"A bildungsroman follows a troubled boy’s upbringing in a politically charged antebellum South... Carvin masterfully brings to life a South in dramatic transition, and he avoids the binary categories of pro and con that often typify the genre. .. [A] thoughtful, sensitive rendering of a complex period in American history. A philosophically challenging look at the inner turmoil of the American South in the 19th century." -- Kirkus Reviews
A coming of age story about the son of a cotton plantation owner in ante-bellum Mississippi. As the country hurtles toward civil war, the young man's desire for personal freedom – and for the South to be free from northern "tyranny" – lies in contrast with his blindness to the injustice of African American slavery. "Masterfully brings to life a South in dramatic transition." -- Kirkus Reviews. Interwoven with the early history of the University of Mississippi and with the teachings of southern white churches in support of slavery, the novel explores the meaning of independence, duty, freedom, and obedience; in the end, it is about slavery and independence in all their forms. Woven into the plot are period newspaper articles, actual letters written home during the war, illustrations and maps. Includes a bibliography.