Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Undaunted Heart: The True Story of a Southern Belle & a Yankee General by SUZY BARILE

I am using my Blog to review some books by local authors, and the latest I’ve read is a wonderfully crafted addition to the host of books surrounding the Civil War, "Undaunted Heart," subtitled: "The True Story of a Southern Belle & Yankee General" by SUZY BARILE.

The book tells a love story that involves:

* prejudice

* politics

* family


—topics in the news on a daily basis.

The Yankee general is Smith Dykins Atkins from Freeport, Illinois, and a volunteer for the Union cause.

The southern belle is Eleanor “Ella” Hope Swain, daughter of David Lowry Swain, governor of North Carolina from 1832-1835 and president of University of North Carolina from 1835-1868.

BARILE writes, “Ella did the unthinkable: She married a Yankee general at the close of the Civil War.” A North-South marriage was as offensive to the general public in 1865 as a black-white marriage was in the 1960s.

The angle is unique to books concerning the Civil War, and BARILE does a fine job of recreating the attitudes of the times and capturing the spirit of Ella and the general.

BARILE has an extraordinary perspective. While searching in her mother’s attic, BARILE found a box of Ella’s letters. BARILE is the great, great granddaughter of Ella and the general.

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