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Nowhere Else on Earth

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  285 ratings  ·  40 reviews
In the summer of 1864, sixteen-year-old Rhoda Strong lives in the Lumbee Indian settlement of Robeson County, North Carolina, which has become a pawn in the bloody struggle between the Union and Confederate armies. The community is besieged by the marauding Union Army as well as the desperate Home Guard who are hell-bent on conscripting the young men into deadly forced lab...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published September 4th 2000)
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Bronwyn Rykiert
Set in the swampy, piney backwoods of North Carolina at the close of the Civil War in 1864, Josephine Humphreys' passionate, beautifully written novel evokes a time of struggle and helplessness in a proud insular community whose members trace their ancestry back to the Indians. Derisively dubbed Scuffletown by its "mack" neighbours (Scottish farmers mostly), known as "the settlement" to its inhabitants, the area subsists on turpentine manufacture, which has come to a halt with the war.

The story...more
Frederick Bingham
The story of a poor girl in a community in rural Robeson County NC. It takes place at the end of the Civil War and just afterwards. The main character is a teenager. The region is plagued by 'home guards', men whose job it is to catch deserters and young men who are avoiding military service. There were a lot of them in that part of the country because there was a lot of Union sympathizers. There are also raids by union and confederate bands that roam the countryside, which has turned essentiall...more
This is a beautifully written book. Humphreys clearly loves words and it was a pleasure to read her descriptions and her characters. While this is not a fast-moving book, it has a great sense of place and time and transports you there as the reader.

As with many good characters, the narrator, Rhoda and her love, Henry, are flawed. Flawed characters are wonderful because they remind me of how flawed we all are - how we all make good choices and bad ones and pray that our bad ones don't hurt oursel...more
I don't think I could have enjoyed this book more. From the very first it drew me in and I felt myself wrapped up by the story. Being a native of South Carolina and of Cherokee indian descent I thoroughly enjoyed reading this fictional account of Indian life in North Carolina during and shortly after the Civil War.

I would 100% recommend this book, especially if you are at all interested in history.
from amazon:

In the summer of 1864, sixteen-year-old Rhoda Strong lives in the Lumbee Indian settlement of Robeson County, North Carolina, which has become a pawn in the bloody struggle between the Union and Confederate armies. The community is besieged by the marauding Union Army as well as the desperate Home Guard who are hell-bent on conscripting the young men into deadly forced labor. Daughter of a Scotsman and his formidable Lumbee wife, Rhoda is fiercely loyal to her family and desperately...more
I liked this book. I think it was easier for me to get into it because I am from the area and know about the Lumbee people. It's based on true people and the most notorious well known Lumbee figure, their version of Robin Hood. It's worth reading but it probably helps to be interested in the culture and history behind it.
Diane Kohn
I have a rule that I have to read 100 pages of a box before I decide whether to continue or to pitch it. I decided to throw in the towel - this book just wasn't worth my time. I found that the author did a poor job of character development. After 100 pages, I was still wondering who's who, and in fact I really didn't care.
An exquisitely written story of a North Carolina backwater caught between forces of the American Civil War, told through the eyes of a Lumbee Indian girl. Josephine Humphrey's descriptive writing style is a feast for readers - every page a gift. I'm so grateful to have come across this now-obscure novel.
Aug 15, 2009 Cindy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Cindy by: Kimmie Sue
Suffice to say, this is one of the best reads ever. My words are mere coarse scratchings compared to hers, so no review this time.
I loved this book. I want to read the history behind it now that I've read the fictionalized version.
Vivian Ann
WOWED! Loved this book.
Review published in the New Zealand Herald, 30 November 2002

Nowhere Else on Earth
Josephine Humphreys
Arrow Books $26.95

Reviewed by Philippa Jamieson

The work of a master storyteller, Nowhere Else on Earth is a heart-rending, engrossing historical novel that gives a unique slant on the American Civil War. The heroine is serious but sassy Rhoda Strong, daughter of a Native American and a Scotsman, brought up dirt poor in the swampy, turpentine-producing woods area of Robeson County, North Carolina.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denise Westlake
"when there's no food and no law, war don't stay where it's meant to stay but spreads wilder and meaner out on the fringes".

VERY hard to read such sadness- but an A+ book!
Aug 14, 2007 Thor added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Meadowlark
And again the Civil War! But I think it's just a coincidence, or maybe because I was reading from Marien's library.

North Carolina again, too. This times it's the people of Scuffletown along the Lumbee river. There's gangsters, outlaws, gunfights, soldiers. It's pretty much chaos. The Lumbee settlers are a strong-willed bunch, and for the most part they find a way to get through it all.

In something of an aside, it's asserted in this book that the Lumbee Indians are actually descended from the lo...more
Debbie Maskus
This novel is set in Lumberton, NC, during and after the Civil War. The story centers on a place in Robeson County called Shuffletown that housed a mixture of Native Americans and their families. The story discusses the turpentine business in North Carolina and the beetles and war that destroyed this business. The story recounts the terrors and hardships of the war, and shows that the Robeson County inhabitants had to fight off both the Yankees and the Rebels. I felt the story difficult to follo...more
Kathryn Wood
Reading this book put me entirely in the place and spirit of an unusual and relatively unknown place and people, the Lumbee Indians of inner coastal North Carolina. It takes place during the Civil War in the mid 1800's when the Indians were often looked down upon and they felt ill at ease in either the Confederate or Union camps. Told in first person, the young woman who tells the story pulls us into their world and makes us care about it and its inhabitants.
This novel is set in a backwoods, swampy section of North Carolina during the Civil War. The Lumbee (whose ancestors were Native Americans and perhaps the Lost colony of Roanoke) are being sent off to do slave labor for the Confederacy, so Henry Berry Lowrie collects a band of young men, who defy the authorities and try to save the community. Rhoda Strong has the misfortune of loving Henry and that love forces her to make difficult choices.

I picked up this book my mistake. I thought I was getting a book by
another writer. But I'm going to add this writer to my list of favorites.
Wonderful story about war and love and courage. Beautiful language.....
I'm glad I found it.
Susan Maldrie
Not sure if I'm being fair with this book but for some reason I didn't finish it. Noted that I wrote -- not sure I like - beside the title. Hmmm be interesting to see other readers reviews and maybe I will give it another go.
Part fiction, part non-fiction. A real page-turner about a Native American community in North (or South?) Carolina and their conflicting loyalties during the Civil War. Highly recommended.
Jan 09, 2010 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
This is technically a re-read for me; I won a book award from the English department my senior year at BSC and this was the book I won (a signed copy by the author, no less)!
Vernelle Edwards
This is Ms. Humphreys' greatest novel. The intimate dialouge transports one to that faraway time and place. I felt like I could reach out and touch the main character.
Loved it, set in lowlands SC, Indian heritage people, strength of families. Friend Annette suggested as its somewhat about turpentine farms of the lowlands
A look at the toll the Civil War took on the people who were not fighting on the lines...forced into work camps, children stolen to fight....War is hell
I liked this book more than I had expected. It's so hard to imagine this country in the midst of a war. And to hear what people had to go through.
May 24, 2008 Chelsea rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
Nowhere Else on Earth has become my favorite book. Not only is the story captivating, her writing is absolutely beautiful. I highly recommend it!
Takes place in Robeson Co., NC 1864 and on
Debra Anne
Jun 30, 2013 Debra Anne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Debra by: Suzanne Mitchell
It took me home. The title says everything I feel about this land. For me, there has ever been Nowhere Else on Earth.
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“I wanted him to be a poet. I wanted him to adventure out into the world and learn its ways, not losing himself in the jumble of life but seeing it in the poet's eye, and withdrawing after in the library room where he could write his poems of revelation. He would tell what he had seen. He never wrote a word in his life. But he did see.” 5 likes
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