A Woman living in Tennessee has her house taken over by confederate soldiers for a hospital.She becomes very fond of one of the soldiers whom has lost his leg and requires much care.She has already lost three children. How much more suffering can she bare? She finds new found strength in caring for the many casualties of the civil war and seeing that they get a proper burial. This story in many respects is true regarding the place,the widow and the civil war battle. This is a great piece of history.
I consider this the best historical book I have ever read. And it gave me a whole new outlook on the civil war. It is also a fabulous book for genealogists, which is how I got interested in it. F.Wilson (FeeGee)
Absolutely great read about a little known battle of the Civil War. The description of the battle and the aftermath -- the realization that this battle was absolute suicide on the confederate's part; the house and family was comandeered and turned into a field hospital/morgue fascinated me. The romantic aspect as well as Carrie's "depression" over her dead child was conjecture by the author and not quite believeable, but it does help bring the characters to life. What this woman went through and what she accmplished in her lifetime is truly inspiring
I loved this book. I found that having visited the site in Franklin TN had its advantages as I read this book and knew where the action took place. I doubt that this book is faithful to the woman but it is faithful to the battle which is woefully neglected in history classes. You will enjoy this book and I recommend any other books you find about this infamous battle.
I really enjoyed this book. It hit a slow spot about three quarters point, but it was definitely worth pushing on through to the end. It was a well told historical novel, with fascinating characterizations and a very refined prose style. I would recommend this book.
This isn't my usual style of book. I find war and descriptions of what man can do to man very painful to read. As a young person I think I overdosed on photo journal books of the Civil War, Second World war, the concentration camps, and Hiroshima.
That said, I loved this novel. Mr. Hicks story and characters completely involved me. How they interacted with Carrie McGavock, The Widow of the South, made both the people and the story real. These people were so well described, they stood on their own. Even the lesser characters were fully filled in people.
Its the kind of book where I could easily go up to the Author, and thank him.
This is a great book if you are interested in Civil War history mingled with an unusual love story. Most of the book is based on fact so history buffs will love it. One reviewer wrote; "wonderfully imagined and beautifully written. RObert Hicks not only immerses us in history but also in age-old human truths that are the grist of lasting literature. One of the finest books I've read in years."-James Webb, author of "Born Fighting" and "Fields of Fire." This book wasa New York Times best seller and a nominee for the Michael shaara Award For Ecellence in Civil War Fiction.
This book was very slow moving for me and while slightly interesting, I never got "hooked". A story of a tortured South and its inhabitants, the futility of war, and strenth renewed, it has detailed historical references but characters that fail to develop.
This is the recent best seller, a fictionalized description of the Battle of Franklin (Tennessee) told from the perspective of Carrie McGavock (who actually lived in Franklin near the site of the battle). The first third of the book deals with the battle and is very hard to put down. After that, the author's plot becomes a bit contrived (to my taste). However, for a first effort, it's a very good read.
I found this book fascinating because it is based on a true story. However, the author's account of Carrie McGavock's unusual love for Zachariah Cashwell is entirely fiction, and is a very strange tale indeed. The author says that he spent 7 years reading Russian novels to help prepare him to write this book, and the influence in character analysis is noticeable. It is this depth of character that makes the book move slowly in some parts, but also adds the surreal aspect to it. I am interested in learning a bit more about the Battle of Franklin and would like to see Carrie McGavock's cemetery now that I've read this book.
Good historical fiction, based in the civil war era. The story is based on Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN. The battle of Franklin took place on this property and the McGavok family buried over 1,500 confederate soldiers and maintained the cemetary until their death. I don't think this novel was as good as it could have been.
I'm not one for historical novels but I could barely put this one down. The time period is towards the end of the Civil War. Carrie McGravock lived on the border of the bloodest battle of the Civil War. Her home was turned into a hospital for the many wounded. It's the story of a common woman who became an amazing heroine.
This book was pretty good. Slow going in spots. I think I expected more of a love story, that's my fault. Several chapters dealt only with the battle. I would recommend it if you are very interested in the Civil War.
I found this book to be emotionally draining. The author tells the story of one of the last battles in the American Civil War from the perspective of the soldiers on both sides and of the town of Franklin, Tennessee (where the battle was fought). The very real portrayal of the fear of the soldiers going into the battle, loss of youth and life, despair in not having a choice of fighting or not was at times difficult for me to read. However, there was also true love and redemption.
Unusual and compelling story of people caught up in one battle of the revolutionary war. The thousands of dead soldiers has a lasting impact on one woman, who has changed after losing three of her five children. Based on a real person and many historic facts, the story itself is fiction as no one really knows why she was so determined to create and watch over the graveyard of soldiers. The details of personal lives are nicely woven into the horror of battle e.g. the bible that survives war but not friendly target practice, the doctor who takes a smoking break while the dying pile up in another room, the father who won't admit a dying son into the main part of his home. Not a cheerful book, but a good read.
Story is based on historical fact-The battle at Franklin, TN on 11/30/1864, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Carrie and John McGavock were real people and their plantation home, Carnton, was used as a hospital for soldiers from both sides. She established the only non-government military cemetary in the years following. This area is open to visitors today!! Holds your interest--you can't put it down.
This book taught me a lot. Although it is fiction, it's based on a battle that was happened in Franlin, TN. It really brought to my attention the devistation and greusomeness of the Civil War. It makes me even more grateful for those who have given their lives for our country. Read it, you will learn something and it will challenge you to think.
Based on the true story of the battle of Franklin, Tenn. readers are
transformed back to the Civil War and one woman's extraordinary tale. This is one of the best books I have read in the last 10 years.
I loved this book. It had history, a little romance, hope, and what people went through in a time with little money. I like to read about how people
lived in the past and how they survived. This book was good at telling me
about the war in Franklin and what hell those poor souls went through.
I am keeping this book and have been telling others about it.
A beautifully written historical fiction novel set during the Civil War. Incredibly moving and far, far better that Charles Frazier's "Cold Mountain". My only regret is that I didn't read this book sooner!
Mar reviewed The Widow of the South (Audio CD) (Abridged) on
Excellent historical novel. Behind the death and degradation of the south after the Civil War, lies a little bit of love and hope in this very believable story. Lots of great detail on how a private home is turned into a field hospital for the wounded. Really things you never thought about when you hear "Civil War". This will bring it home.
I smelled, caressed, and hugged, this book. Its was as close as i could get to Carrie. I prayed to thank her and those alike. This is such a stunning book. If you are interested at all in the south and the war--please read this you won't be dissappointed. Beautiful book. Beautiful woman. Fiction, nonfiction, what does it matter--there were those who did these things for others and it gave me the wonderful oppertunity to thank in prayer those who helped, those who fought, find peace.
An historical novel based upon serious research, this book is a must read for all. Though the author claims this is a fiction novel, it is so truthful and has so much basis in fact that it takes the reader to the scene of a great Civil War battle. The facts are true, the characterization is amazing, and the author weaves literary elements together to create a compelling read.
Awesome book!! About one woman's struggle with the civil war when her house is taken over for a confederate hospital. The men are discharged to union soldiers when they are healthy enough to travel and most are then put to death. She then fights for the battlefield to give the fallen their respect.
Cindy R. reviewed The Widow of the South (Audio CD) (Abridged) on
Carrie McGavock was an intriguing and somewhat sad character-her devastation from the loss of her children was all consuming until that fateful day of the Battle of Franklin, when she gained a newfound sense of purpose in nursing the wounded and dying men as they took over her home and her life. She was a strong and admirable woman who wasn't afraid of a fight, and who drew from her own personal grief to comfort the mothers of the soldiers she cared for for the rest of her life.
Good writing, interesting insights..., July 1, 2009
By A.S. Blosser (Lexington, KY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Widow of the South (Hardcover)
A captivating book, made more so by the fact that the McGavocks were real people whose house was turned into a hospital, and whose land became a graveyard. Robert Hicks turns the true story into a fascinating character study of these people, and of the characters he creates to interact with them. I visited Gettysburg about a month ago, and both that and this book really brought home to me how tough the Civil War was on everyone involved. Definitely a well-written book, and one I recommend.
One of the best books I have read. I'm not into history but this story was so awesome & based on truth it kept me up allnight. Don't miss out on this book. You will be inspired by the widow of the south & what she goes through & what she does. Great, great read.
On November 5, 2015, author Robert Hicks (Twitter) talked about his book The Widow of the South and the place of the USA Civil War in history at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia, USA as part of the 5th Civil War Symposium. In my opinion, he oversold the position he took in his New York Times column on the 150th anniversary of the final day of the battle in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. What I heard, which may not be exactly or substantially what Mr. Hicks said, was that the federal government's victory in the Civil War preserved the United States so it could play a saving role for humanity "twice" in the 20th century C.E.
The story starts out slow but picks up steam as the battle at Franklin, TN begins. I found myself drawn into the pain and agony that surrounded one of the last battles of the Civil War. My only regret is the story between Carrie and Zacharia left me feeling like I had missed part of the story. This CD is the abridged version and I am not sure if the book actually went more into depth with Carrie's and Zach's story.
I loved this book - loved, loved, loved it. Hicks really knows his stuff. Admittedly, I was hoping for a little bit more of a romance between Carrie and Zachariah, but I still understood and felt the love between the two. :)
I really wish I would have read this sooner and will not forget it anytime soon!
Based on a true story. Carrie McGavock, The Widow of the South, did indeed take it upon herself to grieve the loss of so many young men in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, which took place on November 30, 1864. Nine thousand men lost their lives that day. She and her husband John eventually re-buried on their own land 1,481 Confederate soldiers killed at Franklin, when the family that owned the land on which the original shallow graves had been dug decided to plow it under and put it into cultivation.
Before the battle begins, Carrie's house is commandeered for a field hospital and all normal life is suspended. Carrie is anything but normal, however. She has buried three children, has two living children whom she pays little attention to, has turned the running of the house over to her slave, Mariah, and spends her time dressed in black, walking around in the dark or lying down lamenting her loss.
She is a morbid figure from the outset but becomes less so as the novel progresses. The death going on all around her shakes her out of her stupor, but death is definitely her comfort zone.
Growing up in South Carolina I found this book very telling. I love this time period and have fell in love with history. I call books that have history and fiction mixed together faction (fact and fiction mixed together). These are my favorite (faction) kind of books.
Gave this to a young man that graduated last year (2012)who was joining the Marines.
This was a good story; even better was the real story behind it as told at the end in the epilogue. As a descendant of a CW soldier, It's very possible my ancestor was there, his regiment having been released from the Army of the Cumberland midway through the Atlanta campaign and sent north to help defend Nashville. This book brought to light an amazing story within an amazing story: The battle for Franklin. Good story, told without a lot of trash found in many books these days. I recommend it to anyone wanting to know this nugget of history as well as those who like to read about human interaction during times of conflict.
Jeanne T. reviewed The Widow of the South (Audio CD) (Abridged) on
A well-written historical novel, detailing a lost bit of Civil War history. There is an odd love story between the two lead characters, but it is not very exciting - I would not classify this story as a romance. The story of the Battle of Franklin is more interesting by far.
Really inspiring novel about the Civil War Battle of Franklin and its aftermath. The novel is told from several different perspectives, the main one being from the point of view of Carrie McGavock who was tasked with operating a hospital from Carnton, her house near the battlefield in Tennessee. This battle was one of the largest during the Civil War with over 9200 men perishing. Carrie is there to see the horrors first hand as the wounded are brought to her house for care. One of these, Zachariah Cashwell, loses a leg and wants to die but Carrie ends ups saving him and has deep feelings for him even though she is married. At the end of the war, many of the dead are buried in a field that is owned by a landowner who wants to plow it up and plant crops. Carrie takes it on herself to move the 1500 men buried there to her land at Carnton and establish a Confederate Cemetery that she tended over the rest of her days.
The characters in this novel are really well developed and the details of their stories very well told. Zachariah, John (Carrie's husband), Mariah (Carries former slave), and others all have compelling narratives in the book. Carrie lost her first three children prior to the war and it seemed as if she was honoring them by making sure the dead confederates were well taken care of. I would definitely recommend this one to anyone interested in Civil War history. I read another book, The Black Flower by Howard Bahr, a few years ago that also told the story of Franklin and was also a very good read that I would recommend.
I read the book right after visiting Carnton and visiting the cemetery (yes, there are still blood stains on the floor). Each chapter is from someones point of view and I found some chapters difficult to read because you know that person is going to die. I even cried a few times. Even though it is fiction, it seems very real and has a lot of facts. Overall, one of the best books I have ever read. Definitely on my keeper shelf.
This book tells the tale of Carrie McGavock, who fought to keep 1500 Confederate soldiers
identified and buried decently. While some characters are fictionalized it is based heavily on the actual life and times of the little lady from Tennessee. who became known as 'The Keeper of the book of the Dead', 'The Keeper of the Morgue of the South' and the 'High Priestess of the The Temple of Dead Boys'. She was revered in her time because the Battle of Franklin happened in her back yard, five of the bloodiest hours in all U. S. wars. There were more casualties at Franklin in five hours than in the nineteen days of the D-Day invasion of France and 50% more than at Pearl Harbor. She was appalled by the violence but ended up acting violently for the right to tend the soldier's graves. A must read for every history buff!
Carrie McGavock is forced to care for the wounded and dying soldiers that are brought to her home, Carnton, after the Battle of Franklin during the Civil War. While tending the wounded, she meets Zachariah, and becomes immediately fascinated with him. During his time at Carnton, they form a relationship that affect them both profoundly. Part romance, part historical fiction, this is the story of Carrie and how she became the voice and guardian of the men who died at the Battle of Franklin.
I did not really care for this book. The subject is interesting and I would be interested in reading more about Carnton, but I found this book overall to be quite boring. At times it seemed to drag on and I had a hard time sticking with it. Personally, I would not recommend this book. On the plus side, it has made me more interested in reading more from this time period. I also think it would be fun to visit Carnton and learn more about the woman who inspired the book.
The book was very well-written, and I am sure many people would like this book, but it was so detailed and tedious, I felt like I was reading a school history book. I just couldn't stick with it. I did not get past chapter 7.
This novel is based on the true story of Carrie McGavock whose house was turned into a hospital during the Battle of Franklin - 5 of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War. After the battle Carrie has 1500 bodies of the Conferderate soldiers exhumed and buried on her plantation. Robert Hicks has created memorable characters living in the hell of war. A must read for all Civil War buffs.
What a wonderful story! I couldn't put the book down once I started reading. I am putting Franklin, Tenn. on my bucket list. For one woman to go through what she did and then save 1500 civil war soldier corpses to re-bury on her own land was remarkable.
--an interesting book for lovers of historical fiction, especially Civil War buffs. Hicks takes a historical figure (Carrie McGavock, who maintained a graveyard for Civil War soldiers who died near her house in the Battle of Franklin) and imagines her life, including the stories of a veteran who was carried to her house after the war and a poor boy caught up in the aftermath of the battle
I was stunned by this book - I had never heard of the Civil War battle which it describes very vividly, nor of the woman who devoted her plantation and much of her life in caring for Confederate soldiers. But she was a real person and the author makes her come alive again.
I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did.
Based on a true story, âThe Widow of the Southâ tells of the aftermath of the Civil War battle of Franklin, Tennessee, a devastating (and now largely-forgotten) bloodbath that left over 9,000 soldiers dead, wounded, captured, or missing. A local plantation house, owned by the McGavock family, was pressed into use as a field hospital, and the family later donated acreage for a cemetery when the shallow graves on the battlefield itself were threatened by the plow as agricultural land was put back into production in the post-war years.
On these bones, Hicks has grafted an odd love story, creating a wounded soldier whose passion for Carrie McGavock helps bring her out of the melancholy resulting from the deaths of three of her children and ultimately gives her the spirit and perseverance to create the memorial.
And that's where the story faltered for me. Both Carrie and the fictitious Zachariah Cashwell are brilliantly drawn but broken people whose obsession for one another feels forced and essentially baseless. The tale came to life for me only when Carrie and her husband John take on the fictionalized owner of the battlefield graveyard. One wonders what the novel might have been had Hicks chosen to make that conflict the center of the story.