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.
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'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.
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 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.
I just achieved App Scholar!! 1000 hours in 1 yr 7 mo and 10 days!!! 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...
Read this book when it first came out many years ago, so this was like brand new to me I really didn't remember much of the story. I enjoyed it then, I loved it now, history, romance, mystery has it all. The characters are wonderful, I lived in the North for many years and now in the South for many years and I can tell you everyone tells a different story about the war depending on where you live - North or South. Just started Book 2 and it's just as good.
I loved this book and I am looking forward to the rest of the series. The narrator was great and the story line kept me interested for the entire time. I have seen the series on TV but it cannot compare to the book. I highly recommend this to anyone who just loves a great story.
Historical fiction is a difficult genre - play too close to Historical fact and people will accuse you of straying from the facts. Play too loose with facts and people will accuse you of not paying attention at all. This book strikes the balance - fictional characters that are period appropriate, that happen to be in some historically significant places at the correct (or incorrect) time. It cannot be an easy balance to strike, but Mr. Jakes has done so and as a result has produced a book that is both entertaining and mostly factual. By using fictional characters, one is liberated from any one particular person and what they said or did not say and can instead set up the possibility of a pair of families that symbolize the struggle of North vs. South in the era leading up to the Civil War. This book is an excellent read and is very well read. For anyone interested in the Civil War, Historical fiction, or just plain good fiction - this book has something for you. I already bought the second one!
I love historical fiction when it is done right. This novel was great in that way. True historical events happen to and around the fictional characters. I hear a deep and complex story of interwoven families; live and grow with them. All the while, they are impacted by the current events around them. The impending Civil War. I like to learn a little bit while I am being entertained!! I only left off a star because there was no one particular character that I fell in love with.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
I've not read the printed version but I definitely enjoyed the audio edition.
How the story was written through the eyes of two friends. One from the North and the other from the South.
When Charles was introduced as a character.
The Saga of the Civil War
Grover Gardener's narration was excellent. The novel helped me to have a better understanding of the cause of the Civil War. The novel being told through the eyes of two families was a great way to read about the Civil War. I don't enjoy reading a novel that doesn't have characters, only narration explaining the hows and whys, makes for boring listening.
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