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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr

An excellent beginning to a promising career.

Howard Bahr
First off - The Black Flower 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 (November 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.

Confederate Soldiers
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.

I rate this book 5 stars out of 5.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here: The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War

Reviewed on June 8, 2006.

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