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North and South

(North and South #1)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  58,217 ratings  ·  905 reviews
Part history, part novel, this book chronicles two great American dynasties over three generations. Though brought together in a friendship that neither jealousy nor violence could shatter, the Hazards and the Mains are torn apart by the storm of events that has divided the nation.
Paperback, 812 pages
Published June 1st 2000 by Signet (first published 1982)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  58,217 ratings  ·  905 reviews

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David Putnam
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and already purchased the other two in the trilogy. Historical novels seem to be my favorite all time reads even though I write thrillers. That's not to say I don't read extensively in mystery/thriller because I do. It might be that historical novels have a broader canvas and leaves more room for the author to make his/her mark on memory. That's definitely what happened here. The length of this book though was like reading three other books and put me farther behind on ...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

After being trolled three times yesterday for not only reading things wrong, but also for wasting my Goodreads space and apparently everyone’s time creating picturebooks full of “stupid” and “uninformative” reviews that apparently belong on a place I’ve never heard of before called Buzzfeed (which I will make sure I remain in the dark about in order to take that as an eternal compliment) please consider this a fair warning: THIS “REVIE
“A shell whined in over the highroad to Churubusco. The Mexican gunners in the convent of San Mateo had found the range…Sword in his left hand, pistol in his right, Orry [Main] crouched in the marshy cornfield beside the road. He cringed as he awaited the explosion of the shell. The concussion nearly knocked him over…To his left, a geyser shot up from the wet field, lifting cornstalks and bloody heads and limbs with it. It was mid-afternoon, the twentieth of August. Orry had been in heavy fighti ...more
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, civil-war
Someone at work was about to take the North & South Trilogy to the library, but offered them to me instead. I took these three massive tomes, which I remembered dimly from the 1980s (along with the TV miniseries adaptation) with muted thanks. No, I'll never turn down a book, but I expected some poorly written, overblown mess -- something like what you'd get if VC Andrews decided to write a historical trilogy. I put it off for nearly a year, and then finally cracked open North and South, fully pr ...more
Nick Borrelli
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Too much of a soap opera read for me. I was under the impression that this was a pretty decent story that was tightly connected with the events of the Civil War as the backdrop. What I realized pretty quickly was that the story is the main focus and the Civil War part is just there for convenience. That's fine if the story is a compelling one or an interesting one. Unfortunately, I was disinterested in the fates of the Hazards and Mains fairly quickly and then I was left with nothing to hang my ...more
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
As good now as it was when I last re-read it about 20 years ago. The characters are vivid, the action broad, and the emotions reflective of the thorny period of history in which the story is set. There are good people and bad (and some really bad), scenes that are both funny and tragic, and it's all a marvelous soap opera Americanus. No wonder they made a mini series of it.

Since I've seen the tv version too many times to count, reading this was like watching it all over again but it was very ent
Description: Part history, part novel, this book chronicles two great American dynasties over three generations. Though brought together in a friendship that neither jealousy nor violence could shatter, the Hazards and the Mains are torn apart by the storm of events that has divided the nation.

The mini series.

01 - North and South - (summer 1842 - summer 1844)
02 - North and South - (autumn 1844 - spring 1848)
03 - North and South - (spring 1848 - summer 1854)
04 - North and South - (summer 1854 -
Sarah Swann
Oct 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED THIS! I grew up watching the mini series and I loved being back with these characters. I read some things that I forgot about and read some things that weren’t included in the tv adaptation. I can’t wait to rewatch the series and dissect the differences. Loved!
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
John Jakes chooses to base the first book in the trilogy during some of the most trying years of US history, the lead up to the Civil War. Jakes tells the story of two families, the Hazards and Mains, as they progress through these trying times, beginning in the early 1840s. Meeting at West Point, George Hazard of Pennsylvania and Orry Main of South Carolina soon become best friends. They forge a friendship that is severely tested at numerous points, as the United States begins to tear apart ove ...more
Oct 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Civil war buffs, harcore Jakes fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
John Jakes never ceases to amaze me! I really enjoyed The Kent Family Chronicles so I just had to pick up North and South, and once again I didn't come back disappointed!

North and South is the intro to the Civil War Trilogy, with Jakes telling the story of 2 families, the Main Family of South Carolina, and the Hazards of Pennsylvania. Orry Main and George Hazard befriend each other when both happen to be going to West Point in the 1840s to serve in the American Mexican War.

From then on the Main
Sotiris Karaiskos
A very popular book but by reading it, having enough patience to get almost to the middle, I understand that it's just a mediocre literary soap opera, not for my tastes. ...more
Norman Parker
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
John Jakes creates compelling characters weaving a captivating story, bringing history alive. He delivers exactly the book I wanted.

I wanted a story to bring alive the time of the US civil war. I wanted to better understand the mindset of the people. John Jakes brings the right amount of human weakness and strength to characters, letting us into their motivations in realistic fashion. I learned the stubbornness of the Southerners and the self-righteousness of the Northerners. I learned attitudes
Aug 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
North and South is the tale of two families, the Hazards of Pennsylvania and the Mains of South Carolina. Orry Main and George Hazard meet in their first year at West Point Academy and begin a life-long friendship - although that friendship will be sorely tempted as the debate over the rights to own slaves threatens to split the country in two. After their military service in the Mexican wars end, George returns to run the family's iron works and raise his family, while Orry returns to the Main ...more
Vicki Willis
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This by far was the longest book I have ever listened to on audible. It was well worth every minute. It was an entertaining story about 2 families over several generations. This is the first of a trilogy and this one took place in the years leading up to the civil war. The characters were well developed and there were ones I loved and ones I hated. I especially liked how the author wove the story together over several generations with the families intersecting in different ways. I also like the ...more
I have a lot of issues with this book. It seriously annoyed me in many ways.

The historical interpretation is just so disingenuous. It's as point for point conventionally bias as a school textbook. The history is all so one-dimensional. First I don't believe anywhere near that amount of people were opposed to slavery for moral reasons, with perhaps a few rare exceptions ,most Yankees were opposed to slavery for economic reasons, yet in the book tariffs are shown more as a secondary cause after m
Oct 12, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, hardcover
I'm not going to finish this, I've finally decided, and I'm sick of seeing it on my 'currently reading' list when I'm totally not. The mini-series outstrips the novel by miles--don't even bother, just go watch the mini-series.

Technically, this still counts as a 'read' book to me because I had already read it a long time ago and just didn't remember what it was like. Well, it's awful, in my opinion.
Tom Duggan
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I am a big John Jakes fan and he has written a masterful trilogy on the American Civil War. Any of John Jakes books are both educational and entertaining.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
EDIT: I'm changing my original rating. I was thinking about Catch-22 this morning which then led me to thinking about Madame Bovary and I realized that I gave this book the same rating I gave those, four stars. This is beyond ridiculous! Catch 22 was a wonderfully crafted book and Bovary used pacing like a scalpel, which relates directly to a complaint about this book. The pacing is so slapdash that I've never seen anything like it. I did really love some pieces but others were terrible and it w ...more
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historic-fiction
Wow, despite being a quick reader, this took nearly three weeks to read - it's an epic in every sense of the word! I think like a lot of people, I watched the TV series back when I was yeh-high, and I remember being totally besotted by it, even if the actual events that happened in it are a distant memory (I do remember that one of the characters rode a white horse with a dark grey mane - I really wanted that horse!).

Anyway - the book?

I enjoyed the read, although I'm glad that I had had a huge
Beth Bedee
I first saw the ABC mini-series in the mid '80s. It's still one of my favorites today. Then, I read the book when I was 19. John Jakes has such a knack for bringing history to life. He interweaves fictional with historical characters so easily. You get such a sense of the turbulence in the years leading up to the Civil War. This book and the entire trilogy is what prompted me to become a History major. This was my second time reading the book, and I loved it even better that the first because I ...more
Brecht Denijs
What a great book. I was first introduced to this series in the form of a costume drama on tv which my grandparents liked to watch. I enjoyed it as well so I decided to give the first book a go. Again the old saying is proven true: the book is always better. Such a well built story against a great historical background, well written, great variety of characters and a great dealing of entertainment from history and philosophy to sex and violence. It is an intruiging portrayel of the USA right bef ...more
Beth Sponzilli
This novel takes places before the Civil War, and ends right when it begins. There are 2 more in this series. Like all American south books centered on abolition, slavery, plantations, this one really encompasses all that and the building tensions of the upcoming war. It follows two families, one from the south and one from the north thru about 20 years. Their lives are connected through many obstacles, romances, friendships, rivals, ...A big read, but really well written and researched.
Jan 24, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-own, 2008
I learned about this book, and the other two that compose this series, by chance. I was watching TV when I came across its adaptation, which my parents remembered of seeing it and, tried to portray the American Civil War. Since I know little about it, I thought it would be interesting reading it.

The story of this volume revolves around the years before the civil war, giving the reader a chance to know two families, the Hazards and the Mains, which came from two distinct backgrounds. The first fa
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Back in 1985, I was one of millions who swooned over the southern charm of Patrick Swayze's character, Orry Main, in the television adaption of John Jakes' novel North and South. I still have a soft spot for the story, and thought it was high time I read the book.

Once I started reading I was immediately immersed in the world of the Hazards and the Mains. The story, in case you don't know it, involves two young men who meet at West Point as cadets and become lifelong friends. Orry Main is a south
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very informative, yet entertaining... for the most part. Mister Jakes must have either had four teenage daughters at home while writing this, or was used to sitting around and watching all the daytime soaps with his wife. I tell ya, I’ve never sat through so much catty drama in my life! (Naa, it wasn’t that bad… I’m just trying to make a joke.) But I can say at least that the petty drama taking place in the first 2/3 of the book escalates very drastically in the last 1/3, so I guess it pays off. ...more
John Harder
My girlfriend recommended this book to me, and I am appalled that her lily-white and pure hands ever held such a dirty book. There is plenty of stirring of loins and heaving of breasts in this bodice ripper. Jakes throws in a history lesson so you do not feel as guilty about a guilty pleasure. Might I add, I plan on reading the other two books in the trilogy.

No one would ever accuse Jakes of writing literature, but this novel accomplishes its purpose. His primary goal is light entertainment sur
Sep 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second time around reading this wonderful novel, preceding the The Civil War, of the Mains of South Carolina and the Hazards of Pennsylvania. I enjoyed it just as much if not more than the last time.
Eric Bjerke
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
This helped me discover the joy of historical fiction. I really learned a lot about slavery and the civil war while enjoying good stories. I am glad I never saw the mini-series.
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Random Reads : Chapters 45-58 2 34 Sep 22, 2020 11:56AM  
Random Reads : Chapters 58-END 7 40 Sep 21, 2020 09:29PM  
Random Reads : Chapters 33-44 3 27 Sep 09, 2020 04:01AM  
Random Reads : Chapters 25-32 3 26 Aug 30, 2020 05:36PM  
Random Reads : Chapters 17-24 3 32 Aug 22, 2020 06:05PM  
Random Reads : Chapters 7-16 8 35 Aug 17, 2020 07:26PM  
Random Reads : Prologue-Chapter 6 10 57 Aug 10, 2020 08:47AM  

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John William Jakes, the author of more than a dozen novels, is regarded as one of today’s most distinguished writers of historical fiction. His work includes the highly acclaimed Kent Family Chronicles series and the North and South Trilogy. Jakes’s commitment to historical accuracy and evocative storytelling earned him the title of “the godfather of historical novelists” from the Los Angeles Time ...more

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