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All Other Nights

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,034 Ratings  ·  373 Reviews
A gripping epic about the great moral struggles of the Civil War.

"How is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army during the Civil War, it is a question his commanders have already answered for him - on Passover, 1862, he is ordered to murder his own uncle in New Orleans, who is plotting to assassinate President Linco
Hardcover, 363 pages
Published April 2nd 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 1st 2009)
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Jewish Historical Fiction non-Holocaust
12th out of 119 books — 175 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 22, 2014 Valerie rated it it was amazing
I just read some of the other reviews of this book and I totally agree. Very well written historical story about the Civil War era. I learned some things that I didn't know, and I always enjoy that! At first, you don't really care for Jacob, but he finally learns some lessons about life along the way. There are plenty of twists and turns that do keep you guessing!
Aug 10, 2009 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
I read this book over the weekend and literally could not put it down--I actually finished it while reading by candlelight during a power outage!

Horn tackles the moral ambiguities of the Civil War in this first-rate historical thriller, this time from the perspective of a young Jewish soldier, Jacob Rappaport, who joins the war effort to escape an arranged marriage to the mentally disabled daughter of his father's business associate. Jacob's connections, both family and business, become useful
Apr 13, 2010 Kiersten rated it it was ok
I was so disappointed with this book! It had a great premise--Jewish espionage during the Civil War--but it didn't pan out.

Probably the most disappointing aspect of this book was Jacob. I can't think of the last time I read a book with such a weak, sapless main character. Other than running away to join the Union army, Jacob did not once act of his own volition. Every step he took was forced upon him by another person. And even signing up for the army was something Jacob did only as a last reso
Tara Chevrestt
Sep 01, 2009 Tara Chevrestt rated it really liked it
Very good novel. I had a hard time putting it down. The choices and moral dilemmas Jacob is constantly facing makes for an intriguing story. Jacob, is a Jewish living in America during the Civil War. To avoid an arranged marriage to a mentally incompetent woman, Jacob runs away from home and joins the Union army. From there, it is one difficult choice after another. Can he kill his own uncle? Can he infilterate a family and marry one of the daughters? Can he turn in his own wife? I found myself ...more
Apr 21, 2009 Matt rated it liked it
I am, if anything, even more puzzled about this book than I was about _World to Come_ (the other Horn novel I read). I mean, I really really am not too much of a snob about genre fiction-- I have some genres that I like more than others, but whatever-- but I'm pretty sure this isn't being sold, marketed, or treated like genre fiction. Except that's what it is. I think. Like I said, I'm confused.

I think this maybe works best if you read it as a historical romance, the sort of complicated relation
Mar 25, 2010 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for

Coming of age for any young man is a turbulent experience. Coming of age in the Union Army during the Civil War is even more tumultuous. Coming of age in the Civil War when the young man is Jewish is Herculean. Jacob Rappaport joined the Union Army to escape the pre-ordained life laid out by his father. Jacob agrees to become a spy and assassin for the Union Army to win the approval of his replacement fathers (the Army generals). But, can Jacob win his own approval
Jul 05, 2009 Melinda rated it really liked it
Continuing my Civil War HF trend, this book focuses on a yet another minority group and how the war affected them: Jews. The main character in this novel is Jacob, son of a wealthy NYC merchant who wants to further his business by arranging a marriage between his son and the retarded daughter of a fellow mercantile business man. As a son who respects and obeys his parents, Jacob feels obligated to go along with this until the last minute when he opts to make his own place in the world by enlisti ...more
Mar 12, 2010 Lauren rated it it was ok
I LOVED "The World to Come" by Dara Horn. I am reading her latest novel, but I am less enraptured. The writing is solid, but the plot feels... like a B Movie or something, like she is above that. With "The World to Come" she really reached a transcendental place, and the book had a magical quality, like the writing of Nicole Krauss and Jonathan Safran Foer. This book feels very different, and although I respect her willingness to write a very different book, I don't she is quite as good at this ...more
May 25, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing
I read this author's other book (The World to Come), which I liked until its bizarre last chapter. Still, when I heard this historical fiction novel was coming out, I put it on my to-read list - especially since it sounded very different from the other novel. One of my friends read it before I did and was able to tell me that it lacked the weird ending (phew!).

The book is a neat glimpse into an interesting time period from an unusual perspective -- a Jewish soldier during the Civil War who's ask
Feb 20, 2014 Liana rated it liked it
Even though I already read women authors and do so often, I decided to join #ReadWomen2014. This is the first book I've finished reading this year so...

I have been looking forward to reading more of Dara Horn's work after I finished her heart-wrenching masterpiece The World to Come. I thought All Other Nights was good. I liked it. I had been very intrigued after reading the summary and I also love indulging in historical fiction. The book didn't change my life, but I enjoyed the reading adventur
Feb 01, 2014 judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Had this book been written by anyone other than Dara Horn, I would have enjoyed it more. This is the third book of hers I've read--in a row. Based on the previous two, I expected something more intellectually challenging and almost mystical. This was a darned good piece of historical fiction, however. It is a genre I avoid because I'm fussy about history. I'll take mine straight, thank you, right from the non-fic shelves after checking the credentials of the writer. Dara Horn is the exception to ...more
Bart Breen
May 19, 2012 Bart Breen rated it really liked it
Entertaining Read

I haven't read Dara Horn before and I selected this book because I do enjoy historical fiction and especially that related to the Civil War. That understood I approached this novel with an open mind and that is probably what saved the experience.

Set in the Civil War? Yes it is. What you would typically expect from a Civil War novel? Not really. But then, there is a great deal here that will be of interest. Primarily the outlining of spying is reasonably realistic and interesting
Katie Parker
Apr 03, 2011 Katie Parker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, jewish
All Other Nights is about a 19-year-old Jew named Jacob Rappaport, who is a Union soldier during the Civil War. One day, he is summoned before three of his officers who have an assignment for him: travel across the lines to New Orleans to kill his uncle, who is planning the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Thinking he has no choice but to accept, he makes the journey and completes the mission, much to his surprise. When he returns, he expects to be lauded for his efforts, but is inste ...more
May 04, 2009 Heidi rated it it was ok
I was determined to finish this book despite a slow start so I forged ahead and completed it. I don't often do that-- if I don't 'feel' the book immediately I usually stop. This time, however, I was really afraid I was the problem and to some extent I think that remains true. I just wasn't as into the subject (Civil War espionage from the perspective of a Jewish soldier from NYC) as I could have been. I resisted Horn's narrative in ways and didn't allow myself to go with the flow of the book.

Daniel Schiff
Dec 16, 2012 Daniel Schiff rated it really liked it
This was an intelligently written book that taught me a lot about the Civil War, but it was far from perfect. The narrator's voice, which sounds a lot like the voices of the two main characters, gets old. There are brief moments of time when other characters interact with the main characters, but Horn does not do enough to take advantage of those moments. Horn also creates potentially suspensful situations and then finds a way to take the suspense out of them, both by failing to give the reader ...more
Aug 07, 2010 Shana rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book more than I could, but the writing--its lack of imagination and its overly literal bent--really distanced me from the characters and made me reflect a lot more on style than on the story, which was pretty interesting in and of itself.

The author can't keep herself from describing the curling of every finger in the making of a fist, for example, often to no purpose, and this goes on and on throughout the book. The thing that bothered me the most, though, because
Melinda Van Komen
Apr 16, 2013 Melinda Van Komen rated it liked it
This was such an interesting story, and it felt well-researched and "real" to me. I cringed at only one or two anachronisms, which is hard hard hard to avoid in historical fiction.

The story centers around a very young (I had to remind myself HOW young) New York Jewish man who runs away to join the army in the midst of the Civil War. I did not know about the historical figure Benjamin Judah and his role as an early and prominent Jew and advisor to the Confederacy. The main character is encourage
Nov 06, 2009 Pam rated it really liked it
I was skeptical, but cautiously intrigued by this book as any civil war romance after Rhett and Scarlett is a cliche. However in the hands of Dara Horn, Jacob and Jeannie stand on their own as two opposing Jewish-American spies where the romance is with a lowercase "r" and the focus is on Jacob's story of being trapped first by his own family, then by the military, and finally by circumstances out of his control. The development of the characters, especially Jacob, is gratifying and realistic. T ...more
May 10, 2009 Jeri rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-sellers
I am not like the rest of my family who eat, breath and sleep Civil War. However, as someone who does not know that much about history, I was enthralled by the story in this book. Jacob Rappaport (an alias) of New York City escapes an arranged marriage with the daughter of a business associate of his father's by running off to join the Union Army. There, he finds that his Jewish heritage will always dictate the attitude of his superiors. He is forced into actions as a Union spy deep in the stron ...more
The name of the book is "All Other Nights," but the Passover theme sizzles out after the first few chapters. I would have preferred if the parallel to the four sons had been applied to the Levy girls, who were major characters, instead of being an Easter egg (I mean, a korban chagiga) describing the Hyams boys, who were mentioned once and never heard from again. But the rest of the book worked really well for me. (And I was grateful for having read The Day Lincoln Was Shot, since I actually reco ...more
Jul 20, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
I had high hopes for this novel of Dara Horn since I pushed The World To Come at everyone I knew for at least a year after reading it. But really I came away disappointed.
The setting and research involved are excellent; Jewish family life during the Civil War and across the border of hostilities is certainly an aspect of this time in our history that I don't believe has been covered previously.

I think my main problem is the central character who is rather weak and unlikeable which is perhaps
The first several chapters had me hooked. It was a relentless pace of Is this guy really going to kill his uncle? Seriously? Isn't he going to be caught? No way is he really going to marry a woman who is a leader of a Confederate spy ring. Seriously? Does he love her? Seriously?

Seriously. Union soldier, Jacob, is pushed into a role that has him saving the union from a plot to kill Lincoln by killing his uncle over Passover dinner and then marrying a Confederate spy. I liked the star-crossed love
Jun 03, 2009 Jean rated it really liked it
This was a choice I picked randomly from the library shelf and am I glad I made unusual story about the Civil war, Jewish spies, love, betrayal, dignity and losses. It was well written, kept my interest and really described the horror of slavery and Civil War struggles come to life. How anyone survived is a many casualties and so many families torn apart. A very different and interesting read for a change!
Jill Madsen
Dec 31, 2012 Jill Madsen rated it really liked it
This historical fiction book brings up great questions... what do we have choices in, what don't we have choices in, and how do we live with the choices we make... blended together with an interest plot of a Jewish solider during the civil war who happens to fall in love along the way. I read this for my work book club and can't wait to discuss it with them!
Oct 23, 2014 Audrey rated it it was ok
I am on Part Five of All Other Nights and struggling to get through it. I started reading this book because I was intrigued by the subject matter (Jews during the Civil War). What I thought was going to be a historical thriller is turning out to be a rambling story about Jacob, a cowardly, weak man, who is willing to do just about anything the Union officers tell him to do, including murdering his own uncle (who is thought to be part of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln and falsifying his iden ...more
Apr 16, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing
A compelling tale about a Jewish soldier during the Civil War and the decisions he makes (and those he doesn't). Like many reviewers, I found the character of Jacob is not immensely likable, but you support him nonetheless. The historical aspect of this book was fascinating and effortlessly combined with a story that I literally could not put down.
Jul 07, 2011 Sherry rated it really liked it
A fast-paced and well written tale of a Jewish soldier/spy during the Civil War, this book not only kept me turning the pages, it gave me a greater empathy for the sufferings of Jews. I loved the characters so much, I didn't want the book to end! When it did, I found myself in tears, moved by the story's resolution. I really loved this book.
Rachel Pollock
Feb 28, 2015 Rachel Pollock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Giving this four stars for a fantastic concept and the depth/breadth of historical research the author clearly put into the book. I also dig that the strongest and most memorable, interesting, complicated characters were the women.

I found the use of phonetic dialect in the first sections of the book to be jarring and obfuscative. Upon reading the afterword, i then realized that in at least one scene, the author was quoting directly from a period news account of 1859, which was itself rendered in
Feb 27, 2011 Ahf rated it really liked it
This is novel about a Northern Jew in during the Civil War who is sent to be a spy and assassin. Fun combination of history (including Jewish history in America 150 years ago, which I know very little about), irony (conducting Passover in front of black American slaves) and a tale of personal growth.
May 26, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it
I don't think I've ever read a book from the Jewish perspective in American history before. Very interesting alternative to "Gone w/ the wind" as it covers a similar period/place. Central thesis of a man's growth as he tries to do the right thing and find himself in a world gone mad.
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Dara Horn, the author of the novels All Other Nights, The World to Come, and In the Image, is one of Granta’s "Best Young American Novelists" and the winner of two National Jewish Book Awards. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.
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