Read by Grover Gardner, Andersonville, is close to forty hours of listening. Extremely long, you may find it a bit difficult to hang in with this story. It is not a page-turner, but a gruesome, grizzly accounting of the American Civil War prison in Georgia. Kanter tells the story in biographical snippets about specific soldiers, i.e., a man from Iowa, Vermont, New Jersey, all over the north. Experiences, terror, disease, death. A consistency is a local farmer and his family, and of course, the camp commander, Wirz.
Written in the mid-ninteen-fifties, Andersonville won the Pulitzer for fiction. That and the fact that 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the end of the war, is the reason I’ve listened. In the style of the time, this book is wordy and verbose. An element that is often conveyed is the absolute hatred of the Yankee; it is a visceral, almost tactile loathing. Beyond the cruelty, also of note is the attempt by the Yankee prisoner to bring order from chaos with executions of their own. These men, for the most part boys, were rats in a maze, brutal and savage even to each other in an effort to survive. Hard to believe that Americans could be so hateful of each other, regardless of the politics of the time.
Although I don’t consider myself a historian, I’m pretty well read with regard to American history and I found the book to be historically accurate. Grover Gardner was an excellent choice for this historical novel, well done, nice production.