For their third collaboration, two-time Academy Award-winner Hackman and Lenihan (Justice for None) competently mine Civil War lore to dramatize a prison escape. Southwest Georgia's Andersonville, aka Fort Sumter, was as bad a Confederate POW stockade as the gut-wrenching descriptions here ("an Old Testament nightmare") attest. Union Capt. Nathan Parker, commanding the Michigan 5th (aka Parker's Rangers, famed as a mounted infantry unit), is captured along with 23 of his men outside Washington, D.C., during Jubal Early's July 1864 Confederate raid. Two months later, Nathan breaks out, vowing to return and save his soldiers. Between the violent clashes undertaken with his hired guns, Nathan copes by reciting Thoreau and fondly recalling his lover, Darien Crosby. He presses his noble if not reckless mission despite his raiders' slippery loyalties, and the result is a rousing take on familiar territory. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Escape from Andersonville: A Novel of the Civil Warby Gene Hackman
July 1864. Union officer Nathan Parker has been imprisoned at nightmarish Andersonville prison camp in Georgia along with his soldiers. As others die around them, Nathan and his men hatch a daring plan to allow him to escape through a tunnel and make his way to Vicksburg, where he intends to alert his superiors to the imprisonment and push for military action. His
July 1864. Union officer Nathan Parker has been imprisoned at nightmarish Andersonville prison camp in Georgia along with his soldiers. As others die around them, Nathan and his men hatch a daring plan to allow him to escape through a tunnel and make his way to Vicksburg, where he intends to alert his superiors to the imprisonment and push for military action. His efforts are blocked by higher-ups in the military, so Parker takes matters into his own hands. Together with a shady, dangerous ex-soldier and smuggler named Marcel Lafarge and a fascinating collection of cutthroats, soldiers, and castoffs, a desperate Parker organizes a private rescue mission to free his men before it’s too late.
Exciting, thoroughly researched, and dramatic, Escape from Andersonville is a Civil War novel filled with action, memorable characters, and vividly realized descriptions of the war’s final year.
Nathan Parker is a Union officer who escapes from the notorious Confederate prison at Andersonville with the obsessive goal of returning to rescue his comrades. Sadly, the book's noble premise and great start do not pan out in this third novel (after Justice for None and Wake of the Perdido Star) by Academy Award-winning actor Hackman and underwater archaeologist coauthor Lenihan. When Parker first reaches Union lines, he is unable to convince his higher-ups, including Ulysses S. Grant, of the need to rescue the prisoners. So he leads his own rescue mission, assisted by former Confederate Marcel LaFarge and a band of cutthroats whose motives are never clearly defined. Escape is not so much about the miseries at Andersonville as it is about Parker's escape, his trek through the dying Confederacy, and his quest to free his fellow soldiers. Although it does have its moments, the book is choppily written, confusing, sometimes contradictory, and includes a highly unlikely encounter with a lost love and irrelevant sex with a demented widow. MacKinlay Kantor's Pulitzer Prize-winning Andersonville remains the gold standard on the topic. For larger collections.
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Meet the Author
Two-time Academy Award-winning actor Gene Hackman is the coauthor of two previous novels, Justice for None and Wake of the Perdido Star, with Daniel Lenihan, a leading underwater archaeologist who writes frequently for Natural History magazine and is the author of Submerged. Hackman and Lenihan have been friends and neighbors for over a decade and live with their families in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Daniel Lenihan is a leading underwater archaeologist. He writes frequently for Natural History magazine, and is the author of Submerged: Adventures of America's Most Elite Underwater Archaeology Team (Feb. 2002).
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