow and experience life. They're well rounded and quite human in all aspects. The growing political and civil unrest in this period of our country's development is described such that you also get a quite tasty history lesson along with the characters' storylines.
There are however several characters (4 of whom are primary to the story) that are truly sadistic bullies. Their sheer meanness is predominantly against other whites and not aimed at the slave population. I came to believe that this was true because the slaves were "property" and therefore not seen as a logical target of enmity. These cruel characters were so despicable that I questioned why they were necessary to the overall story arc. I would have understood 1 or 2 ... but 4?? Therefore my 4 star rating for the story.
I will get the other 2 books of this trilogy immediately. The series is well worth your time and credits.
I'm a mom. I have drama in my life. I don't want books with the F-bomb, nor graphic violence. I read for fun and to bring my family together. I read for reducing stress levels. We have never had a television in our home and our children are now mid twenties to 19. We listen together and look for belly-wrenching laughter. So what is it like to live without a TV? Awesomely educational and inspirational. Each new book is a marvel.
YES! I enjoyed these books when they were published. I wanted to re-read them and this was an enjoyable way to review the story. Grover Gardner is exceptional. His voice is smooth and melodious. I really enjoyed this again.
Remembering the characters.
Superb! I love the books he narrates.
Passions regarding slavery.
The story is very long and will require some adjustments to fit in the time. You will not want to get only an hour in each day. Look over your schedule and start this when you can commit some time because it will draw you in, sleep will be pushed to the bottom of the list so you can listen more.
I just achieved App Master!! I never thought I would make it this far!! Thanks Audible
Im glad they redid the North and South books..I've already bought the old DVD series with Patrick Swayze, I bought the preorder of book two,i cant wait to start it..With all the true events of the civil war and the that time John Jakes does a great job putting two families from different walks together.. The love and hate the two families have for each other will test the times..And it wont be easy,this is a must read...
Reading, the arts and physical activity clarify, explain, illustrate, and interpret life’s goods and bads.
North and South takes the reader on a tour of the animosities and misunderstandings that rose in the United States South, North and West, during the pre-Civil War years. Precisely the preceding twenty year period leading to the attempted breakup of the Union in 1860/61. The author John Jakes does this by telling a wonderful story centered on the friendship that builds between two West Point Cadets and their families. One family from Pennsylvania and the other from South Carolina. One a steel manufacturing family the other a rice growing plantation clan. The story is an – “I cannot put it down for a minute.” Found myself sneaking little moments out of the day to listen to a few more episodes of the plot. Notwithstanding the good story, it is a true awakening to the attitudes of the citizenry of our nation in the lead up to the rebellion. The attitude that John Jakes portrays is generally pitiful. We may have been an emerging great nation but our populace, generally, were pathetic.
This is a wonderful way to consider an epoch time in our past. It is one volume of a three part trilogy; before the war, during the war and after the war. North and South is Book One. This book provides a new methodology for Civil War students to consider the tragedy of the War Between the States. It is a worthwhile read and an intriguing read? Lincoln plays just about no part in this story it is a tale of the people their ethics and anticipations.
Fiction: I like Paranormal, Young Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance, Classics. Non-Fiction: I like Historical, Military, Memoirs.
North and South has been sitting in my Audible library for a couple years. I have no idea why it took me so long to listen to it, but once I finally started, I could not stop. At more than 30 hours, it's impossible to listen to it in one sitting, but I wish I could have. I stayed up well into the early morning hours on more than one occasion because I just couldn't turn it off. I found myself talking back to the narrator and yelling at my iPod because of all the dramatic twists and turns, the evil scheming, and the sheer desire for the protagonists to triumph.
I loved the attention to historical detail and the use of real historical figures as minor characters in the story line. Even the Afterword, in which the author talked about his research and the writing process, was interesting to me.
The narrator was superb, especially his voice for Orry. I could easily distinguish when Orry was speaking, even when in conversation with other South Carolina characters.
Five stars, all around. * * * * *
Follow me on Goodreads too!
This book kept popping up in my recommendations list - in both Audible and Goodreads so when it came on sale for 5$ I took the plunge.
Sale aside, the reason I didn’t read it sooner is because I am not really all that interested in the American Civil War, but since epic family sagas tend to be engaging - I dove in.
As I suspected, the war parts bored me and the family drama entertained me.
I have books 2 and 3 in my wish list so I can be advised if ever they too come on sale for 5$. At that price it’s worth the diversion
"The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why" Mark Twain
What can I say about this book and it's author that haven't already been said?
The North and South series is fantastic. It's the story of two families intertwined by friendship, love, and marriage; separated by being "northerners" and "southerners", and ultimately by civil war.
I couldn't help but love the characters. They are well developed and intertwined, but not in such a way that would make the book confusing. John Jakes is the PG-13 version of Ken Follett - just enough to keep the story interesting, but not enough to make it pornographic. Those who have read both authors know what I'm talking about.
Its hard to imagine what life would have been like living during the civil war period. Your friends - and even some of your family - suddenly your "enemies", all because of the evil ideology of slavery, corrupted power structures, culture, and simple geography. The veins of slavery ran deep enough to turn a nation against itself, resulting in hundreds of thousands dead. It's books like this that help you see the victims on both sides.
Aussie truckie, on the long haul!
Great book. Held my attention all the way through, so it deserves a minimum of 4 out of 5 just for that. Nothing entertains me more, than learning about different countries histories through fictional characters, set in non fictional events. And this is a great story set in the civil war, which has eluded me for some time. I'll definitely listen to the sequels to this book.
"Interesting characters in interesting times"
A thought provoking characterisation of two families fighting to keep their friendships alive while their country tears itself apart. Looking forward to the next 2 books.
Report Inappropriate Content