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125 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than "Cold Mountain"
I don't know how this one slipped through the cracks. I am a student of the War and fairly widely read, yet I have never encountered a work of Civil War fiction that moved me the way "The Black Flower" has. Truly a masterpiece. The language is exquisite, the characters well drawn and believable. Unlike in "Cold Mountain," I have been unable to find...
Published on April 25, 2000 by K. Sterling

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Civil War Story
I love anything about the Civil War..and this was a good story, but didn't quite grab me like others have. Can't quite put my finger on it, but I sometimes found myself getting a little antsy...and wanting to get on with it. I wanted to love this like so many other reviewers did, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless.
Published on March 12, 2011 by bookloverintexas


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125 of 128 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than "Cold Mountain", April 25, 2000
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This review is from: The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War (Paperback)
I don't know how this one slipped through the cracks. I am a student of the War and fairly widely read, yet I have never encountered a work of Civil War fiction that moved me the way "The Black Flower" has. Truly a masterpiece. The language is exquisite, the characters well drawn and believable. Unlike in "Cold Mountain," I have been unable to find any historical inaccuracies. Bushrod, Jack, Virgil C., and Anna became as real to me as my best friend. They made me laugh, cry, and love them all, and I was immensely sorry when this well-crafted book ended. Surely someone should turn this story into a feature film. After reading this, I will read anything by Mr. Bahr, no questions asked.
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100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Worth the Effort!, November 22, 2001
Many people who read this book when it was first released by a small publishing company were certified Civil War buffs. It seems that word then began leaking out by word of mouth through their spouses and "regular" (i.e. NOT CW fanatics) friends that this was quite a good book for even "the masses". Four major literary award nominations in quick succession didn't hurt either!
You can count me in as one of those "regular" folks. I've read and adored "The Red Badge of Courage" and "The Killer Angels" but, have not found myself obsessed with the Civil War era genre of historical fiction. I appreciate well written material that will hold my attention and am not a slave to literary trends or best-seller lists. A good friend's constant raving about how great this book was is what caused me to put it on my reading list. Needless to say by my five-star rating, "The Black Flower" did not disappoint!
First and foremost, this 267 page book is just plain FUN to read. It is not over-detailed or dumbed down but, manages to walk the fine line keeping you steadily turning the pages. There are no maps or need to draw a flowchart to remember all the characters, nor do you need a Masters in American History to understand what is going on. The writing style is such that you feel you are WATCHING the events rather than reading a book and you almost become emotionally involved with the events and characters. I drove through the battlesite in Tennessee once on vacation before reading this book and would now very much like to return.
Definitely click on the "Back cover" link Amazon provided above for an excellent plot summary. The average reader will likely find this book to be "5 star". Real literate types will hand out four while the most brutal critics will still give three stars. Basically, you can't go wrong with this book especially now that it is available in paperback! GO FOR IT!!!
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry!, May 21, 1998
By 
Taffy S. Todd (Greensboro, Vermont United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War (Paperback)
This book is sheer poetry masquerading as a Civil War novel. No matter how gruesome the subject matter of the moment, Howard Bahr manages to take it beyond your mind and into your heart -- you understand what he's writing with your soul. His description of the army as a living breathing entity unto itself as it goes into battle, is masterful and helps those of us who have never experienced battle to have an inkling of what makes normal men able to fight and kill. The interactions involving Bushrod and the other characters who have such a strong effect on his life are beautiful and touching. The Black Flower truly brings the horrors of war and death to life, you can virtually feel the characters' pain and smell the smells that surround them. But the beauty of the writer's language pulls the reader on and on no matter what the horrors may be. You care so much about these characters that you must go on. This book will be right up there on the top of my all time list of recommended favorites. If I could give it higher rating than a ten I would.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective Depiction of the Personal Nightmare of War, September 20, 1997
By A Customer
Fans of Civil War literature who are weary of reading the many books out there about major military leaders and their campaigns, battles, weapons, tactics and strategies will discover something of great value in "Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War." The author, Howard Bahr, applies his narrative skills to a haunting and memorable depiction of the slaughter and carnage of war and its harrowing effects on the common soldier. We briefly discover Bushrod Carter, a 26-year old Confederate soldier from Mississippi and his "pards" preparing for the 1864 Battle of Franklin, Tennessee and then find them again after the battle is over, changed forever. Descriptions of the horrors of war, the wounded and their medical treatment, the nightmare scenes in the plantation house commandeered as a hospital, the tragedies of the lives affected, all serve to make "Black Flower" a most powerful and emotional novel
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful Story of War Off the Battlefield, September 28, 2004
By 
I just finished THE BLACK FLOWER and can strongly recommend it, beautifully written with surprises of imagination on every page. Bahr's powerfully realized prose reminded me of the great Kenneth Roberts, in his strong dialogue and the way he can bore down so many levels into the minds of the impossibly brave men who inhabit his battlefield. The book's structure is really striking, three great set-pieces -- the first long section brings us onto the field of battle before the battle begins, a brutal stand-off in a clearing in the woods closes the book, and in the middle section a scary, scary glimpse of hell unfolds, in a southern manor house turned hospital the night after the battle. Bahr is at the top of his powers in this harrowing section. Scarlett O'Hara had a crane to carry the camera far away from her trip through the body-strewn Atlanta train yard, but there is none here and you feel you can't escape from the dark house, teeming with dying men and real danger everywhere. Bahr blends this artful imagery with real specificity when taking us into the minds of his hero and heroine. Belongs on the shelf with Crane and Remarque.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent beginning to a promising career., June 8, 2006
First off - this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It follows a group of Confederate soldiers during and after the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee (Nov. of 1864), especially an educated Private named Bushrod Carter. I will not go into great detail, for fear of ruining the plot for others.

For a first book, this is a remarkable work. The characters are well-written and "feel" like real people. They have weight and depth, a feature that many readers and writers on this forum have decried as missing in most of modern literature. They speak in dialect that is easy to read and does not take much decoding (as opposed to some of Twain's). I am a Civil War buff, and I can testify that the historical aspects of the story ring true.

This book reminded me very much of "The Red Badge of Courage," but not in its theme or its plot. It reminded me of Crane's battle scenes - the confusion and the noise and the smoke and the pain and death are so well-described in both books. The "Black Flower" the title refers to is a metaphor for battle - a battle is a black flower that opens up and brings death, a wondrous and fearsome thing.

I can do this book no further praise than just quit writing about it. My grade: "A"
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Enthralling Tale Beautifully Told., August 6, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War (Paperback)
I am one of those voracious readers who devours a book a day, and quite often in a single all-night session....but not this time. I knew there were only 267 wonderful pages and I allowed myself a single chapter a day...savoring every word and making it last as long as possible. The tale is beautifully crafted, and the details so exquisitely rendered, I was spellbound by the journey of a wasp and could literally hear the cadences of Southern speech and the horrible clamor of battling men.
Mr. Bahr has shaped something powerful and full of beauty from the raw ugliness that is war. His obvious love for his characters made ME love them ,as well.
I look forward to Mr. Bahr's next novel, for surely a writer so gifted will have other marvelous stories to share.
Was there anything I DID NOT enjoy about this book? Only one thing...I did not want it to end!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, May 11, 2004
By 
Rick Mitchell "Rick Mitchell" (candia, new hampshire United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This Civil War novel is Red Badge of Courage meets Cold Mountain.
It is a terrific account of the Battle of Franklin told through several extremely interesting and captivating characters. There are no real battle scenes. Mr. Bahr begins with the minutes before the battle commences and then jumps to the aftermath.
The characters are unforgettable from the good to the bad.
Mr. Bahr's writing is as memorable as the characters. It is near poetry in places, yet he also supplies terrific dialogue. After reading - then rereading - a particularly good description, I would then become rapt in the dialogue.
This book captures the horrors of war. One warning, if you have a tendency to eat while reading, you might want to diet through some of the scenes. The author's descriptive powers are immense whether he portraying a piece of scenery or the battlefield hospital.
Bahr shows well the realistically ugly side of war while stringing a thread of romance between a soldier and a woman and the bonds of friendship between life-long soldiers/friends through the book.
This is a book to read with time on your hands so the writing can be savored. You need not be a Civil War buff to appreciate this novel.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written story, November 12, 2002
By A Customer
Thoughtful and rich portrayal of a Confederate soldier in a late Civil War battle. Quite impressive examination into the many lives affected by civil war. An easy read, and although tragic, satisfying nonetheless. Belongs on everyone's must-read list!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Black Flower: A novel of the Civil Way, May 7, 2007
By 
Y. Monhollen (Orlando Florida) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've read many civil war stories, includeing Andersonville by Mcliney Cantor and all the Sahara books, and this is one of the very best! I feel it truly captured how the Sotherners really felt about the war and how teribly brutal war is. The story moved quickly and is easy to follow, also made me feel like I was there witnessing as the story unfolded.Some very tender moments. Thank Mr. Bahr for a wonderful read.
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The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War
The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr (Paperback - April 1998)
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