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Undaunted Heart: The True Story of a Southern Belle & a Yankee General Paperback – September 30, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
The book briefly touched on the greater issues of the time period--the hardships faced due to shortages and prejudice, the problems with unifying the nation after the War, and how various people dealt with the freed slaves. But these issues were only revealed where they impacted the lives of Ella and Smith and their families.
The level of vivid detail was excellent in some parts (especially after Ella and Smith moved North and she wrote vivid accounts of her life in her letters to her parents) and much less in others (like the few known details about how Ella and Smith met and courted, which mainly seemed to come from a neighbor's journal and a few surviving love poems).
There were black and white pictures of Ella's family, Ella, Smith, and the surviving children from Ella and Smith's marriage. There was no bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the post-Civil-War era as seen through the eyes of a well-to-do family in both the North (Ella and Smith) and the South (Ella's parents).
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Reviewed by Debbie from Different Time, Different Place
(differenttimedifferentplace. blogspot. com)
The Yankee general is Smith Dykins Atkins from Freeport, Illinois, and a volunteer for the Union cause. The southern belle is Eleanor "Ella" Hope Swain, daughter of David Lowry Swain, governor of North Carolina from 1832-1835 and president of University of North Carolina from 1835-1868.
BARILE writes, "Ella did the unthinkable: She married a Yankee general at the close of the Civil War." A North-South marriage was as offensive to the general public in 1865 as a black-white marriage was in the 1960s. The angle is unique to books concerning the Civil War, and BARILE does a fine job of recreating the attitudes of the times and capturing the spirit of Ella and the general. BARILE has an extraordinary perspective. While searching in her mother's attic, she found a box of Ella's letters. BARILE is the great, great granddaughter of Ella and the general. The book was even more meaningful to me because I grew up in Joliet, Illinois. I didn't know Freeport had such a distinguished native son.
Against this unlikely backdrop began a passionate and controversial love story still vivid in town lore. When President Swain's daughter Ella met the Union general, life for these two young people who had spent the war on opposite sides was forever altered.
This famous courtship and marriage, needless to say, caused quite a stir. Interwoven throughout Undaunted Heart are excerpts from Ella's never-before-published letters to her parents that reveal a loving marriage that transcended differences and scandal.
Proves that truth can be stranger than fiction, as this unlikely couple forms a bond that withstands the test of time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book --I am passing it on to a friend! My daughter is having her students at Saint Mary's read it.Published 22 months ago by Sally Thompson
Very interesting book. A story about love during the Civil War and how the tow side came together.Published 23 months ago by Red Wolf
I am a true lover of historical books, even those based loosely on history. The civil war era is my favorite. Read morePublished on June 26, 2014 by Kristal
This was a good book, was not quite what I expected but was a good read. I think I would have liked to see more pictures etc.Published on September 7, 2013 by Judith A. Gresham
I first heard Susan being interviewed on NPR and knew I had to read her book. I was not disappointed and recommend it to everyone. Read morePublished on May 24, 2011 by William Sarine
We read this for book club. had a good discussion, but not an easy readPublished on July 25, 2010 by D H
I enjoyed this book since I live in NC and close to Raleigh and Durham. Made for an interesting read. Fast shipping.Published on June 20, 2010 by J. Friend