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Jacob's Ladder: a Story of Virginia During the War

by McCaig, Donald

  • ISBN: 9780393046298
  • ISBN10: 039304629X

Jacob's Ladder: a Story of Virginia During the War

by McCaig, Donald

  • List Price: $25.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish date: 04/01/1998
  • ISBN: 9780393046298
  • ISBN10: 039304629X
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Description: A novel that resonates with the bitter glory and deep human shame of the Confederacy. Against the epic canvas of the Civil War, the people, black and white, of one Virginia plantation fulfill their unforgettable destinies.

Duncan Gatewood, seventeen and heir to Gatewood Plantation, falls in love with Maggie, a mulatto slave, who conceives a son, Jacob. Maggie and Jacob are sold south, and Duncan is packed off by his irate father to the Virginia Military Institute. As a cadet, Duncan guards the gallows of John Brown; as a man he will fight for Robert E. Lee. Another Gatewood slave, Jesse -- whose love for Maggie is unrequited -- escapes to find her and is sheltered by a young white couple who are sentenced to prison for this crime. Jesse finds his freedom and enlists in Mr. Lincoln's army; in time he will confront his former masters.

From the interlocked lives of masters and slaves, and from a wealth of carefully researched yet unobtrusive historical detail, Donald McCaig conjures a passionate and richly textured story in the heart of America's greatest war. The loves, letters, and struggles of the characters connect a Vicksburg brothel to a Richmond salon, the riches of a sleek blockade runner with scenes of dire poverty, and the nightmare of a confederate hospital to the lurid hell of the battlefields at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville.

The Civil War is the wellspring of much of our most notable literature, and from this rich, poignant material McCaig has fashioned an unusual and powerful tale, a Confederate masterpiece.

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