After watching the TV series for several times I always wanted to know if the film adaption meets the book and if there isn't much more to the book than the love between Orry Main and Madeline. I am so pleased that the book rarely is about their love but much more about the Civil War, the facts and peoples adaption to it. The love thing between Orry and Madeline's running completely alongside without much bla.
Instead John Jakes wrote a novel that almost feels like written by a contemporary witness.
Orry and George's and later Charles' and Billy's education at West Point was quite impressive. Especially that they actually had to learn things that aren't required in todays education to become a soldier. Also the changes between North and Southeners in the years between the first generations education and than the second one. In a few years West Point changed from a sligth hostile place against Southeners to a place where nation's were already divided due to their way of living.
The book tells a lot about the differences, and the reasons about the secession. It also tells about fears and patriotism nevertheless.
A few funny things need to be mentioned. They were completely left out of the series or changed:
For example Elkanah Bent is described as a small, fat man with an affection not only to women but young girls and boys as well.
What was missing in the series is the reason why Bent hates Charles as much as he hates Orry. They got a history and honestly a much mnre shocking one than what happened between Orry, George and Bent at West Point.
Orry lost one arm while fighting against the Mexicans.
George's been a ladies' man. He ssed to pay quite a bit for his entertainment during his West Point years.
Cooper, introduced in the third part of the TV series is Orry's brother, who lived in Charleston. They were pretty near later in the book but also, Cooper is a huge part of the book as well. He was completely left out of the series until he suddenly appeared as the bad brother.
In the book he isn't bad at all. In fact he's quite critical with the Southener way of life and slavery. He's likeable.
I could write more but you've gotta red the book. It was an eyeopener to me.
the first of the series. civil war history the story of a family coping through it. great book
A marvelous book..should become one of the great novel of American history.
A marvelous book of historical fiction. An epic story of two families separated by vastly different ways of life, joined in the unbreakable bonds of true friendship, then torn asunder by a country at the threshold of the bloody Civil War that would change all their lives forever.