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Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed as the greatest novel ever written about the War Between the States, this searing Pulitzer Prize-winning book captures all the glory and shame of America's most tragic conflict in the vivid, crowded world of Andersonville, and the people who lived outside its barricades. Based on the author's extensive research and nearly 25 years in the making, MacKinlay Kantor's best-selling masterwork tells the heartbreaking story of the notorious Georgia prison where 50,000 Northern soldiers suffered - and 14,000 died - and of the people whose lives were changed by the grim camp where the best and the worst of the Civil War came together. Here is the savagery of the camp commandant, the deep compassion of a nearby planter and his gentle daughter, the merging of valor and viciousness within the stockade itself, and the day-to-day fight for survival among the cowards, cutthroats, innocents, and idealists thrown together by the brutal struggle between North and South. A moving portrait of the bravery of people faced with hopeless tragedy, this is the inspiring American classic of an unforgettable period in American history.

©1955 MacKinlay Kantor (P)2014 Audible Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A classic narrator reading a classic work is an unbeatable combination. Grover Gardner is one of a handful of readers who could make the phone directory sound interesting, but when he reads this novel about the infamous Confederate prison camp, the result is a performance that is hard to turn off...." (AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 03-22-15

Worthy of the Pulitzer

One thing—Worthy of the Pulitzer sometimes means: A Tad Overwrought and Could Use Editing At Points. Okay, there, I said it. This book definitely fits the bill.
But it's a brilliant book.
I bought "Andersonville" back when I was researching Civil War atrocities for a book, and holy cow! If Andersonville wasn't a horrorshow, a blight during an unholy time, I don't know what was. Kantor writes it with such savagery, and with such an eye for detail, you'll be haunted (Let yourself be haunted by some of the imagery. That's part of the treat of reading), and you'll be amazed by his skill. There is some truly unsparing prose here.
The whole book is deftly crafted, with memorable characters (and there are a lot of them; we're talking epic here) who are described with one-of-a-kind details that make you wrinkle your nose, but always, always make you tip your hat to the author. Besides which, 'taint all brutality...
While I found myself most definitely transported to the time, I'm neither a Civil War historian, nor am I even a Civil War buff extraordinaire, so I can't guarantee that all things run authentic to the period. I actually purchased this instead of delving into Shelby Foote's work. But I found it to be profoundly satisfying. Where else am I going to hear (glorified) slave chants? (And by the end, I was so fascinated, I purchased "This Republic of Suffering" because there were so many, too many things the book brought up that I just want to know!)
One problem I thought I'd have was with Grover Gardner. I respect the man, I really do. But as much as I enjoy WWII history (and, really: I AM a military history buff), if I ever need to sleep, all I have to do is listen to Grover Gardner start in with the Third Reich and I'm out like a light. But, I'm surprised to say that he shines in "Andersonville." He has just the right twang/nasal/country quality and carries off the accents well. Further, the energy he has during Hour One of his performance is the same as it is for Hour Ten, Hour Twenty, Hour Thirty.
This is a looooong book. And oddly enough, twitchy as I get, I didn't listen to it at x1.25 speed. It was fine as is.
You up for the long haul?

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful....

A great blend of history and narrative. A compelling story, even more heart-wrenching given that it's part of the fabric of our Nation's history. I cannot recommend Andersonville any more highly. A great volume. Thank you.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent now as 50 years ago!

I truly enjoyed this audible presentation as I had read it 50 years ago in an Iowa school. The author was from Iowa and many references to Iowan troops so I was enthralled by the local touch with the Georgian prison that was truly hell in the woods. Very informing touch of history!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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What did I miss?

An avid reader of anything Civil War, I occasionally chose an historical novel. I visited Andersonville three times before I read the novel and was very familiar with the major events (horrific conditions, struggles to survive, hanging of the six) and characters (Wirz). Given the fact the author generally stuck to historical fact, I'm thoroughly disappointed that he left Wirz riding on a train to Washington, rubbing his neck. I thought, what a great way to follow on with his trail and eventual demise as the only Confederate to be hung for war crimes. But rubbing his neck is as close as we got. I actually reversed the recording, thinking I must have missed that part. Nope. Otherwise, a wonderful mixture of fact and fiction. Grover Gardner is the best. Period.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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History is good to know. Horrible as it was.

Hate it that our people live this way. History is powerfull knowledge. This was enlightening to the brutal ways people mis-treated people in the most inhumane careless cruel and hateful ways possible. It so sad but it shows how far mankind has come since those days. This book was worth buying though I wish it was not so very long.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Classic Performance Great performance

What a great job Audible Studios did, to add the humanity to a very ugly chapter of our history that cannot be ignored.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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GREAT BOOK

OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!! I will recommend it to all my friends. Terrific verbal performance. A book to cause a great deal of thought.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A must-have for civil war buffs

What did you love best about Andersonville?

The overall storyline and the POVS from so many characters

What did you like best about this story?

The storyline.

Would you be willing to try another one of Grover Gardner’s performances?

Afraid not. He's not very good with accents, and his narration leaves a lot to be desired.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Not that I can remember.

Any additional comments?

None.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Andersonville

Any additional comments?

Read by Grover Gardner, Andersonville, is close to forty hours of listening. Extremely long, you may find it a bit difficult to hang in with this story. It is not a page-turner, but a gruesome, grizzly accounting of the American Civil War prison in Georgia. Kanter tells the story in biographical snippets about specific soldiers, i.e., a man from Iowa, Vermont, New Jersey, all over the north. Experiences, terror, disease, death. A consistency is a local farmer and his family, and of course, the camp commander, Wirz.<br/><br/>Written in the mid-ninteen-fifties, Andersonville won the Pulitzer for fiction. That and the fact that 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the end of the war, is the reason I’ve listened. In the style of the time, this book is wordy and verbose. An element that is often conveyed is the absolute hatred of the Yankee; it is a visceral, almost tactile loathing. Beyond the cruelty, also of note is the attempt by the Yankee prisoner to bring order from chaos with executions of their own. These men, for the most part boys, were rats in a maze, brutal and savage even to each other in an effort to survive. Hard to believe that Americans could be so hateful of each other, regardless of the politics of the time.<br/><br/>Although I don’t consider myself a historian, I’m pretty well read with regard to American history and I found the book to be historically accurate. Grover Gardner was an excellent choice for this historical novel, well done, nice production.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • LR
  • 04-24-15

Long but draws you in!

Great story! Loved it- never boring. You felt as though you were there in the 1860s. The prison became real, and we began to understand how these men felt. Sympathetic look at the south but I think overall pretty fair

3 of 4 people found this review helpful