Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Virginia During the War

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Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated, May 31, 1999 - Fiction - 528 pages
3 Reviews
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.

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Review: Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Virginia During the War

User Review  - Jen Bojkov - Goodreads

I like historical fiction in general and particularly set in the Civil War. This was a fascinating book well worth the read. In fact it's worth a re-read! Read full review

Review: Jacob's Ladder: A Story of Virginia During the War

User Review  - Nancylee Browne - Goodreads

This book has perked my interest in the Civil War. Written cleverly, a story about Virginia slaves and their plantation masters. I re-reads some passages to get the full vision of the what the author was describing. Very interesting read. Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Donald McCaig, the author of Jacob's Ladder, Rhett Butler's People and Canaan. He and his wife, Anne, work a sheep farm in the western mountains of Virginia.

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