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The Widow of the South

B

Winston Churchill might have had to rethink his conviction that history is written by the victors if he had ever tried to climb the cold mountain of Civil War fiction told from the perspective of the Confederacy. (They did lose, right?) But if the soil of a blood-soaked battlefield must be tilled yet again, at least Robert Hicks brings some skill to his account of the aftermath of the 1864 Battle of Franklin, Tenn., in which nearly 9,000 lives were lost. The Widow Of The South is told with multiple narrators — most notably the title character, a real woman who saw her home turned into a field hospital and willed herself into burying countless young men. Hicks occasionally succumbs to melodrama and his copious research can resonate too loudly, but for the most part, this is a sensitive account of an era that seems to fascinate readers ceaselessly.

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