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A Separate Country

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,713 ratings  ·  293 reviews
A Separate Country by Robert Hicks, Grand Central Publishing, 2009, First Edition, First printing, NEW/NEW. This is a NEW Hardcover Novel. A stranger in a strange, beautiful, and confounding town, General Hood is ready to find happiness and comfort after losing a war and becoming one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army. An Awesome Historical Accounti ...more
Hardcover, 419 pages
Published September 23rd 2009 by Grand Central Publishing (first published September 2nd 2009)
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3.27  · 
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 ·  1,713 ratings  ·  293 reviews

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Jul 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book, written by Robert Hicks, is a fictional account of one of the Confederacy's most controversial generals.... John Bell Hood. Hood was promoted by Robert E. Lee to the rank of major general after the Battle of Antietam. He suffered a crippling injury to his left arm at the battle of Gettysburg and lost his right leg at the Battle of Chicamauga. Hood became controversial because some felt that his aggressiveness in battle led to his making very reckless decisions which ended up killing t ...more
Apr 05, 2010 rated it did not like it
I really tried to like this book, or even to finish it, but I just had to give up when I realized after struggling through about half of it that I was unconsciously skimming. I picked it up, having read Hicks excellent Widow of the South. Unfortunately, rather than a similar book with characters you grew to know and fascinating historical detail, it was a tedious, slogging through the self-flagellating "journals" of John Bell Hood and his wife Anna Marie. I never got to know either character apa ...more
Feb 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
I feel compelled to make a comment about a book I rated so poorly. I typically like historical fiction, and having been to New Orleans many times, the setting sounded appealing also, BUT I simply could not made myself care about any of the book's main characters -- and I tried, I did. Anna Marie, in particular, came across as unbelievable to me -- I had trouble believing a girl of her social class would have been allowed so much freedom as a child (which is central to one of the sub-plots). And, ...more
Jun 16, 2011 rated it did not like it
Even a hard core Civil War fan would find this book difficult to finish. Robert Hicks's first book, WIDOW OF THE SOUTH, was excellent. I was very disappointed in A SEPARATE COUNTRY. It dragged on and on, and soon you don't even care what happens to the characters. As if that weren't bad enough, when you are finished, you still aren't sure what happened to them and why. I continued reading, thinking that it HAS to get better. It did not. Don't bother reading.
John Hood
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
FICTION Miami Herald

Review | A Civil War figure battles misfortune, himself in 'A Separate Country'

Battered Gen. John Bell Hood settles in New Orleans, fathers 11 children and learns from the errors of his ways.


A SEPARATE COUNTRY. Robert Hicks. Grand Central. 432 pages. $25.99

There may be more famous or heroic generals in Civil War history. But there is not a Civil War general whose life was as tragic as that of John Bell Hood, who lost the Bat
Nov 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
There were some things I liked about the book. The characters were well-drawn, and the Hoods are interesting people. But I thought the premise of the book was just too unlikely. The book was told through the journals of three different people. I know people keep journals, but not in the kind of detail in this book. The book was just way too long. I mean, how does a woman with eleven children (and no servants or modern convenciences) find time to write in a journal? She even keeps writing at leng ...more
Saskia Marijke Niehorster-Cook
After having traveled to new Orleans for the first time last fall, I was stunned by the European flavor this city possesses, and yet it is unlike Europe in many ways as well. It also shares some of the flavor I enjoyed while living in the Caribbean.It is an amalgamation of places and people who live side by side not always bearing each others interests as their priorities, but somehow still getting by.
A Separate Country captures the flavor of this place, the richness of life and the reality tha
Avid Series Reader
A Separate Country by Robert Hicks is set in post-Civil-War New Orleans. CSA General John Bell Hood commanded the Battle of Franklin, where thousands died; years later he becomes introspective as his life comes to an end.

The tedious tale of misery, cruelty and perversion was a chore to read, taking weeks to finish, when I usually read 2 books per week. The beginning is a telling preview: the book starts with John Bell Hood and his wife Anna Marie dying/dead from yellow fever, in poverty and dis
Sep 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
2.5, but since I had to really force myself to finish, 2.

Granted, I listened to this via audiobook, which might have hurt my perception of this book. The voices narrating the story were soft and low drawls that easily lulled me into sleep or lethargy. I picked it up at the end of April but it took me until the end of May, simply because I found interest in other books I wanted to read more.

It's an interesting perspective of the South, one that is often forgotten in the stories of the War of Nort
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
The Separate Country was powerful, moving piece of brillant work set in journal form. It was more of a psycological study of a man-John Bell Hood and his journey to redemption and atonement. Atonement from the War and all that went with it... lives lost & left on the battlefield, lives forever changed including his. The Indian Wars before the War began... his cowardness, the murders of the innocents. Then his life & family's lives in New Orleans - from having much to losing it all includ ...more
Maria Luongo
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really tried to enjoy this novel, but I just had to put it down without finishing. There were some nice points, but they were few and far between. The characters seemed so unrealistic and the plot dragged on.
I always love a book with a strong sense of place. In fact some of my favorite books seem to have this quality. The quality of evoking a place and using that place as if it were also a character in the book, psycho geography, how a place influences its characters. That is why I like the Alexandria quartet so much and books like Istanbul. They have a sense of place. This book achieves that perfectly in evoking New Orleans right after the civil war. The sights, sounds and smells of New Orleans com ...more
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really liked The Widow of the South and was excited when I saw that Robert Hicks had published a new book. This book does not disappoint. Set in New Orleans in the Reconstruction South, Confederate General John Bell Hood is trying to reinvent himself, deal with the demons of the Civil War, and rescue his reputation. Hood, for whom the Texas Army base is named, was a tragic and extremely controversial commander in the Confederate Army. He lost the use of his left arm because of wounds received ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
While this book was somewhat entertaining, it was a lot of work to stay engaged reading it. it is not nearly as "tightly" written as Widow of the South, Robert Hicks' other historical fiction. There was so much extraneous stuff going on, I sometimes lost the thread of what I was reading about. Was it murder, was it the thugs, was it yellow fever? Who were the bad guys, who were the good? And I thought I might be reading more about the actual General John Bell Hood. I wanted to know more about th ...more
May 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really hate to bash this author, as I saw him on CBS "Sunday Morning" earlier this week. He does tremendous work in trying to save Civil War battlegrounds. Sadly, I really didn't like this book. It was a tale of misery and woe from start to finish, without much of interest in between. I'm not a speed reader by any means, but it seemed I would never finish this book. I think I might have enjoyed a non-ficiton book about General Hood more than I did this fictional account. I did really enjoy Hic ...more
I really did not care that much for this book. It took me a while to finish it. The only reason I finished it was because it was a book club book and I did want to see how it ended. (I'm not one to read the ending before I've finished the book unless it's a book I really can't stand and don't want to read at all.) Overall, I found it boring and disappointing.

I kept thinking how much I really liked the author's previous book, "The Widow of the South". This book didn't make me want to visit New O
Sep 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009, audio-2009
The audio is actually in three voices with three separate narrators for Anna Marie, John Bell and Eli Griffin. This adds a special element to this tale of love and war and heartbreak. Poignant and vivid, the New Orleans setting is a major part of the appeal as well.
Is this version of the story of John Bell Hood, the truth? I think we could hope so -- as this would mean that redemption is possible and that the lives of all people have meaning, even during or after the darkest moments of despair.
Gail Richmond
Nov 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Following two characters from author Hicks earlier book, Widow of the South, this tale tells of General John Bell Hood's last ten years of life, love, and family in New Orleans, the city that was and perhaps is a "separate country" from the rest of the southeastern states that were the Confederacy if the Civil War. Odd characters people the pages, and there is a fascination with crippling characteristics --- almost a mysticism---in the story line.
A good read for its historical background and fo
Will Singleton
I hate to review a book I have not completed. I really tried with this one. I really wanted to like it. It started off okay and just went nowhere. I found myself not being interested in what I was reading and after pushing through 160+ pages, I just decided it was time to quit. So, sorry for reviewing a book I have not read in full. I just couldn’t get into this one. Maybe I’ll try it again later.
Just heard I won today! I can't wait for my book to arrive!

So, I've been reading this for months now and I'm still about 25% of the way through. I normally like historical fiction but this just seems so dry and I don't really like any of the characters. It keeps switching back and forth between narrators and I'm just bored.

I think at this point I'm going to call it quits. I might go back and try again sometime when I'm more in the mood.
May 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
An "after the Civil War" book. I learned about yellow fever in the South and about the way old soldiers suffered from their memories. Not as good as Hicks's Widow of the South, but still worth your time.

This was so unsatisfying. The story was muddled and confusing, the format was disorienting, and the characters were unrealistic and vapid.
May 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: library-borrowed
I absolutely love books and I love historical fiction. Quite bluntly, I didn't like it.
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Huge Robert Hicks fan. His writing is gorgeous, his characters complex and multi-dimensional and his settings stunning! He never disappoints.
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
First off, I need to say....General Hooker was not a Confederate!!!!!!

Robert Hicks wrote this book as a kinda, sorta, maybe sequel to Widow of the South. Although I would never have guessed the connection had he not finally revealed it, having read the book a number of years ago. It's a multi-faceted story written around the last years of John Bell Hood's life - in New Orleans. Failed Confederate General. Hood is on his deathbed when he calls Eli to his side to take his manuscript to be read by
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This writer really knows how to bring the reader into a different time. I got a strong and I think very accurate flavor of post-Civil War New Orleans through his apt descriptions and attention to detail. But what impressed me the most in this book was the development of the characters. All of the major characters experienced their own catharsis in the course of the book, and Hicks managed the changes with a skill that makes each transition seem so natural and real. It is based on a real Civil Wa ...more
Michaellyn Martinez
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a very odd book, but I did enjoy it. It's more a meditation on violence and guilt, of various kinds. Continues the themes he explores in "Widow of The South", but is less successful. Still, love Robert Hick's writing and look forward to reading future books. I've been reading about the civil war since I read "Johnny Reb" at 10. Lots of great non fiction, very few novels worth reading.
Kellie Winegar
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The history and the personal nature of it was amazing!! The only thing I didn’t like was it jumped around a little to much for me. It was a little hard to keep track of what was going on at times
Danell DeBacker
Sep 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I am not exactly sure what happened here. Not a very well put together story like "The Widow of the South". Jumped around, confusing, no real flow. There were some interesting post Civil War Era views of life.
Deanne Smithey
May 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own-it
I just couldn't get into this novel. I came very close to leaving it unfinished. The novel is about General Hood and his life after the Civil War.
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Robert Hicks has been active in the music industry in Nashville for twenty years as both a music publisher and artist manager. The driving force behind the perservation and restoration of the historic Carnton plantation in Tennessee, he stumbled upon the extraordinary role that Carrie McGavock played during and after the Battle of Franklin. He is the author of The Widow of the South and A Separat ...more
“The pieces of soul can't be cut out without filling them up again, that's a real law there. God's law. Can't cut out the pieces any more than you can go around with a big hole in your gut. Got to be plugged up, replaced somehow.” 1 likes
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