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Hallam's War

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Book Overview

An acclaimed, sweeping historical novel set during the Civil War, with one steadfast couple at its core. It is 1859, and Hugh and Serena Hallam have left Charleston society behind to build a new life... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

suzanne reno review of Hallam's War by Elizabeth Rosen

Hallam's War Review This book should have an insert saying " not just for Civil War buffs and Southerners. It was beautifully researched and written with conpelling characters who aes smart, couageous and have conflicted loyalties. I was stunned nny how much I learned from the book and how much I liked the main characters .i have every intention of reading it again when it comes out in paperback this summer. And I grewup in New York and now live in New England!

War Within and Without

Seems like, with all the novels that have been written about the Civil War, we would have difficulty encountering a fresh voice or a new perspective. Both of these goals are achieved in Elisabeth Payne Rosen's first novel, Hallam's War. Hugh Hallam is a Mexican War veteran turned farmer. He has moved his family from civilized Charleston to rural East Tennessee and is keenly aware of the increasing anger of his neighbors as the events leading up to the Civil War unfold. But, Hugh is not quite in synch with his neighbors. His farming practices are more advanced and his crop yields are higher. He sees his slaves as human beings and is uncomfortable with the prevailing view of fellow Southerners. He knows war is coming and worries about his wife, Serena, and their children. His restlessness is highlighted when the Hallam family hosts John Varick, a Northern journalist, sent South to write a series of articles for his newspaper. When war breaks out, Hugh becomes a valued Confederate officer and is involved in the Battle of Shiloh. His oldest son, Lewis, also joins and Serena is left to hold things together on the farm. As the war wears on the Hallam Family endures, but at a price. Payne's characterizations are strong and true to life. Hugh Hallam's war is one that is within as well as unrelentingly around him. Each character resonates with the reader and Payne's writing feel fresh and clean, and skillfully portrays their thoughts and feelings. This is tremendous accomplishment for an author making her debut. I look forward eagerly to future endeavors.

Excellent portrayal of a devastating time in our history

Elizabeth Payne Rosen hits the nail squarely on the head in Hallam's War, her first novel. Hugh Hallam is a man ahead of his time. He understands the "need" for slavery in the agricultural-dependent south, but is torn by the grim reality of what slavery truly is. Ms. Rosen doesn't sugar-coat Hallam's feelings, nor does she denigrate all southerners for the position they chose to be in concerning slavery. She also doesn't make slavery the central cause of the unavoidable conflict. True to history, she shows it as one of several contributing factors. The subject of the book that intrigued me the most was her treatment of the war itself. The reader can feel the excitement of the days preceding the battle at Shiloh, Grant's troops traveling downriver in riverboats, gunboats and every floating vessel available to save the day for the Union on the second day of that horrible battle that claimed over 12,000 lives. As a living historian (Civil War reenactor) and having read hundreds of accounts of the "real" soldiers who lived during that time, fighting and dying for what they believed was right, I feel that Ms. Rosen has captured that spirit in Hugh Hallam and in this book. I highly recommend it.

Beautifully told, particularly relevant

I'm not a huge fan of historical novels, although I can be persuaded. This is the kind of story that persuades me. It accurately captures the historical milieu, the characters are believable and the story is compelling. As we head into an election featuring, perhaps, our first biracial president, it is particularly relevant.

Stunning novel about the Civil War

Hallam's War by Elisabeth Payne Rosen is an almost epic story of a Southern slave-owning family trying to maintain their way of life as their world crumbles around them. Hugh Hallam gave up a promising career in the military after the Mexican-American War to farm in the wilds of Tennessee with his wife Serena and their three children: Lewis, Kitty, and Sam. He farms in an innovative way trying to bring an end to the classic plantation way of working farmland until it has nothing left to give and then purchasing more land, leaving the rest behind. This type of farming left thousands of acres worthless, and required more and more slaves to work the ever increasing crops of cotton, even when it wasn't profitable. Hallam wants to change the way Southern farmers work to save their lifestyle. He has several slaves himself, but because he houses them well, allows them to work toward their freedom, and treats them with respect, he justifies the ownership. Life starts to crumble with the purchase of an educated slave named French and a laborer named Able. Hallam has trouble continuing to turn a blind eye to the intelligence he sees in French and the love Able has for his daughter Mary Ann. Hallam and Serena live an almost ideal life on their farm, Palmyra. They are deeply in love with each other; they have little debt and terrific children. But when the War begins, Hallam is called away to fight, and Serena must keep up the farm on her own, which becomes impossible when sabotage occurs. Soon the farm is left behind, and the family completely separated by a war based on something they don't know if they believe in any more. This is a beautifully written novel. As I was reaching the end, I found myself lingering over each page, because I didn't want it to end. The characters are fully realized, and the internal conflicts in each are stark and real. Hallam not only wars against the North, but also against his vision of himself as he asks the question: is a Negro a man? Serena struggles to keep the farm afloat and her family together in the midst of heart-rending pain and suffering. Lewis wants the glory that comes with being a soldier and standing up for his countrymen, but he has to be the man of the house when his father leaves. Even young Kitty faces struggles as she watches all the young men leave, including the one who has a piece of her heart. In the end, they are all forced to acknowledge that nothing will ever be the same again. Not their family, their farm, their country, or how they see themselves.
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