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Jordan County: A Novel by [Foote, Shelby]
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Jordan County: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Mr. Foote's writing is marvelously exact and positive. His attitude toward his people is respectful , and human, as though he had thought about them a great deft and knew too much about them to take them for granted."--The New Yorker


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Before Shelby Foote under took his epic history of the Civil War, he wrote this fictional chronicle -- "a landscape in narrative" -- of Jordan County, Mississippi, a place where the traumas of slavery, war, and Reconstruction are as tangible as rock formations. The seven stories in Jordan County move backward in time, from 1950 to 1797, and through the lives of characters as diverse as a black horn player doomed by tuberculosis and convulsive jealousy, a tormented and ineffectual fin-de-siecle aristocrat, and a half-wild frontiersman who builds a plantation in Choctaw territory only to watch it burn at the close of the Civil War. In prose of almost Biblical gravity; and with a deep knowledge of the ways in which history shapes human lives -- and sometimes warps them beyond repair -- Foote gives us an ambitious, troubling work of fiction that builds on the traditions of William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor but that is resolutely unique.

Product Details

  • File Size: 705 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 9, 2011)
  • Publication Date: February 9, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004G60CIO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #720,748 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I bought this book of Mr. Foote's after finishing "The Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy" (another great read, by the way). I had read Foote's accounting of this work in progress in his letters to Percy and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Having already read "Shiloh" and a good portion of his three-volume Civil War narrative, I was already prejudiced in Foote's favor and expected the best. I was not disappointed in the least. His series of unrelated short stories of life in the fictious Mississippi community is Southern literature at it's finest. It is unyielding and unappologetic in it's honesty. The book is obviously written by a Southerner who loves his home, warts and all, and has drawn a magnificant picture of it. Having grown up in small town Arkansas, born not long after the begining of the book, I can say with authority that Foote's descriptions of life there are laser-sharp, penetrating, honest, and endearing.
Read it.
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Format: Paperback
Synopsis:
Seven snapshots of the history of a fictional Mississippi county in the form of short stories form this book. They very greatly in length and travel backwards in time. These are not epic tales that attempt to tell the entire history of the eras they represent, like a Michener novel. Rather, they are intensely personal stories - more about the feelings of the characters than the history they are living.
My review:
As I already mentioned, the length of these short stories vary greatly (from 4 pages to 150 pages). Unfortunately, so does their quality. The first is the most surprising and the second is the best (it concerns a black horn player - how he starts and ends his life in the Jordan County and his success in New York City during the Harlem Renaissance).
In my opinion, the worst story is the longest. It concerns a very emotionally-stifled plantation-owning family in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The most interesting is the last (and chronologically, the first). It should have been fleshed out a bit more. It had too much of a shadowy feel. It was the only one of the stories that was told from a very detached point of view and I wish it had had more to it.
If you are new to Shelby Foote, I would recommend "Follow Me Down" instead.
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Format: Paperback
Jordan County is one of Shelby Foote's early works written before he undertook his classic history of the Civil War. He wrote this imaginary narrative of Jordan County, Mississippi. It is a place where the sufferings of slavery, war, and Reconstruction are very real. The book is a collection of seven stories taking place in Jordan County. They move backward in time, from 1950 to 1797. Some of the stories are very short - only four pages. Some are longer - 150 pages. They all help us experience the county and traditions through the lives of characters as diverse as a black cornet player doomed by tuberculosis and his racial background. We encounter the Wingate-Sturgis family. They are the beleaguered and inadequate end of the century and end of an era leaders of the local aristocracy. We experience a half-wild frontiersman who builds a plantation in Choctaw territory only to watch it burn at the close of the Civil War. Foote's characters are magnificent. The book is more character-based than story based. They are intensely personal stories focusing on the feelings of the characters than the history they are living. The stories are an up and down experience to read. At times the story fails to carry the character contained within them. Shelby Foote gives us a determined though disconcerting work of fiction. His writing shows the influence and traditions of a William Faulkner. Foote's work is doggedly inimitable. Not recommended as a first read for someone new to Foote. Shiloh and Follow Me Down are better books to read if you are new to Foote.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clear powerful prose set by a mind teeming with rich details of Southern American history. Misguided to compare Foote to Faulkner (I think that happens because they're both Mississippians) because he has successfully created his own vivid style and voice.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the finest works of southern literature that I have ever read. I recommend it very highly. Every page is filled with great writing, passion and beauty.

Gerry Stern
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