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White Doves At Morning

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,018 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
For years, critics have acclaimed the power of James Lee Burke's writing, the luminosity of his prose, the psychological complexity of his characters, the richness of his landscapes. Over the course of twenty novels and one collection of short stories, he has developed a loyal and dedicated following among both critics and general readers. His thrillers, featuring either L ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 22nd 2002 by Simon & Schuster
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Andrew Smith
JLB is a writer I return to time and again. He's known primarily for his crime fiction series featuring sometime cop Dave Robicheaux, based in New Iberia, Louisiana, but also for a group of novels featuring members of the Holland family. His writing is literary and his style brutal; his characters are bold and bad and even those on the right side of the law tend to be seriously flawed. It really is work of the highest order with complex plots and obscure words that drive me to park a dictionary ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great civil war historical fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend. I couldn't help loving the two main female characters. Burke is so detailed that you get the full experience of the place and people. This is a stand alone book that I finished in a day. I actually listened to the audio in which Will Patton is the reader. He was fabulous.
Esther Bradley-detally
Superb; wonderful writing; tales of suffering from the South. How long does it take for people to realize the atrocities committed and those that lie in the future. I read out loud the first two paragraphs to a writing group I lead last night; good writing, gripping and tragic story, but humor also; Willie incredible character! All good. Read in one sitting
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and would recommend if you like to read about the Civil War period and like a little grit. I feel that this was a true depiction of the life and times of all the people in that period. Not just the Southerners, but the Northerners as well. I felt moved by some of the words in this book. To me he writes with words of a poet and very literary in nature. It is even quite possible you may need a dictionary at times, but if read in the context can surely figure it out.

I have read m
If you enjoy good historical fiction, you'll enjoy this story, set in the Civil War in Louisiana. Willie Burke helps a mulatto slave named Flower Jamison learn to read. He also gets into trouble and then joins the war with his friends, Robert Perry and Jim S. During the four years of the war, each character tells their story. Flower's battles with her white father and being taunted, Abigail Dowling, an abolitionist, who helps free slaves and the KKK, Willie's years in the war, amongst other char ...more
Kathleen Valentine
I wish I could give it 10 stars. This is James Lee Burke's novel about the Civil War and two of his ancestors who fought in it.
Jeffrey Hammerhead
This book was completely different from the other books Burke wrote. This one is not a mystery, but more of a story of one of his relatives before, during, and after the Civil War. The descriptions and characters are fantastic.
Marge Begley
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent war scenes - graphic!
Nice departure from JLB usual PI books.
Sep 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
White Doves at Morning is a historical fiction novel, published in 2002 and set around New Iberia, Louisiana, during the Civil War. Of course, since it occurs during the Civil War, it does not include Burke's reknowned Dave Robicheaux. Instead, this book focuses on Burke's ancestry. Willie Burke is the son of an Irish immigrant who joins the Confederate forces more out of fear than support for the "cause." Robert Perry, Burke's friend, is the son of slave owners and is a staunch supporter of Sec ...more
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having discovered this great writer through his Dave Robicheaux and Billy Bob Holland series, I was intrigued by this stand alone historical novel set in the Civil War. A beautifully written story of Flower Jamison, an abused slave girl in Louisiana who is taught to read by Willie Burke, a gregarious and reluctant Confederate recruit, and their relationships with the Quaker raised Yankee Abigail Dowling and well heeled son of slave owners, Robert Parry, this is rich with Burke's distinctive lyri ...more
Fran Severn
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the real Gone With the Wind. No romance; no glory. The story of a small Louisiana town during and immediately after the Civil War. Burke bases the story on his own family (it's set in his town and nearby) -- which is not unlike GWTW, but this has a lot less romantic elements. It's a tough story about tough people in tough times. Burke is a master of description; you can feel rivulets of sweat running down your back and hear gravel crunching underfoot -- he's that good at placing you in t ...more
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's a contrived effort to deal with the impact of the Civil War on the inhabitamts of one small town in Louisiana. The lead character is an ancestor of Burke's, but all the characters are wooden and stereotypical. The situatons are manipulated to allow Burke to ennoble his characters. The material was rich and could have been used more effectively if Burke had not tried so hard to make his ancestor, Willie Burke, a man of mixed mind about slavery and the causes of the war. The internal conflict ...more
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: burke
6th from burke for me...2002...white doves at morning, a hardcover version...he thanks a pamela arceneaux and a c.j. labauve for their help w/historical detail...

a dedication: for dracos and carrie burke

story begins:
the black woman's name was sarie, and when she crashed out the door of the cabin at the end of the slave quarters into the fading winter light, her lower belly bursting with the child that had already broken her water, the aftermath of the ice storm and the sheer desolate sweep o
Kathleen O'Nan
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not believe I've ever read anything by James Lee Burke before, but believe me, I certainly will now. This man can really write! Not only can he write incredibly graphic descriptions of what he wants us to see, he also can write the feelings he wants us to feel in the form of the dialogue of his characters. A riveting story. I wish it were mandatory for all high school seniors; a few less of them might join the military and die in our multitude of wars.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
I give this story a 3.5 but the writing style a 5!! James Lee Burke has an exceptional way of describing things in this book, and I truly fell in love with that. It is a gift to be able to paint a picture so detailed that the reader can see, smell, taste, hear and feel the story so vividly. I was very impressed.
Kristen Heitzmann
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-love
Simply splendid as performed by Will Patton. Based on true historical characters, this story of war is brutally real, but profoundly moving. What an artist is James Lee Burke.
Sandra Petree
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is beautifully written Civil War historical fiction involving two of the author's relatives.
JLB uses wonderful words to create scenes that stay with the reader.
Larry A. Hunter
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never Disappoints

An earlier work but still well up to the caliber of Mr. Burke 's best - another fine story, highly recommended.
Mr. Harry Grose
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Lee Burke, love you, great story about the Civil War, friendship, human tragedy, and life.
Jane Lopes
Most of this author's books are detective stories. This one is a Civil War tale set in New Iberia, Louisiana, the author's hometown. One of the characters is an ancestor. I stayed with it because the period interests me so much, but basically Burke should stick to his detective character.
Mary Newcomb
This is a departure for James Lee Burke, a tale about Louisiana set around the Civil War. His characters are all well developed with many intriguing aspects, especially around issues of peace and justice.
Jeff Dickison
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another good book by America's best writer. Burke examines the Civil War and its immediate aftermath through they eyes of some of his relatives and some other very well drawn characters. I suspect most of the book is fiction, but the wrap up of what the characters did in later life is probably mostly true. Highly recommended, especially to Burke lovers.
Jan 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this book 3.5 stars if that was possible. James Lee Burke is known for his thrillers but I have not read any of them so he is a totally new author to me. This book is a Civil War story that follows a number of characters from New Iberia, Louisiana during and following that awful conflict. Willie Burke is an Irish immigrant who joins the Confederate cause so he won’t look like a coward more than any really love for the Confederate cause. He is quite a troublemaker prior to the ...more
"Drawing on his personal family history, James Lee Burke crafts a story of enormous scope about three best friends from Louisiana who -- despite their own misgivings about the "Cause" -- enlist in the Confederate Army and set off to war. Willie Burke, the character based on Burke's own great, great uncle, befriends an attractive and uncommonly bright young slave and teaches her how to read in violation of local laws. White Doves at Morning is a rich love story set in a time of upheaval that affe ...more
Donna Davis
At the end, I found myself thinking, "...and I read this because?"

A lot of the time someone will ask me whether what I am reading is good, and I will say, "I don't know. I haven't seen how it ends yet." When all was over and done, I was still casting about for a protagonist. I kept thinking I knew, and then everything would shift.

I sound like this is more of a two star book, so let me explain why it gets so much credit. It's a complex tale of a lot of lives that are braided together. I appreciat
Dec 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, audiblecom
Downloaded from

Narrator: Will Patton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio, 2002
Length: 6 hours and 56 min. (abridged)

Publisher's Summary
In a startling departure, James Lee Burke has written an epic story of love, hate, and survival set against the tumultuous background of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

At the center of the tale are James Lee Burke's own ancestors, Robert Perry, who comes from a slave-owning family of wealth and privilege, and Willie Burke, born of Irish immigrants,
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2011
Count me as an unabashed James Lee Burke fan. He is among the finest mystery writers out there. I always feel like I’m in Louisiana when I’m reading one of his books – the heat and humidity, the cane breaks (I think that's how it's spelled) and bayous. He’s a wonderful writer who paints pictures with words.

White Doves at Morning is a departure, not from Louisiana (yes, I know he has set some of his mysteries in Montana, but I’ve never read them) but from genre. The setting is the Civil War and
Nov 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Civil war buffs
James Lee Burke takes us back to the 1860's as he weaves the tale of two young Southerners, Robert Perry (Burke's great-grandfather) and Willie Burke (his great-great uncle) as they are drawn into the Civil War. Utilizing the journals of his great-great uncle Willie, we experience the shattering reality of a war fought on U.S. soil that pitted friend against friend and brother against brother.

Two characters in the novel, Ira Jamison and Clay Hatcher, certainly must be composites of several peop
Rosina Lippi
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might best be called creative non-fiction, as Burke has written a novelized version of his own family history and an ancestor, Willie Burke, the son of Irish immigrants who settled in New Iberia, Louisiana.

Willie Burke -- impulsive and idealistic -- is drawn into the Civil War with his best friends, despite his doubts about the cause and his dislike of slavery. The story moves back and forth between his experiences (including the bloody battle at Shiloh) and what's going on in New Iberia,
Oct 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a number of Burke's mysteries and enjoy them mainly for their setting--New Orleans and Louisiana, a setting which only adds to the mystery of his story. In this book, Burke turns to the Civil War as it was fought in Louisiana. That it is drawn from family history adds to the story. Louisiana in the war was on the sidelines, as the main armies were fighting in Virginia and Tennessee for much of the war. Fairly early in the war, New Orleans, the South's biggest seaport, was captured b ...more
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James Lee Burke is an American author best known for his mysteries, particularly the Dave Robicheaux series. He has twice received the Edgar Award for Best Novel, for Black Cherry Blues in 1990 and Cimarron Rose in 1998.

Burke was born in Houston, Texas, but grew up on the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast. He attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Missouri, receiving
More about James Lee Burke...
“said. “Whatdid you say?” she said. He shifted his rifle to his left hand and spun her in the opposite direction, then pushed her hard between the shoulder blades, snapping her head back. When she” 0 likes
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