When Cotton Was King

A Novel About Slavery and Civil War

Fiction - Historical - Personage
510 Pages
Reviewed on 01/28/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Sefina Hawke for Readers' Favorite

When Cotton Was King (A Novel about Slavery and Civil War) by Alvin S. Yusin is a historical novel that would appeal most to a mixed audience made up of young adults and adults who enjoy historical fiction focused on the time of the American Civil War. Andrew Blackstone grew up the child of a drunken, abusive father and an illegitimate mother in Williamsburg, Virginia. His life of hardship leads to him developing a desire to make something of his life in terms of both social and financial status. This desire leads him to wealth acquired by illegal slave trading and social status by marrying into the Wellworth family. How will the family manage to stay afloat amongst the sweeping changes that are heralded by the Fugitive Slave Act, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Underground Railroad, and the oncoming Civil War?

When Cotton Was King (A Novel about Slavery and Civil War) by Alvin S. Yusin is a very well-written book that managed to grab my attention and hold it tightly enough to keep me turning page after page. This is the first Civil War-era book that I have read that did not take the perspective of a slave. At first, I was a bit apprehensive about whether I could get into the story as I worried about not being able to like the main character. However, the author did a simply magnificent job of portraying him from childhood through adulthood in a manner that had me sympathizing with him and wanting to follow him to see where he would end up. Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed reading this book and I hope the author continues to write more books in this genre!