Series: North and South #1
Published by Open Road on 1982
Genres: historical fiction
Buy on Amazon
The first volume of John Jakes’s acclaimed and sweeping saga about a friendship threatened by the divisions of the Civil War
In the years leading up to the Civil War, one enduring friendship embodies the tensions of a nation. Orry Main from South Carolina and George Hazard from Pennsylvania forge a lasting bond while training at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Together they fight in the Mexican-American War, but their closeness is tested as their regional politics diverge. As the first rounds are fired at Fort Sumter, Orry and George find themselves on different sides of the coming struggle. In John Jakes’s unmatched style, North and South launches a trilogy that captures the fierce passions of a country at the precipice of disaster.
Review It’s always hard reviewing a long, chunkster book, because so much happens. I try to just share my general thoughts about it as compared to a more formal review.
1. The book is well written, and the style is engaging, though the plot does get a little slow at times (especially when reading characters you don’t really like, which often happens with a large multi-volume series like this one. You can’t possibly be interested in following every single character’s whole life in great detail). Especially towards the end, I did tend myself skimming through long passages with characters whining about the same thing for the tenth time in so many minutes.
2. The characters are very, very two dimensional, but I think Jakes does it on purpose. The “good” characters are very very good, and the “bad” characters are very, very bad. No one in real life is that one sided, but I think Jakes does it to make a point. It does get frustrating after a while.
3. I’m not big into romance & there’s a tiny smidge of it here, as characters meet and fall in love. There are some sex scenes but most are rather brief.