The Confederate General Rides North: A Novel

( 2 )


In this richly imagined, utterly original debut a mother- daughter road trip leads a young girl—a precocious Civil War buff—to a hard-won understanding of the American history she loves and the personal history she inherits.

Eleven-year-old Katherine McConnell is so immersed in Civil War history that she often imagines herself a general, leading troops to battle. When Kat’s beautiful, impulsive mother wakes her early one morning in the summer of 1968 to tell her they will be ...

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The Confederate General Rides North

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In this richly imagined, utterly original debut a mother- daughter road trip leads a young girl—a precocious Civil War buff—to a hard-won understanding of the American history she loves and the personal history she inherits.

Eleven-year-old Katherine McConnell is so immersed in Civil War history that she often imagines herself a general, leading troops to battle. When Kat’s beautiful, impulsive mother wakes her early one morning in the summer of 1968 to tell her they will be taking a road trip from Georgia to Maine to find antiques for a shop she wants to open, Kat sees the opportunity for adventure and a respite from her parents’ troubled marriage. Armed with a road atlas and her most treasured history books, Kat cleverly charts a course that will take them to battlefields and historic sites and, for her mother’s sake she hopes, bring them home a success. But as the trip progresses, Kat’s experiences test her faith in her mother and her loyalty to the South, bringing her to a dif- ficult new awareness of her family and the history she reveres. And when their journey comes to an abrupt and devastating halt in Gettysburg, Kat must make an irrevocable choice about their ultimate destination.

Deftly narrated with the beguiling honesty of a child’s per- spective and set against the rich backdrop of the South during the 1960s, The Confederate General Rides North gracefully blends a complex mother-daughter relationship, the legacy of the Civil War, and the ache of growing up too soon.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Meet eleven-year-old Katherine McConnell, a whip-smart and enchanting heroine whose imaginary life as a Civil War general helps her navigate her family's own troubled history and the unpredictable battlefield of adolescence. Gable's rendering of Kat is note-perfect, and she spins her journey with a deft mix of humor and pathos. The Confederate General Rides North is vibrant, bighearted, and wholly original. I love this book and can't recommend it loudly enough." — Joshilyn Jackson , bestselling author of Gods in Alabama and The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

"The Confederate General Rides North is the compelling story of Kat McConnell, an endearing young heroine who survives life on the road with her mother by retreating into her vast knowledge of Civil War history. She reenacts battles and imagines war-torn landscapes in a way that reflects her own life while also offering escape. Amanda Gable is a first-rate storyteller and her portrayal of Kat's psychological survival on this often harrowing journey is moving and memorable." — Jill McCorkle , author of Carolina Moon and Creatures of Habit

" I have just traveled the Civil War battlefields of Gettysburg and Manassas with eleven-year-old Katherine McConnell, the precocious and tenderhearted heroine of The Confederate General Rides North. What a trip it was! With beautiful writing and a plot that stampedes to its conclusion, author Amanda Gable poignantly navigates the bumpy roads of troubled families and the young girls who must endure them. Like the heroes who obsess her, Kat McConnell will take her place in your heart and memory." — Betsy Carter, author of Swim to Me and The Puzzle King

"This whimsical — and impressive — debut novel, with its fresh, original take on a difficult mother-daughter relationship, rings true in every word. Indeed, readers everywhere will love being drawn into Gable's — and into Katherine's — oh-so-original world." — Rosemary Daniell, author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women's Lives

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416598404
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 2/23/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Amanda C. Gable’s short stories have appeared in The North American Review, The Crescent Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Kalliope, Sinister Wisdom, Other Voices, and other publications. She has been awarded residency fellowships by Yaddo, the Hambidge Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. A native of Marietta, she currently lives in Decatur, Georgia.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2010

    This is a beautifully written book. The build up to the ending is slow, steady and logical. The characters are a true representation of Atlanta in the 1960s. I hope to read other books by this author and will re-read this one again with pleasure.

    The South breeds strong women and young women. Our obsession with the Civil War is brought to the forefront and we as readers are forced to question our inability to separate glory from the tragedy that occured over 100 years ago. The journey of the Confederate General to enemy territory educates and informs us all of our need to remember the past with truth and to recognize that the glory was all for the wrong reasons. Gable captures the conflict in us all and brings her characters hope for acceptance of a long overdue process.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Setting foot into Yankee territory

    I had never heard of this book before attending the Southern Festival of Books in nearby Nashville last October. I love my yearly trek to Tennessee's capital to discover new authors each year, and Amanda Gable is quite a discovery, indeed. I found it very easy to relate with protagonist Katherine McConnell since I also grew up in the South as a fairly dorky, history buff kinda kid who had some conflicting emotions about the South's checkered past in the areas of slavery and civil rights. This book tackles these subjects and more with aplomb.

    As Katherine and her mother travel further North and Katherine begins to sense that something is not quite right, Katherine uses her love of Civil War history to cope with her personal difficulties and misgivings. The author conveys this in italicized sections where Katherine pretends to be a general fighting her own war, which is what Katherine is essentially doing. Katherine is fighting a personal war over her ideas about what it means to be a Southerner, but she is also fighting a familial war with her mother who has been overtaken with her mental illness. Also going on in the novel, which is set in 1968, are the political and cultural events surrounding civil rights that seemed to reach a fever pitch that year.

    One aspect of the novel I particularly loved were Katherine's love of books, especially the biographies of famous people in American history. There is one particular set that I read as a child; my favorite was the biography of Florence Nightingale.

    For fans of Southern fiction, as well as those interested in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the effects of mental illness on families.

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