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A Separate Country Hardcover – September 23, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (September 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044658164X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446581646
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #562,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hicks follows his bestselling The Widow of the South with the grand, ripped-from-the-dusty-archives epic of Confederate general John Bell Hood. The story begins with Hood, on his deathbed with yellow fever, dispersing a stack of papers to former war nemesis Eli Griffin, urging him to publish the general's secret memoir. Hood's story picks up in 1878 as he, nearly broke, reflects on the past 10 years' dwindling fortunes. Now, with an artificial leg, a bum arm and nearly no money, he and his wife, Anna Marie, live in diminished circumstances in New Orleans. Over time, their once passionate relationship grows mundane as Hood watched the years wrench devilry and lust and joy from her face. Things are also complicated by the violent death of Anna Marie's best friend and the reappearance of former comrade Sebastien Lemerle, who holds a nasty secret he holds about Hood's past. Meanwhile, Hood's marriage and business failures pale in comparison to the yellow fever epidemic that decimates the area. Hicks's stunning narrative volleys between Hood, Anna Marie and Eli, each offering variety and texture to a story saturated in Southern gallantry and rich American history. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

'Hicks's stunning narrative volleys between Hood, Anna Marie and Eli, each offering variety and texture to a story saturated in Southern gallantry and rich American history' - Publishers Weekly

More About the Author

I was born and raised in South FLorida. In 1974 I moved to Williamson County, TN (www.historicfranklin.com); in 1979 I moved to 'Labor in Vain,' a late-eighteenth-century log cabin, near Leiper's Fork, TN.

WOrking both as a music publisher and in artist management in both country and rock music, my interests remain broad and varied. A partner in BB King's Blues Clubs (www.bbkingbluesclub.com) in Nashville, Memphis and Los Angeles, I serve as 'Curator of Vibe' of the corporation.

A lifelong collector, I was teh first Tennesseean to be listed among Arts & Antiquities' Top 100 Collectors in America - my collection focuses on Outsider Art, Tennesseana, and Southern Material Culture. I served as co-curator (with Ben Caldwell and Mark Scala) on the exhibition, Ar of Tennessee, at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. The exhibition was a seven year endeavor from conception at my kitchen table to its opening, September 2003. I was co-editor of the exhibition's award-winning catalog, Art of Tennessee (UT Press, 2003).

In the field of historic preservation, I've served on the Boards of Historic Carnton Plantation (www.Carnton.org), the Tennessee State Museum, The Williamson County Historical Society, and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (www.oldsalem.org/about/mesda.htm). In December 1997, after a third term as president of the Carnton board, and in light of my years of service to Carnton, I was named by board resolution: "the driving force in the restoration and preservation of Historic Carnton Plantation."

For the past two years, I've headed up Franklin's Charge: A Vision and Campaign for the Preservation of Historic Open Space (www.franklinscharge.com) in the fight to secure and preserve both battlefield and other historic open space in Williamson County. Franlin's Charge has taken on the massive mission of saving what remains of the eastern flank of the battlefield at Franklin - the largest remaining undeveloped fragment of the battlefield - and turning it into a public battlefield park which will eventually run from the Lotz and Carter Houses (www.carter-house.org) to Ft. Granger and Carnton Plantation, with significant holdings around Breezy and Winstead Hills. (www.civilwarinteractive.com)

THE WIDOW OF THE SOUTH was born out of my many years of work at Carnton and my passion for the preservation of the remaining fragments of the battlefield. In writing the novel, my hope was to bring national attention back to this moment in our nation's history, the impact those five bloody hours played in making us a nation, and in the preservation of the sites tied to the story.

As a writer, my essays on regional history, southern material culture, and music have appeared in numerous publications over the years. I'm now hard at work on my next novel.

In my spare time, I like to garden - even though, in truth, I know I should be jogging.

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Customer Reviews

Definitely a good read for any fan of historical fiction.
Ladyslott
It felt a little slow at times but I am not sure if that is the writing or if it is just really hard to read about such sadness!
Reading It All
What I did not like... The novel was in the first person from the point of view of three very different characters.
Alice L. Moore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Nick TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I heard of General John Bell Hood's name in passing a great number of years ago when I studied the Civil War in school. To me, he was just another in a long line of names who participated in a war so ingrained in the American Experience and yet unknown to the public. But the Civil War has so many rich stories from it, and this is by far one of the best.

Robert Hicks' first book, The Widow of the South, was recommended to me on a whim and I got hooked by the narrative and story - The Battle of Franklin was a forgotten battle of the war, and the book brimmed with passion and a great story. So when I had heard of another book by Mr. Hicks, I was excited to see if lightening could strike twice.

What a tragic story this is! Perhaps tragic isn't the right word. Neither is bittersweet, but it's the best way to describe this. After the Civil War, the infamous General Hood settled down in New Orleans, and tried to move on with his life. A shell of a man from combat injuries and the horrors of war, he ends up married with 11 kids. But he failed at business, and was eventually left broke and lost his wife and oldest daughter to yellow fever and left his other children orphaned. But the tragedy doesn't end there. The past catches up with him along with an assorted cast of characters with dark secrets to try to take advantage of The General.

Mr. Hicks' strength is as a story teller. His descriptions of Reconstruction-era New Orleans is nothing short of masterful - the sights, the sounds - even the humid sticky air come through. Lesser writers would have skipped this, but the city of New Orleans becomes a character of the book itself.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Tamela Mccann TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having read The Widow of the South, I looked forward to Robert Hicks's next book, A Separate Country. I didn't know specifics about John Bell Hood, the Southern General about whom A Separate Country revolves, so I was hoping to be enlightened about this man's motives and actions. And while I was somewhat enlightened, I was also disappointed; I wanted more of the actual experiences of General Hood, and less about his post-war life, however it was shaped by what he did and saw throughout the Civil War.

Robert Hicks gives us the details of John Bell Hood's death and shows us how he spent much of his time in New Orleans after the war. Hood found and married a seemingly wonderful woman, yet the fact that the novel almost begins with the deaths of both Hoods and their eldest daughter was off-putting for me. I felt as though I was working through the story rather than having it unfold naturally. I also felt the story plodded along at times, particularly so when told by Hood's wife Anna Marie. Maybe what I wanted more was depth; these characters should have been jumping out at me and yet I felt more as though I was reading someone's old diary--and not in a good way.

Still, A Separate Country has its moments, and Hood was indeed a rather tragic figure in our nation's history. Hicks gives a very credible description of New Orleans after the war, and his depiction of the horrors of yellow fever were gruesome yet riveting. It's not that I disliked A Separate Country; I just felt as though there was something I was missing from the story. Recommended to those who love Civil War fiction.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Lorel Shea VINE VOICE on July 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm a former Civil War reenactor and I have read many biographies, diaries, and historical fiction books set in the Civil War era. This account of General Hood and his wife (for in alternating chapters, she tells her story as well) is luminous and poignant, yet the regret, guilt, and anti-war sentiments seem to be laid on a bit thick for Hood. Nevertheless, it it a fascinating read and as captivating as it is heartbreaking. Though this book will surely attract many male readers who are interested in the General's life, it is really a love story and may disappoint those seeking a post war analysis of Hood's life.

The description of New Orleans life is rich and vivid, as shown everywhere from the Creole upper class great houses to the shacks and shanties of the poorest swamp dwellers.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Bennett VINE VOICE on July 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Robert Hicks tells the story of General John Bell Hood, a Civil War general in this new novel. This novel is set in New Orleans, and uses three narrators to tell the story of Hood's life after the guns of war have quieted.

The novel is told through the voice of Hood's journals, the journals of his wife, and the perspective of a man who once tried to kill Hood, struggling to make sense of these two stories.

This is not a neat, tidy piece of historical biography. Instead, it grabs hold of details like smell, texture and tide. It takes you into the mess that life often can be - ruins made of mansions, fortunes gained and squandered, faith and penitence, sickness and maim.

It asks questions like what becomes of a man after failure on a grand scale, where lives are lost because of error? Where are the lines between fame and being a notorious, aggressive fool? What happens to that man's soul? It describes how that man finds passion, and marvels that his eleven children are born without the maiming that is inherent in his body and his soul.

This book is a wonderful work of fiction that I enjoyed heartily.
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