Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, A SEPARATE COUNTRY is a novel based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army--and one of its most tragic figures. Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam. But the Civil War would mark him forever. At Gettysburg, he lost the use of his left arm. At the Battle of Chickamauga, his right leg was amputated. Starting fresh after the war, he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children with her, including three sets of twins. But fate had other plans. Crippled by his war wounds and defeat, ravaged by financial misfortune, Hood had one last foe to battle: Yellow Fever.
A SEPARATE COUNTRY is the heartrending story of a decent and good man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures--and the story of those who taught him to love, and to be loved, and transformed him.
In an Author's Note at the end of his book The Widow of the South, Robert Hicks tells us that "when Oscar Wilde made his infamous tour of America in 1882, he told his hosts that his itinerary should include a visit to 'sunny Tennessee to meet the Widow McGavock, the high priestess of the temple of dead boys.'" Carrie McGavock, The Widow of the South, did indeed take it upon herself to grieve the loss of so many young men in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, which took place on November 30, 1864. Nine thousand men lost their lives that day. She and her husband John eventually re-buried on their own land 1,481 Confederate soldiers killed at Franklin, when the family that owned the land on which the original shallow graves had been dug decided to plow it under and put it into cultivation.
While this is only the third day of Christmas, there are already aspects of the season celebration that are growing old. Number One among gthe least desirable are elves. It's easy to understand how C.S. Lewis felt when he interrupted one of Tolkein's readings of "The Lord of the Rings" to his Oxford colleagues w/: "Oh no, not another (f***ing elf!" (Now before you write and attack me for such language, remember; don't shoot the messanger. I am simply replacing the Beloved C. S. Lewis who was much the wordsmith and still thought it the appropriate word when faced with even more elves.
Other than David Saderis, it's time for all the elves to go away.