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Book Review: The Alabama Rebel: A Novel of Courage Amid Conflict by R. Thomas Roe

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If you think as I did that this is just another book about the Civil War, you are sadly mistaken. What Mr. Roe has done with The Alabama Rebel is to present the reader with a combination of Gone With the Wind and The Carpetbaggers (Harold Robbins circa 1961).

He describes his main character ‘River Hunter’ as a half Cherokee, half Scotch-Irish youth born in the Carolinas and learned many skills from his Cherokee mother and his trapper father.

But one day his father never returned from a trapping trip and with the pressures of President Jackson wanting to move all the Indians to reservations out west, River’s mother decides to gather up the family and move to Alabama.

River acclimates to his new life easily and takes on the duties of the man of the house. At the same time, his love of books makes him quite knowledgeable and he seeks higher education–leading him to attend an all boys academy and hoping to go on to college.

But during his time at the academy, the Civil War is getting worse and his academy is turned into a training camp for Confederate soldiers. River joins the Confederate army and in a few short years he is promoted to Colonel.

He comes home from the war, and finds his old flame, who married a rich kid, is now a widow. After a while, River begins to court his childhood sweetheart and they marry. She has a little boy by her previous marriage; he and River hit it off and River teaches him the ways of the Indian that his mother taught him. Life goes good and River’s wife Sarah is pregnant and they have a baby girl, but then tragedy strikes.

I gave this book one of my highest A’s, it was a great read. I enjoyed it from the beginning to the tragic end and I must say, “If ever there was a good, non-boring book about the Civil War, this one is it.” It is clean, written like a true Southern gentleman, no swearing or other vulgarity. Even the descriptions of the horrors of the war were done tastefully without a lot of the very descriptive blood and guts. I recommend it to the general audience from young adult on.

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