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The Disagreement

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  137 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
It is April 17, 1861—the day that Virginia secedes from the Union and the sixteenth birthday of John Alan Muro. As the Commonwealth erupts in celebration, young Muro sees his dream of attending medical school in Philadelphia shattered by the sudden reality of war.

Muro’s father, believing that the Disagreement will pass, sends his son instead to Charlottesville. Jefferson’s
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Simon & Schuster
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Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: UVA alums
Shelves: uva-mfas
I wrote this review for Amazon... hence the more formal tone than my usual write-ups

Nick Taylor's debut is a rare find--a compelling tale of the civil war from the civilian perspective. John Muro arrives at the University of Virginia to begin his medical studies sure of his convictions and beliefs--and as the war wages on he begins to question the fervor he first felt upon hearing news of secession. By focusing on the home front, the female characters are just as prominent (and engaging) as the
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
A charming first novel on a fascinating topic--what was it like to be a first year student at the University of Virginia, interested in a career in medicine, in 1861? The chapters are many and usually quite short, so it reads a bit like a screenplay with dialogue rather than a more conventional work of historical fiction. I found myself caught up in the drama of the characters' lives, and the hero's girlfriend and college roommate were both intriguing in their capabilities and activities. The mo ...more
Aug 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was an engaging look at the experience of a doctor in Charlottesville during the Civil War. Having some knowledge and experience myself with the area (Orange, my home town was mentioned because of its importance as a railway junction), images of the University of Virginia and the surrounding counties were natural. What I found so delightful was the way the author captured the style, vocabulary and candence of the speech of Virginians at that time (many hints of which still prevade our local ...more
Apr 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I picked up this book purely by the cover. For some reason I thought it would be dry but from the first couple of paragraphs, I couldn't put it down. The prose and pacing made it a delight to read. I finished it in one flight to California. I found myself not liking the ending but then I realized I didn't like it because I didn't want the book to end. I wanted to know more about what happened.

Jennifer Kim
Aug 31, 2010 rated it liked it
I started this book a couple of months ago and just now finished it (I read multiple books at the same time). The fact that it took this long for me to finish says something about how it really wasn't grabbing me, but the fact that I finished it all says that it still had something that gave me hope. The thing got better then the ending just utterly disappointed me. I'm not sure what the main character was feeling or what the author was trying to say.

I did find some aspects of the book i
A different book about the Civil War. Told through the eyes of a young man who attended the University of Virginia's medical school during the conflict, it focuses on the homefront experiences of Southerners during the war rather than military movements and battles. Living in Virginia, I am familiar with the university and much of the area in which this story takes places and I enjoyed this book very much.
May 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Having moved to Virginia and always having enjoyed history, I really enjoyed this work of historical fiction. Taylor does a great job of bringing you into the times without truely depressing the reader. He also does a very good job of character development. You don't always agree with or even like the protagonists. A good story and a good read.
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The American Civil War
Kerry Kenney
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Excellent fiction, with great historical accuracy which is very important to me. Reminds me of "the widow of the south".
Julia Nixon
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I enjoyed reading this well written and well researched novel that tells the story of a young man from Lynchburg becomes a doctor I Charlottesville during the Civil War.
Kathy Apple
The best part of this Historical Novel was the descriptions of the medical issues/conditions of the Confederacy. The story, however, was frustrating and not satisfying on any level. The "lady of interest" wasn't interesting at all and just plain annoying and I could not understand what possible interest our "hero" (the medical student/doctor) could have in her.

I love both non-fiction and fiction relating to the Civil War but this book took several starts for me to finally get moving on it to the
Dec 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, used-to-own
I don't know a huge amount about the American Civil War, other than that the South seems to have come out of it with the best accents and the better music. In contrast, they do appear to have the worst of the weather, when you consider hurricanes in Florida and the events in New Orleans a few years ago. Given that neither accents nor the weather tend to play a huge part in a novel, "The Disagreement" was going to be something different from anything I know.

John Alan Muro is a young boy when Virg
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill Glose
Aug 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Though this book uses the medical school and the Civil War as backdrops, it does not detail the fighting of particular battles or go into depth on medical procedures. This is more a coming-of-age story where the central character, John Alan Muro, turns 16 on the same day that Virginia votes to secede from the Union: April 17, 1861. In an attempt to shield him from conscription, his father sends him off to the University of Virginia to become a doctor. Soon after, the Charlottesville Hospital is ...more
Apr 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Civil War buffs
Shelves: fiction, history
I feel like this book should have been better than it was. The subject matter is very interesting--the story follows a young man in medical school in Virginia when the Civil War begins. He is quickly thrown into the deep end and must essentially become a doctor under very difficult conditions, simultaneously grappling with strained family relationships and a challenging romance. For some reason, though, I felt like the narrator really held me at arm's length and I wasn't able to care as much as ...more
Alanna Angel
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I wanted to really like this book. As a physician, I was interested in medical training during a time very different from my own. The book had a little of everything- romance, science, war, family. Yet, I didn't feel the author developed any of those subjects in a rewarding way. I think part of the problem was I really did not like or relate to any of the characters. I did finish it, but I was happy for it to end. On a positive note, I actually listened to it on audio CD and the narrator did a g ...more
Sue Myers
Interesting historical fiction from the viewpoint of a young medical doctor trainee attending the Univ. of Virginia during the Civil War. Medical students are pressed into service at the Charlottesville General Hospital and while there John Alan saves the life of a Northern lieutenant. He wins the affections of Lorrie Wigfall. Almost runs away to renew his friendship with Lt. Stone in Philadelphia at the end of the war. Terrible relationship with his family which was never resolved. Best part of ...more
Michael Kucharski
May 18, 2008 rated it liked it
The Disagreement by Nick Taylor, predominately it takes place in Charlottesville at the Charlottesville General Hospital during the American Civil War. Even after finishing it, I am unsure if the title referred to the North and State struggle, John Alan Muro and his family or he and his fiancee Miss Lorrie Wigfal. It is nicely written and as both good characterization as well developed character identification. Being a big fan of Ken Burns’ Civil War and history in general, I enjoyed it but I am ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
L’itinéraire d’un jeune Virginien qui fait des études de médecine pour éviter l’appel aux drapeaux pendant la guerre de sécession. Ses études seront nécessairement plus pratiques que théoriques. Un bon récit qu’entrave cependant une intrigue amoureuse controuvée qui n’ajoute strictement rien à l’intérêt de l’histoire et débouche sur un dénouement arrangé avec le gars des vues. J’ai tout de même apprécié l’angle d’approche de la guerre vue de l’infirmerie plutôt que du champ de bataille.
Jul 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Told from the viewpoint of a young Virginia doctor studying/working at the University of Viriginia during the civil war. The book starts as John Alan Muro celebrates his 16th birthday on the day Virginia secedes from the Union and follows him to UVA to study medicine where he is quickly pressed into service as a real doctor. A story of love, loyalty and sacrifice as a boy grows into a man during a time of war.
May 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: junk-food-lit
I received an Advanced Reading Copy of this book a while back while I worked at Borders and finally got around to reading it. It's a fairly light read, a story of a young Virginian who seeks to enter the medical profession against his father's wishes at the outbreak of the Civil War. Appropriately grim at some times, this was nevertheless an enjoyable enough book, good enough to help me get through a rainy day . . .
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Well written, fun to read. Good story, I like that this civil war book was completely different from others as it was written from the perspective of a medical student and had more to do with his personal growth than the war itself. Lots of crazy words i had to look up(which was interesting not annoying because i could still get the jist of it) so i would recommend reading on an ereader.
Allen Jeffreys
A very light, easy read of the story of a young man who entered the practice of medicine at the beginning of the Civil War and became a professional by the war's end There is the story of the relationships between the main character and various other characters who appeared throughout the novel.
Nov 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, fiction
It was a good read. A bit disjointed in places, but manages to pull together at the end. If you like American Civil War fiction, this should be on your tier-two list.
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a very good book. It took place during the Civil War, and brought to life what it was like to live in those times.
Jennifer Wieland
Mar 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book when I first read it and the characters have stayed with me. Great historical fiction, with edge.
Jul 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Ohhhh this book is terrible. This book is one giant cliche. The writing is terrible. The plot is childish. Just awful. Oh, and it's set at UVA.
Oct 07, 2008 is currently reading it
for wahoos
Apr 22, 2009 added it
novel,1st edition,signed
Nov 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Charming book. Strangely upbeat and optimistic for a civil war story. Reader did a nice job.
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Nick Taylor's debut novel, The Disagreement, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008. He has received fellowships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the William R. Kenan, Jr., Trust for Historic Preservation. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Virginia, he is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose State University and lives in the Bay ...more
More about Nick Taylor...
“He was a consummate politician-- which is to say he was given to expedient speech and lacked even a vestigial spine.” 8 likes
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