Sunday, May 25, 2008

Two Brothers: One North, One South

Title:Two Brothers: One North, One South
Author: David H. Jones
Publisher: Staghorn Press
Publisher Address: P.O Box 260162, Encino, Californa 91426-0162
ISBN: 978-0-9796868-5-7, Price $24.95 Publication Date: 2008
Reviewed by me, Bethany L. Canfield for Reader Views (05/08)
Yearly Count: 26

The question of war is always the same: is what is gained through it worth the loss that it causes? "Two Brothers, One North, One South" by David H Jones is not the typical history book that conveys only the gruesome dates and facts of the Civil War, but the war is brought to a more intimate level. Two brothers, who love each other, brought up in the same family, both in the same house, who grew up as friends yet a wedge is developed as the war cries out to each of them and their loyalties lie firmly on opposing sides. Deep from within each brother there is a call to be loyal, true and never wavering, but this loyalty will threaten their family, bring division and cause hurt. That is a high price to pay, but it does not seem to get a second thought by either of them, who are both bent on serving their country, and protecting their rights, while challenging and bringing change.

"Two Brothers" is an informs of the nature behind the war and the people who sustained it. Jones perfects the task of displaying the confusion, the chaos, the misunderstanding of what the war was going to be, and especially how long it would take and what it would cost (in lives especially). Citizens became soldiers overnight, and left their families. The emphasis is put that no one really knew what was going on, almost all of the men in uniform were not soldiers, but regular men, farmers, plantation owners, scholars. Many of them were young men, some were only fifteen years of age, and did not know the price, but knew they were being beckoned.Their adrenaline was rushing, they believed in the cause and therefore off the boys, men and soldiers headed to a war which was too hungry for human flesh. When over, it was more a feeling of chaos and loss, because so much of what was accomplished was hidden beneath the dirty, tired surface.

I enjoyed the humanness attached the the civil war, that Jones was able to put faces and feelings while not neglecting the dates and facts. I was captured by the families involved and the outcome and affect of the war on their lives as individuals, as families. However, to me the way it was written was too predictable, I know that we all know the outcome, but I am talking about a dullness in the writing, or more a lack of details and development. The art was left out of the prose and conversations. I am not sure if this was intentional, but I would have enjoyed a more artistic portrayal. As I said, it could have been intentionally full of very practical speech, and descriptions because of the time which the author is intending to portray. But I could tell the author was more of a historian than a writer, since his dates and battles were described with such care, yet he seemed to struggle through some of deepness and development of characters, causing me to not feel as deeply connected as I could have to each of them. I would recommend it, especially if you are a history buff, or if you enjoy historical novels from the civil war era. It was good, just not as touching as I think it could have been.

*Two Brothers: One North, One South website

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