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Nowhere Else on Earth

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  342 Ratings  ·  48 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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(showing 1-30 of 667)
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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
Dec 22, 2008 Brittany rated it liked it
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.
Bronwyn Rykiert
Dec 22, 2010 Bronwyn Rykiert rated it really liked it
Shelves: family
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
Mar 23, 2010 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 30, 2014 ~mad rated it really liked it
Shelves: booksiveread
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
Aug 30, 2013 Diane rated it did not like it
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.
I did not realize until I had already finished the book and read the Author's Note at the back that this novel is based on a true story! Henry Berry Lowrie, the novel's central male character and center of interest, actually lived and did the things described in Ms. Humphreys' book, living as a member of an outlaw gang out of the forests of Robeson County, a kind of Robin Hood to his own people. Nowhere Else on Earth, told from the perspective of Rhoda Strong, his eventual bride, follows the for ...more
Mar 09, 2013 Terri rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 08, 2015 Anton rated it it was amazing

I loved this book. It's about people I didn't know existed. A tribe I suppose. People who lived along a river called The Lumbee, in North Carolina near Lumberton. Poor folks, of Indian and mixed race stock. The voice of the woman narrator is believable and full of a kind of back-woods regional pride
that I feel like I understand, in spite of having been brought up within a few hours of Manhattan.
Having worked for years on an oral history of a town that is a three hundred year old European settle
Nov 25, 2008 Sherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-list
Constant Reader discussion:

Aug 15, 2009 Cindy rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 24, 2009 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I want to read the history behind it now that I've read the fictionalized version.
Vivian Ann
Jul 03, 2013 Vivian Ann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-reading
WOWED! Loved this book.
Jul 14, 2012 Philippa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 29, 2011 Kellie rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 11, 2016 Jemma rated it it was ok
I was quite disappointed by this book. In theory I should have loved it - I find the time period it was set in fascinating and also take quite an interest in the southern states, but the characters were so one dimensional that I didn't care about them at all. The plot had potential, but it was almost as if she didn't know where she was going with it at times. I persevered in the hope that it would get better, but it never did.
Feb 13, 2016 Kayla rated it really liked it
Nowhere else on earth was a very confronting book mainly because it's all about choosing the oath you want and deciding what's best for you in the future. It touched on subjects such as friendship, love, family and growing up. It was very emotional towards the end and I would love to give a few spoilers but I'm not going to ruin this book. So all in all a very touching and scary book
Feb 03, 2016 Wendy rated it liked it
I loved this book! A friend passed it on to me and I could not stop reading. I found the story poignant and the sense of place was so strong. The characters were complex, deep, and completely human. With an amazingly descriptive yet eloquent style, the author drew me into another world.
Denise Westlake
May 03, 2014 Denise Westlake rated it really liked it
"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
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
Cynthia T
Based on a true story of the Lumbee in North Carolina at the time of the Civil War.
Linda Lyerly
Jan 21, 2016 Linda Lyerly rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorites.
Kathryn Wood
Dec 26, 2013 Kathryn Wood rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 15, 2012 Terry rated it liked it
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.

Feb 01, 2010 Mom rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 22, 2008 Shubha rated it really liked it
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 really liked it
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)!
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Josephine Humphreys (born February 2, 1945) is an American novelist.

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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
“He was in a state of wonder most of the time, the way a young boy is--engaged by the most ordinary things as if they were great miracles.” 3 likes
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