From a former US assistant surgeon general comes the epic tale of a young man’s struggle to survive a journey across America during the Civil War. Told by his stepmother that he alone had been responsible for the death of his mother, abandoned by the earlier departure of his father for the California 1849 goldfields, and threatened with being locked in a cage with his stepmother’s psychotic brother, eight-year-old Benjamin Franklin “B .F.” Windes decides to abandon home and trail his father’s path. Thus begins a trip of constant struggle with disease, severe weather, hardship, Indian attack, and death on his lone journey across much of what is now the United States. B. F. spends the next 11 years in gold rush towns in California - first as a barber, then as a physician’s assistant - before departing for the Caribbean at age 19, where he becomes a blockade runner during the American Civil War. At war’s end he discovers that the men he had been dealing with were nothing more than common murderers and thieves - Bushwhackers. He travels to the Missouri Ozarks, where he meets the girl of his dreams. But their romance is threatened when he finds himself battling a man from his past in order to safeguard his family and his future. Orphan Hero, based on the life of the author’s great-grandfather in the mid-19th century, is a tale of courage and perseverance in the face of incredible hardship.
©2015 John Babb (P)2015 Audible, Inc.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
Young Ben Windes has been handed a rough lot in this life . . . his mother died when he was a baby; his father remarried a witch of a woman who despised him, and treated him with disdain . . . and his father allowed it . . . then his father left them all for the gold fields of California when Ben was eight years old . . . it was the last straw when his step-mother threatened to put him in a cage outside with his addle-minded step-brother . . . so Ben sets off, alone (after being robbed of his savings by his step-mom) in search of his father . . . aided by his aunt, whom he dearly loves, he has only a pair of new boots, a few dollars and a little food as he starts his journey . . . little did he know that, not far into his trek, his dad found work on a steam ship, and changed his mind about going west . . . Ben is as tough as a pine knot though, his first experience of being robbed by his own family serving him well as he traveled, and he learned to work hard, be smart and take care of himself . . . while never losing his kind heart . . . making friendships along the way . . . but never being able to fully trust . . . he grew . . . and he grew UP . . . by wit and sweat, he made money, invested it, and traded fairly with those he met . . . although the story does include the time during the civil war, much of it is BEFORE the war, and after . . . the title is a little misleading in my opinion, Ben or B.F. is a good man, but not a hero . . . and not really an orphan, except maybe by choice . . . he made his way in a cruel world, he found hope and goodness . . . this is a clean story . . . but also one of honesty during a perilous time in American history . . . Great listen . . .
As a truck driver, I get the opportunity to listen to 3-4 books every week. This book is as good as any I've listened to, and I've listened to hundreds. The story of the the struggle and adventures of life in the US and the frontier just before, during, and after the civil war is captivating to say the least, never lags for keeping your attention.
I wish there had been a female narrator as well. it's always kind of creepy to hear a man mimic a woman. however, the story really brought me to another place and time, and I'll be downloading The Oregon Trail next, on audible.. it's an actual history book, not historical fiction. I guess you can say my interest has been piqued. that's always a sign of a good book, in my opinion.
I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.
This is a simple story, one that carries the listener along without too many plot or action spikes. The main character (Benjamin Frank Wines) is likable and the author made great efforts to avoid the pitfalls of developing crude or malicious edges in the protagonist to make him more interesting. It's a story of a boy alone in the 1850's, up until post-Civil War period. The boy becomes a man in the California gold fields, eventually becoming a successful blockade runner for the Confederacy in the Gulf of Mexico.
The story degenerates after the war when the Benjamin falls in love. Cliche' and caricature abound in the last 25% of the book. The action is dull and predictable. I switched books with 20 minutes to go.
I don't recommend this book unless you have a hankering for a "boy becomes man on his own terms" story.
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