Title: Jacob’s Ladder
Author: Donald McCaig
Reminiscent of Cold Mountain and Gone with the Wind, a civil war saga of a Virginia plantation family fulfilling its unforgettable destiny. Widely acclaimed, with comparisons to Margaret Mitchell and Shelby Foote, Jacob’s Ladder is a rich and poignant novel. It is the story of Duncan Gatewood, seventeen and heir to the Gatewood Plantation in Virginia. Duncan falls in love with Maggie, a mulatto slave, who bears him a son, Jacob. Maggie and Jacob are sold south, and Duncan is packed off by his irate father to the Virginia Military Institute. As a cadet, Duncan guards the gallows of John Brown; as a man he will fight for Robert E. Lee and the South. Another Gatewood slave, Jesse–whose love for Maggie is unrequited–escapes to freedom and enlists in Mr. Lincoln’s army; in time he will confront his former masters.
Permeated with a wealth of scrupulously researched historical detail, McCaig conjures up the interlocked lives of masters and slaves so skillfully that he has gained praise from African American historians and the descendants of confederate veterans. Jacob’s Ladder, lauded by the Virginia Quarterly as “the best Civil War novel ever written,” is an epic tale that resonates with all the bitter glory and deep human shame of America’s greatest war.
Book #72 was Jacob’s Ladder: A Story of Virginia During the War by Donald McCaig.
Actually, I didn’t quite finish this book. But I invested so much time in it, I’m counting it, dammit. I was disappointed in it — I was looking for much more story about the people, and much less descriptions of battles. I expected it to be a story about Duncan, Maggie, and Jacob. And since Maggie was essentially the narrator, I was disappointed that there were large stretches where you just didn’t read anything about her. What it comes down to is that I just lost interest in the story.
Doesn’t look like I’ll be hitting 100 books by year’s end! Oh well, I’ll just start over again in January.
Book count: 72
Pages in book: 527
Page count: 26,103
15,000 page goal reached 6/14/05!
50 book goal reached 7/19/05!