Not Between Brothers: an epic novel of Texas by David Marion Wilkinson

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This was an excellent novel apart from one absolutely appalling historical blunder! It said that South Carolina seceded in December 1861, instead of December 1860. It wasn’t just a typo, because the year 1861 had already been covered by this point … so the author had the civil war starting a year later than it actually did. I can’t understand how someone who had obviously done so much research could get something so basic and so fundamental wrong.

Other than that, it really was very good. It covered Texan history from the 1820s to the 1860s, giving pretty much equal and unbiased attention to Anglo, Tejano and Comanche culture and featuring some of the best known figures in Texan history alongside the fictional characters. In the end, I didn’t sympathise that much with any of the men: the ones who suffered most were the women, especially the Anglo and Tejano women who were captured and horrifically abused by Comanche men. However, it did portray all three cultures very well – especially a subject often neglected in novels, the devastation wreaked on Native Americans by “white” diseases to which they had no immunity.

Strangely, at the end, the main “Anglo” (actually of half-French, half-Scottish descent) character didn’t stay in Texas. He opposed secession and headed for California. Odd choice of ending.

Interesting book. I just don’t understand how anyone, especially someone who did so much research, could get the civil war a year “out”.

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