The original publication of North and South was in the early 1980s, during an era of epic and sweeping novels by authors such as James Clavell, James Michener, and a collective clamor for this type of story. The popularity extended to the television mini-series, i.e., Roots, The Thorn Birds. In my humble opinion, the abandonment of this type of writing is a shame, a narrow minded view on the part of modern day publishers. There seems to be a belief that readers are only interested in the immediate gratification of a 50,000 word novel chopped into a 2-hour television movie with over thirty minutes of commercials. I think they are wrong.
I read North and South shortly after the initial publication and loved it, as I do today. Not much I can contribute to other reviews, so will only say that although a fictional story about two families caught up in the war, North and South is an accurate portrayal of the emotions and fears that lead up to the conflict. It is not a history book, but few latitudes of creative license are taken, it is pretty authentic. This is the first book in the trilogy and ends with the secession of South Carolina and the firing on Ft. Sumter. The American Civil War begins.
The audiobook is long, over thirty hours of listening. Released in 2012, read by Grover Gardner, a pleasant read albeit a distressing period of American history. Worth the credits, I look forward to the sequels.