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Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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The Color of Lightning

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The Color of Lightning Cover

ISBN13: 9780061690440
ISBN10: 0061690449
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1863, the War Between the States creeps slowly yet inevitably toward its bloody conclusion—and eastern thoughts are already turning to different wars and enemies.

Searching for a life and future, former Kentucky slave Britt Johnson is venturing west into unknown territory with his wife, Mary, and their three children—wary but undeterred by sobering tales of atrocities inflicted upon those who trespass against the Comanche and the Kiowa. Settling on the Texas plains, the Johnson family hopes to build on the dreams that carried them from the Confederate South to this new land of possibility—dreams that are abruptly shattered by a brutal Indian raid upon the settlement while Britt is away establishing a business. Returning to face the unthinkable—his friends and neighbors slain or captured, his eldest son dead, his beloved Mary severely damaged and enslaved, and his remaining children absorbed into an alien society that will never relinquish its hold on them—the heartsick freedman vows not to rest until his family is whole again.

Samuel Hammond follows a different road west. A Quaker whose fortune is destroyed by a capricious act of an inscrutable God, he has resigned himself to the role the Deity has chosen for him. As a new agent for the Office of Indian Affairs, it is Hammond's goal to ferret out corruption and win justice for the noble natives now in his charge. But the proud, stubborn people refuse to cease their raids, free their prisoners, and accept the farming implements and lifestyle the white man would foist upon them, adding fuel to smoldering tensions that threaten to turn a man of peace, faith, and reason onto a course of terrible retribution.

A soaring work of the imagination based on oral histories of the post-Civil War years in North Texas, Paulette Jiles's The Color of Lightning is at once an intimate look into the hearts and hopes of tragically flawed human beings and a courageous reexamination of a dark American history.

Review:

"The author of Stormy Weather and Enemy Women returns with a lively exploration of revenge, dedication and betrayal set mainly in Kentucky and Texas near the end of the Civil War. Britt Johnson is a free black man traveling with a larger band of white settlers in search of a better life for his wife, Mary, and their children, despite the many perils of the journey itself. After a war party of 700 Comanche and Kiowa scalp, rape and murder many of the whites, Mary and her children get separated from Britt and become the property of a Native named Gonkon. Britt must wait through the winter before he can set out to rescue and reclaim his wife and children, only to discover that not only does he not have enough money to bargain with the Indians but also that his own family's fate has as much to do with land disputes and treaties as it does with his determination to get revenge. Jiles writes like she owns the frontier, and in this multifaceted, riveting and full of danger novel, she does." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"They were lethal and beautiful and they had come bearing the mystery of death for mankind to puzzle over." The author is evoking the Kiowa raids in North Texas, around 1870. Making their last appearance in this novel, the warriors are just about to kill off Britt Johnson, a freed black man who has become something of a hero in these parts, and two of his luckless friends. But by this point in this... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

“Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted.... This is glorious work.” — Washington Post

“A gripping, deeply relevant book.” — New York Times Book Review

 From Paulette Jiles, author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Enemy Women and Stormy Weather, comes a stirring work of fiction set on the untamed Texas frontier in the aftermath of the Civil War. One of only twelve books longlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize—one of Canadas most prestigious literary awards—The Color of Lightning is a beautifully rendered and unforgettable re-examination of one of the darkest periods in U.S. history.

About the Author

An acclaimed poet, Paulette Jiles is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the bestselling novels Enemy Women and Stormy Weather. She lives on a small ranch west of San Antonio, Texas.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

debschne, January 2, 2010 (view all comments by debschne)
Lyrical, moving story about a freedman in Texas whose family is taken by Indians and his fight to get them back. Brutal story, told without judgment; the context is beautifully and frankly rendered.
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Pippi23, July 7, 2009 (view all comments by Pippi23)
Sounds like a really fascinating book!!
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(0 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Jan Skirrow, July 1, 2009 (view all comments by Jan Skirrow)
The Washington Post review above summarizes this book better than I could. I love the great plains, and have always wondered if we could have done better in our interactions with the original inhabitants. Jiles describes a culture gap so deep that the results were likely inevitable, with tragedy for all involved. Her evocation of the plains is marvelous, and her descriptions of the protagonists and their interactions carefully non-judgmental. Although it may not have been her intent, this reader saw lessons that are still very relevant today that,sadly, we seem as a society not to have learned.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061690440
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Jiles, Paulette
Author:
by Paulette Jiles
Publisher:
William Morrow
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20090331
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.17 in 18.48 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Color of Lightning Used Hardcover
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$8.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780061690440 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The author of Stormy Weather and Enemy Women returns with a lively exploration of revenge, dedication and betrayal set mainly in Kentucky and Texas near the end of the Civil War. Britt Johnson is a free black man traveling with a larger band of white settlers in search of a better life for his wife, Mary, and their children, despite the many perils of the journey itself. After a war party of 700 Comanche and Kiowa scalp, rape and murder many of the whites, Mary and her children get separated from Britt and become the property of a Native named Gonkon. Britt must wait through the winter before he can set out to rescue and reclaim his wife and children, only to discover that not only does he not have enough money to bargain with the Indians but also that his own family's fate has as much to do with land disputes and treaties as it does with his determination to get revenge. Jiles writes like she owns the frontier, and in this multifaceted, riveting and full of danger novel, she does." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , “Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted.... This is glorious work.” — Washington Post

“A gripping, deeply relevant book.” — New York Times Book Review

 From Paulette Jiles, author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Enemy Women and Stormy Weather, comes a stirring work of fiction set on the untamed Texas frontier in the aftermath of the Civil War. One of only twelve books longlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize—one of Canadas most prestigious literary awards—The Color of Lightning is a beautifully rendered and unforgettable re-examination of one of the darkest periods in U.S. history.

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