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Disagree vehemently with previous review. This book was very creatively written (the factual footnotes in the back of the book need to be reviewed for context after every chapter). Read a chapter, and then check the facts. Safire clearly states where he has interpreted, where he has identified documented facts, and where he has added fiction to help move the story forward.
Regardless, the book is an outstanding read, with enough human interest to keep it from becoming another boring Civil War account. You can learn an enormous amount from the novel, if nothing else than feeling as if you were there.
If you want specific facts about Libby versus Andersonville and who took officers versus enlisted - check an encyclopedia.
"Freedom" is an outstanding read.
Posted October 21, 2003
This might be the worst Civil War novel ever written. Safire includes a long section of notes at the end of the hardcover version of this book to make it look like he did extensive research, but anybody who knows anything about the war could easily spot flaws on just about every page. He confuses generals with the similar names. For example, he refers to C.F. Smith as Baldy Smith, but Baldy Smith's real name was William and he was a totally different person. The funniest mistake is when he says that a Confederate soldier captured after Shiloh would be sent to Libby prison, which was as bad in the north as Andersonville in the south. There are a few problems with this statement. First, Libby was a prison in Richmond, Virginia and it held captured Union officers, so I don't know why they would send a Confederate private there. Second, even though Andersonville was a horrible place, it's not likely that this prisoner would compare any other prisons to it at this point in the war, since Andersonville didn't even exist at the time. If you want to read a good Civil War novel, try one of these: 1. The Killer Angels 2. Ride With the Devil 3. Shiloh 4. The Red Badge of Courage 5. Walk Like a Man 6. A Soldier's Book 7. The Black Flower 8. Enemy WomenWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.