North and South Author:John Jakes North and South is the compelling, panoramic novel of two wealthy families during twenty turbulent, troubled years that culminate in the shattering Civil War. Here are the Mains, Carolina plantation owners, proudly defending an aristocratic way of life; and the Hazards, Pennsylvania industrialists, descended from an English fugitive, and now cau... more »ght up in the exciting world of invention and commerce. When their two sons meet as West Point cadets and become fast friends, the lives of these families are irrevocably joined.
So opens a swift narrative, laced with adventure, and dramatically illumined with the many hues of the human spectrum - joy and tragedy, love and lust, wisdom and folly, ambition and sacrifice, generosity and greed, courage and cowardice. And over it all falls the grim shadow of slavery.
NOrth and South is a handsomely conceived mirror of the times. Among the richly realized locales are the U.S. Military Academy on the Hudson, the lush Carolina coast, the harsh Texas frontier, the smoky Lehigh River foundries, the hilly plains of Mexico, the lavish homes of Newport and their distinctive auras, such varied centers as New York, Washington, Mexico City, Charleston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and a town called Harpers Ferry.
This intriguing tale is filled with memorable characters, many of them captured from the pages of history - Robert E. Lee, James Buchanan, John Brown, Stephen Douglas, Abner Doubleday, John Calhoun, Winfield Scott, Zachary Taylor. Critical political events are artfully woven in. And fascinating detail - ship construction, plantation life, military fortification, the underground railway, the Southern dueling code, iron making - comes into play.