×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Virginia during the Civil War (4 Cassettes)
     

Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Virginia during the Civil War (4 Cassettes)

by Donald McCaig, Ira Claffey (Read by)
 
From the interlocked lives of masters and slaves, and from a wealth of carefully researched, yet unobtrusive historical detail, Donald McCaig conjures a passionate and richly textured story set in the heart of America's greatest and most devastating war. Duncan Gatewood, 17 and heir to Gatewood Plantation, falls in love with Maggie, a mulatto slave, who conceives a

Overview

From the interlocked lives of masters and slaves, and from a wealth of carefully researched, yet unobtrusive historical detail, Donald McCaig conjures a passionate and richly textured story set in the heart of America's greatest and most devastating war. Duncan Gatewood, 17 and heir to Gatewood Plantation, falls in love with Maggie, a mulatto slave, who conceives a son, Jacob. Maggie and Jacob are sold south, and Duncan is packed off by his irate father to the Virginia Military Institute. Another Gatewood slave, Jesse -- whose love for Maggie is unrequited -- escapes to find her and is sheltered by a young white couple who are sentenced to prison for this crime. Jesse finds his freedom and enlists in the Union army; in time he will confront his former masters.

Editorial Reviews

Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
[The novel has] . . .a paradoxically simultaneous distance and immediacy, as if we were looking at the distant past through a powerful telescope. . . .he manages to convey both the sweetness of antebellum plantation life and the horror of its peculiar institution. —The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Imagine a collaboration between Shelby Foote and Margaret Mitchell and you get some idea of the historical irony and passion that inform this fine literary novel, which captures the full sweep of the Civil War in Virginia. In 1934, a WPA writer interviewing 90-year-old Marguerite Omohundru, former Richmond bank president, uncovers the dark secrets of a prominent Virginia family. In 1857, 14-year-old Duncan Gatewood is disowned and sent off to VMI when his father, Samuel, discovers he has fallen in love with and impregnated Midge, a 13-year-old light-skinned slave. To prevent scandal, the girl and infant son, Jacob, are sold south by slave dealer Silas Omohundru, who eventually reclaims Midge from a Vicksburg brothel and marries her. But Midge (or Maggie) already has a black husband. When he runs away to look for her, the daughter of a neighboring white planter and her husband are sent to prison for giving him shelter. War breaks out, and these many oddly linked characters are flung apart and cross paths with various actual figures of the day. From the blockade-running at Wilmington and Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, they make their separate ways through the carnage. McCaig's portrayal of this moment succeeds not only as a splendid piece of writing but also as a searching indictment of inhumanities that still haunt the American soul.
Library Journal - Library Journal
This story is set during the American Civil War and has nothing new to say about that conflict, or about the large crowd of literary stereotypes that fill its pages. The War Between the States is far from exhausted as a source for exciting scenarios and intriguing personalities. Why then are listeners confronted with clich s that were already overused when Gone with the Wind was published? Plantation owner Duncan Gatewood is a fair and thoughtful patriarch irretrievably compromised by the dilemma of slavery. His son is a headstrong young cadet who talks a lot about honor. There are also a blockade runner who is more bark than bite, a slave who tries to pass herself off as a white woman, and a weak intellectual who turns coward. Ira Claffey contributes a resonant but monotonous narration. Not recommended.--John Owen, Advanced Micro Devices Lib., Sunnyvale, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559275088
Publisher:
Macmillan Audio
Publication date:
04/28/1998
Edition description:
Abridged, 4 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.60(w) x 6.95(h) x 1.09(d)

What People are Saying About This

Mary Lee Settle
This novel blocks out the protection of historic distance. It is astonishingly immediate. Its research is magnificent, but never untrue. It becomes the story of the war itself, how brutal it is, how courageous, how slowly and inexorably mad.
John Casey
Jacob's Ladder is an exciting historical novel...
George Garrett
Boldly capricious, blessed with a host of vivid and memorable characters, and a wealth of striking incredible events. Donald McCaig's powerful, compassionate story is deeply rooted in the real and living presence of Virginia, before, during, and after the Civil War. Jacob's Ladder is historical fiction at its finest...

Meet the Author

Donald McCaig is the award-winning author of Jacob’s Ladder designated “the best civil war novel ever written” by The Virginia Quarterly. People magazine raved “Think Gone With the Wind, think Cold Mountain.” It won the Michael Sharra Award for Civil War Fiction and the Library of Virginia Award for Fiction.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews