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The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War
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The Year of Jubilo: A Novel of the Civil War

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  442 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
From the author of the award-winning novel The Black Flower comes a novel about a Confederate soldier returning home to find that life-and love-will never be the same.

On a balmy spring day in 1865 Gawain Harper trudges toward his home in Cumberland, Mississippi, where three years earlier he had boarded a train carrying the latest enlistees in the Mississippi Infantry. Unmo
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 23rd 2000 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2000)
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Carol Peoples I have the exact same question!! Harry sees not only Lilah's blind son who we now is dead, but he also sees a soldier he fought with. They are getting…moreI have the exact same question!! Harry sees not only Lilah's blind son who we now is dead, but he also sees a soldier he fought with. They are getting ready to board a ferry (The river Styx?). There did not seem to be an incident in the book that would have caused Harry's death, so I wonder if he was a ghost/spirit the whole time- caring about Gawain and helping him reunite with Morgan, as well as, in a way, helping Molochi heal. (less)
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5+ stars. Among the best Civil War epics ever written.

It is 1865 and the war is over. The Confederate soldiers are going home at last, among them Gawain Harper. He has made it through the war with the daguerreotype of Morgan Rhea in his pocket, but he does not know if she is waiting for him and he is afraid that the women he will find at the end of this journey will not be the woman he left behind. Indeed, he knows not one person in this world is the same, especially not himself.

Bahr, who, in h
Diane Barnes
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So the war is over, and the men are coming home. Walking home, for the most part, if you had been a soldier and not part of the cavalry. This after walking hundreds of miles to fight battles that were brutal and bloody. Penniless, weaponless, starving and injured in some way unless you were very lucky. Walking home to towns and homes that might have been burned to the ground, to relatives and friends and wives and lovers that might or might not still be alive, or sane, and were surely hungry and ...more
Jul 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: books that transcend their genre
This was a beautiful book that was way more than a post-Civil War piece of fiction. I can still remember passages from the book that make me cry. Bahr allows us to not just see but to know his characters. I have met him once a long time ago and keep missing chances to go to his book talks recently. I would love to hear him do a reading.
I'll be frank, if I hadn't already read The Black Flower, I probably wouldn't have liked this book and Howard Bahr as much as I do. That being said, this is another wonderful addition to Bahr's list. He included gut-wrenching images and unforgettable characters. I have to admit, I was a little wary starting this one because although its subtitle calls it a "novel of the Civil War," the story takes place after the war's end. I was afraid that too much of the novel would be spent in flashbacks. Ne ...more
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
This is a beautifully written, haunting novel of one southern solier's return to Mississipi after the surrender. The author portrays the conflicting emotions of the defeated rebels in a quite intelligent and poignant way.
Beth Farley
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think if I could only read books by Howard Bahr the rest of my life, I would be completely satisfied. This is a quote from a review I read that sums up my feelings for this book "It is a joy to read. I laughed out loud at parts and was surprised at the brutality and abruptness of other parts. I even read parts out loud to my wife." (I did actually read one part out loud to my husband too) I also read this during the same time period of the year that the novel actually takes place, mid to late ...more
Tony Taylor
Jan 21, 2010 rated it liked it
The Year of Jubilo, set in Cumberland, Mississippi, in the summer of 1865, is the account of some who passed through that smoke.
A reluctant soldier, Gawain Harper was goaded into joining the Confederate forces in 1862 by the rabid secessionist Judge Rhea, father of the woman Harper loves. After three years of fighting the Union, the former professor of literature is now trudging home defeated and confused, weighed down by the thought that he is "walking through someone else's memory." The South
Robert ≈ Brinkmeyer
These words apply to all three novels of Bahr's Civil War Trilogy. I'm posting the same review for each ot the three novels:

Bahr's depiction of war and the battlefield experience in his Civil War Trilogy is heavily influenced, I believe, by the Vietnam War (Bahr is a Vietnam Vet). Bahr portrays soldiers whose loyalties rarely extend beyond the few buddies at their shoulders and whose concerns rarely reach beyond basic needs. There’s not much difference between what we generally find in the ficti
Jan 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Howard Bahr is a master of the English language! I am sure that a lot of the low ratings are because it was too descriptive for most modern readers. But for anyone who wants more than just a good story this is a great book. It is slow in a good way. Take your time and let the writing soak into your soul. I read parts of it two or three times just because it was so well done.
Howard Bahr is an amazing writer. I haven't finished this yet, and so far am not as in love with it as I was The Black Flower, still--he places you so well in the period, and his quirky characters are well realized and deep. Why isn't the man better known?
Magnificent. This is the second of Bahr’s three Civil War novels—beginning with The Black Flower and ending with The Judas Field—and the second that I've read, though by accident I'm going in reverse order. The three are loosely connected, as all are about Mississippians from a town called Cumberland and their experiences during and after the war, but are standalone novels and not really a series.

The Year of Jubilo is the story of Gawain Harper, a former professor or literature at the Cumberlan
Corey Ryan
Jan 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is "The Year of Jubilo" better than "Cold Mountain" or "Andersonville?" No. Is it better than "The Black Flower?" I don't know? I definitely enjoyed reading it and respected the way Bahr treated his themes of freedom and honor and just what exactly it would have meant to be a Northerner vs. a Southerner. All throughout my childhood I equated the North as "good." School taught me (and I believe still teaches) that the North freed the slaves, fought for humanity and civil rights and anything else ...more
Passages I Love:

"How could anyone explain...the random violence of a burning, or the joy that great acts of destruction brought to the sould? When a soldier, Gawain himself knew the exhiliration of torching a house, of watching the flames rise to his bidding, and in those moments (so frightening because they were so rational) he would gladly have burned buildings, towns, cities, whole civilizations--would have laid waste the earth with flames and artillery if he could" (21-2). So Faulkneresque

Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Year of Jubilo is the second book by Bahr that I've read. In fact, I bought this one because I enjoyed his first novel, The Black Flower so much. This book is diferent the The Black Flower , which was heavy on texture and feel. This book is every bit the equal of the first, but much more focused on plot and theme.

So, what is the theme? It's in the title. The Year of Jubilo refers to the Old Testament Hebrew tradition called the Year of Jubilee. Every 7 years, all slaves were forever r
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bahr did an excellent novel with Black Flower using historical facts from the Civil War and he does it again with The Year of Jubilo. The story revolves around Gawain Harper as he walks his way back home to Cumberland MS at the end of the Civil War. A professor who did not want to fight but did and now, after three long and brutal years is going home to a memory that is no longer. The war was harsh enough but Bahr also gives insight into the so called "Rangers" who didn't fight in the regular ar ...more
Thought I'd add this now because I'm surprised by it. It's a pick for my book club this month and, not generally being a fan of historical fiction, I expected to struggle through it. But I like the writing quite a bit and so far the story has kept me interested.

The real reason I want to post, though, is to say this: Whether you want to read Year of Jubilo or not, find it next time you're in the library and read the first chapter (which I think is a prologue). It's a writing lesson: how a blind b
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 2nd book in the Civil War trilogy that Bahr has written. He is an amazing writer and paints pictures with his words, and I found reading the first book, easy and enjoyable. I think if I had taken a break between reading the first and THE YEAR OF JUBILO I would have liked it more. Bahr continues his incredible "command" of the english language and the book is beautifully written but I got bored with all the descripive narrative and slow pace of the story. I will wait a while to read t ...more
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
audiobook - Beautiful language, evocative setting, very interesting odd-ball characters, well-read. The title is somewhat misleading, as the story itself only covers about 3 days as Garwin Harper returns home to Cumberland, Mississippi after the Civil War. Lots of thoughts on death, loss, honor, good/evil, rebirth, and how to adjust to extreme social/personal change from many different points of view.
Feb 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Another excellent piece of Civil War fiction from Bahr. Beautiful prose and a plot that begins with a long slow burn into a raging fire.

Four instead of five stars because I didn't quite understand a few pieces of the conclusion, and it's not quite as perfect as The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War was. But still a great read.
Sharon Zink
Sep 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is a novel about the Civil War, and it is a showcase of excellent writing, but other than that, I can't say much about it. There were too many characters, and the prose was chopped up into too many vignettes which were too often, in my opinion, unconnected or hard to follow. I have yet to figure out how the first little chapter related to the rest of the story. Try it. You may be able to figure it out.
A novel exploring the challenges of surviving in 1865 Mississippi among physically and emotionally crippled soldiers of both sides. The South where they returned bore little resemblance to the one they left. A painful reading experience, The Year of Jubilo puts the reader right into the scene of death, broken minds and hearts, a world turned upside down. Read it, if you dare.
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really well written book with graphic and disturbing scenes emphasizing the theme about the horrors of the Civil War, and its aftermath. Interesting characters, although the the number of mentally disturbed characters was somewhat unsettling; again that imbalance seemed to push the theme that war breaks people down and changes them forever.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another terrific novel by Howard Bahr. I don't understand why Mr. Bahr isn't better known. I love the way he blends beautifully descriptive prose, symbolism, the supernatural and raw emotion to tell his stories. I would love to see what a talented film director like Steven Spielberg could do with this book.
Colleen Boyer
Growing up in Virginia, the flagship of the Confederacy, I have a passionate interest in the Civil War. This book is the last of the trilogy (read out of order) I have enjoyed. The three books inform the reader of the pain, heartache, and brutality of that war without romanticizing it. I loved it. Howard Bahr is a beautiful, thoughtful, and poetic writer.
Wendy Geller
The author has an unusual writing style and is heavy on description; this at times had me drifting mentally a bit. Interesting characters. I'm not sure I liked it enough to try his other books, but may change my mind.
Charles Cummings
Sep 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a fiction book dealing with a country in Tennessee right after the end of the American Civil War. I found it a little hard to stay focused the first half. However, the last half really brought the characters together.
Michael Bell
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am intrigued by Civil War novels. This one was based in the South and recounted some of the devastation that the war wrought on planters and the landed class. Deserters were treated almost as bad as slaves. Almost. It was true to the time period and very realistic.
Linda B.D.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not all about the Civil War, but more concerned with one man. He returns home is find many crises. His love, romance & plans have changed. He tried to face many challenges: Love, romance, hate, war, revenge, & many things in this book I didn't see coming. A good read.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable. It was philosophical, spiritual, historical, and the prose was beautiful. Very enjoyable story of life in south immediately after the civil war.
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Marvelous writer. Great study of Civil War and the human condition.
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Howard Bahr (1946- ) is an American novelist, born in Meridian, Mississippi. Bahr, who served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and then worked for several years on the railroads, enrolled at the University of Mississippi in the early 1970s when he was in his late 20s. He received his B.A. and M.A. from Ole Miss and served as th
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