A Separate Country

Non-Fiction - Audiobook
Audio Book
Reviewed on 11/03/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

This review is on the unabridged audio book of A Separate Country by Robert Hicks.

John Bell Hood is one of the most controversial figures from the Civil War. There are many myths about the man. He has been accused of lack of intelligence, of coldly sending men to their death in battle, and of being a poor commander. A Separate Country shows a different side of General Hood and dispels a few of the myths.

The year is 1879; the setting is New Orleans after the Civil War.

John Bell Hood is a crippled man. He lost the use of one arm and hi leg was amputated all results of the war.

Hood calls Eli Griffin to his side. He gives him a final command. Then yellow fever claims his life just as it already had his beloved wife Anna Marie and his oldest daughter’s. Hood wants to be defined by his memoir not by Evil War book he wrote that was soon to be published.

The story is told through the journals of Hood and his wife.

Anna Marie was much younger than John, yet she set her sights on him. She could have had any man she chose but she wanted John. They raised their 11 children in poverty. She was the only one that could control his temper.

My husband and I listened to this audio book together. I believe it was 17 hours long. He was mesmerized. He loved it. He is also a great fan of anything US history. I enjoyed it but found my mind drifting on more than one occasion. My favorite part of the book was Anna Marie. I enjoyed her journal. I could relate to her. The reader was fantastic. The voices reflected just the right accents. I found it a bit disconcerting that the story began at what should have been the end. I would have much rather the story had told the account of Hood from the time he was married to his death rather than beginning with his death. I felt as though we were always working backward.

The love between Anna Marie and John was incredible. Their life was certainly not what Anna Marie could have lived. Her social status could have offered her wealth and higher social standing. Yet she chose a much older and crippled man with a horrible temper and a bad reputation. I wonder if there was more romanticizing by the author on this point than fact. Regardless of that, The author has created a fascinating book.