The General and Monaville, Texas
By Joe G. Bax
Aug. 1, 2009
Emerald Book Company
Touching on a piece of history that I think is too often overlooked, author Joe G. Bax successfully paints a vivid picture of a small Texas town during the tumultuous period that followed the Civil War.
With a wide cast of characters, ranging from the prosperous land owner to the poor share cropper, from former slaves to Kluxers, The General explores the turbulent and violent era commonly known as Reconstruction.
General Leander Wilhite, for whom the book is named, is a quiet, reclusive character, while John Ross, his grandson, takes the lead in the story. A former Confederate commander, General Wilhite returns to his plantation Catulpa to put the war behind him and try to come to terms with the momentous change that has been wrought on society. Through John Ross, the reader gets a glimpse of the emotions, the discord, the violence, and the fear that gripped the nation, and especially the South, after the war.
My only criticism would be that, for those like me, who enjoy long, meaty novels with well-developed characters, this one falls short at only 168 pages. For those who enjoy quick reads, this is good historical fiction, a well-crafted story of race relations, revenge and retaliation by an author with a unique voice and authentic writing style.
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