A Separate Country by Robert Hicks

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This was an interesting book in its own way, but it didn’t really do what it said on the tin! It was supposed to be about the life of the controversial Confederate General John Bell Hood after the end of the war. It was … but it was interwoven with a lot of fiction and fictitious characters, and really the book seemed to be more about the strangeness of New Orleans, with its unique culture and demographics, to an outsider. That was what the title said, really, but it wasn’t what any of the summaries said!

It’s an interesting thought generally – what happens to generals on the losing side, when wars end? Robert E Lee seems to be regarded as a hero, and that in itself is interesting. Nathan Bedford Forrest is associated with (apart from Forrest Gump) the Ku Klux Klan, although to be fair he did distance himself from it in later years. Joseph Johnston became a congressman, after Reconstruction. Beauregard did rather well out of the dodgy Louisiana lottery. And John Bell Hood had a lot of children, lost a lot of money, and died young. However, this book just wasn’t so much about him as about New Orleans. Nothing wrong with that: it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

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