Canaan: A Novel

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2007 - Fiction - 426 pages
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Canaan fills a vast canvas. Its points of reference are Richmond in the throes of Reconstruction; the trading floors of Wall Street, where men makes fortunes speculating on the war’s consequences; a Virginia plantation, where the ruin of the South is written in wrenching detail; and the Great Plains, where the splendidly arrogant George Custer rides to his fate against Sitting Bull’s warriors. This is the story of America over twenty years of its most turbulent history. The characters are black, white, red, ex-Union, and ex-Confederate; and the principal narrator is a Santee woman, She Goes Before, who marries an ex-slave. Through her eyes we witness the hanging of her father by whites in the mass execution of 1863, Red Cloud’s banquet with President Grant, and that final confrontation on the bluffs above the Little Bighorn. “McCaig’s extensive research is revealed in the book’s rich historical detail and revisionist perspective. Black life in Reconstruction-era Virginia is portrayed particularly well.”—Library Journal
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ShouldIReadIt - LibraryThing

A sequel, in a way, to "Jacob's Ladder" as it continues the story of those characters. Luckily I'd already read "Jacob's Ladder," or I would've been lost with all the various characters' memories ... Read full review

CANAAN

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In the wake of the Civil War, blacks and whites struggle to make sense of their changed lives; out West, Indians struggle against the Washitu (whites).McCaig's latest, covering the years 1865 to 1876 ... Read full review

Contents

THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH
17
TWO TAN EGGS
27
LOW DOG DREAMING
33
INDEPENDENCE DAY
42
A HINCTY NIGGER
53
THE ATLANTIC MISSISSIPPI OHIO
64
ADDRESS FROM THE COLORED CITIZENS
75
LETTER FROM MRS DUNCAN GATEWOOD
82
BLACK FRIDAY
266
WASHITU STRAWBERRIES
272
IN THE VALLEY OF THE GREASY GRASS 45 LIGHT BROTH AND A CODDLED EGG
283
IN THE TERRITORY
289
A TREASURE TROVE
300
A CADAVER
308
RATION DAY
320
ON THE SCOOT
326

I2 RAINY DAY STEW
90
SONOFABITCH STEW
101
CARRINGTON
134
DANVILLE RAILROAD
152
THE ATLANTIS MISSISSIPPI OHIO RAILROAD
177
EDWARD RATCLIFF
184
MR CHARLES DICKENS
205
MISS MOLLY SEMPLE
227
SAMUEL GATEWOOD
238
THE CANDIDATE FROM MARSHALL WARD
241
GHOSTOWNING
246
4I GENERAL MAHONES SIGNAL VICTORY
248
IMMIGRANTS
253
5I PANIC
340
MRS S T GATEWOODS BOARDINGHOUSE BRUNSWICK STEW
348
OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE
357
THE BONE GAME
361
IN THE MOON OF RIPENING BLACKBERRIES
364
HOKA HEY
366
LETTER FROM RANDOLPH HOWLAND TO MRS EBEN BARNWELL
374
ORDERS TO GENERAL GEORGE CUSTER JUNE 22 1876
376
KILL SONGS
377
AMERICAS TEMPERANCE DRINK
415
Epilogue
423
Acknowledgments
425
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About the author (2007)

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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