Howard Bahr compresses this moving Civil War novel into 48 hours--two short days filled with grim deaths and the prelude, at least, to a love story. First issued by a small Baltimore press in 1997,The Black Flower
was nominated for four major awards, including one from the Academy of Arts and Letters, but failed to garner the attention paid to Cold Mountain
. Civil War buffs will rejoice in Bahr's vivid retelling of the November 1864 Battle of Franklin, Tennessee. More to the point, The Black Flower
transcends its historical fiction niche and deserves a wider audience. Confederate rifleman Bushrod Carter, the novel's protagonist, is wounded during the battle and taken to a nearby house. In this makeshift hospital, he and two childhood friends huddle together, "shivering with cold and exhaustion, ignoring the ghostly shapes still shuffling through the coiling smoke around them, calling the names of men who would never answer." Bahr has poured 20 years of research into his novel, but this haunting portrayal of suffering and death is the product not merely of historical diligence but also an impressive literary imagination. --Eugenia Trinkle
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The senseless agony of armed conflict is expertly evoked in this elegiac Civil War novel. As Bushrod Carter, a seasoned Confederate rifleman, grimly anticipates his next battle, he experiences both the mind-numbing terror and the detached resignation characteristic of most common foot soldiers. Shortly after the infamous Battle of Franklin commences, Gen. John Bell Hood's Army of Tennessee is quickly overwhelmed by the firepower of the superior Union forces. Before succumbing to his own wounds, Carter bears witness to the grim aftermath of combat as he roams through the carnage haunted by the visages of his departed comrades and horrified by the gruesome reality of the slaughter. The mournful tone of the narrative serves to underscore the powerful drama of this harrowing tale. Margaret Flanagan