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The Hornet's Nest: A Novel of the Revolutionary Warby Jimmy Carter
Synopses & Reviews
The first work of fiction by a President of the United States — a sweeping novel of the American South and the War of Independence.
In his ambitious and deeply rewarding novel, Jimmy Carter brings to life the Revolutionary War as it was fought in the Deep South; it is a saga that will change the way we think about the conflict. He reminds us that much of the fight for independence took place in that region and that it was a struggle of both great and small battles and of terrible brutality, with neighbor turned against neighbor, the Indians' support sought by both sides, and no quarter asked or given. The Hornet's Nest follows a cast of characters and their loved ones on both sides of this violent conflict — including some who are based on the author's ancestors.
At the heart of the story is Ethan Pratt, who in 1766 moves with his wife, Epsey, from Philadelphia to North Carolina and then to Georgia in 1771, in the company of Quakers. On their homesteads in Georgia, Ethan and his wife form a friendship with neighbors Kindred Morris and his wife, Mavis. Through Kindred and his young Indian friend, Newota, Ethan learns about the frontier and the Native American tribes who are being continually pressed farther inland by settlers. As the eight-year war develops, Ethan and Kindred find themselves in life-and-death combat with opposing forces.
With its moving love story, vivid action, and the suspense of a war fought with increasing ferocity and stealth, The Hornet's Nest is historical fiction at its best, in the tradition of such major classics as The Last of the Mohicans.
"What Carter lacks in narrative style and characterization, he more than makes up for in the breadth of historical fact and detail....
"Carter's 17th book...will certainly inform, but, lacking the novelist's spark, it's unlikely to move or grip." Kirkus Reviews
"[O]n the whole this an evenhanded, authoritative, and lucid account....This makes for palatable history, but many fiction readers will wish the meat had more sauce." Library Journal
"[A] historically accurate narrative....It is a well-written saga, intelligently presented, yet another bright accomplishment from the Georgia peanut farmer, politician and peacemaker." St. Petersburg Times
"Those seeking a riveting prose style would be advised to look to more experienced fiction writers, but anyone who has ever wondered about the difference between a Whig and a Tory will find this an interesting and informative read." Publishers Weekly
"A massive, sprawling, disjointed work, really more of a history text than a novel, though it has some fictional characters....Most of the story is told through a sometimes monotonous, sometimes repetitive narrative, with minimal dialogue among characters." Seattle Times
"In the end...most readers will be interested in the book not because of its history lesson or characters but because Jimmy Carter wrote it. And because, when you write what you know, a first novel is almost always a thinly disguised self-portrait." Max Byrd, The New York Times Book Review
"[A] historical novel of ambitious scope. Some may consider the detail-laden story more history than novel. But it does bring a neglected phase of America's Revolutionary War period into vivid focus through the eyes of Carter's fictional characters." Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram
"[A] sweeping historical saga..." BookPage
"The former president has no more idea of how to write compelling fiction than we do, say, of how to broker peace between Israel and Egypt. Yet he has researched the period deeply and presented his findings with admirable evenhandedness." Los Angeles Times
"While showing many of the signs of a first novel — a dearth of character development, scant personal conflict resolution — The Hornet's Nest still has a lot to offer....Carter's avuncular style will win you over." Denver Post
"I had hoped to love the novel, because I so admire the man. Alas, I don't love it....
"[Mr. Carter's] research...is itself an achievement. But even though The Hornet's Nest is a good melding of history and drama, it will not alter the course of American literature or usher in a new era of storytelling technique." Dallas Morning News
Former president Jimmy Carter brings his literary and historical interests together in his first novel — the first ever, in fact, by an American president. Set in the South during the Revolutionary War, the story follows the lives of newlyweds Ethan and Epsey Pratt, who hope that even in the midst of turmoil they can lead a peaceful family life on the farm they create. But Ethan is finally unable to stay on the sidelines. He joins up with a rebel group, and Epsey must bear the consequences of his absence. Jimmy Carter's learned historical novel is full of information about the practices of the period, including the sex lives of the Indians and how to tar and feather someone.
About the Author
Jimmy Carter, who served as thirty-ninth President of the United States, was born in Plains, Georgia, in 1924. After leaving the White House, he and his wife, Rosalynn, founded the Atlanta-based Carter Center, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent and resolve conflicts, enhance freedom and democracy, and improve health around the world. The author of numerous books, including the bestselling memoir An Hour Before Daylight, Jimmy Carter was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.
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