Along the line of stories by Nordhoff & Hall, London and Michener though less literary. A decent read with plenty of tragedy, poignancy and occasional touches of humor, it purports to be reminiscences of Becke as dictated to another.
One of the stranger books I've read, it gives insights into portions of the Civil War. Written by a free-lance reporter who followed the Northern Army, a question remains as to the degree of trustworthiness.
Starts out with the early campaigns in Missouri, offering details on battles minor and major. Somehow manages to avoid mention of Grant's activities there, and leaves out the battle of Lone Jack, though that was a very minor affair.
Goes on to critique the fighting in Kentucky and Tennessee at Shiloh, Chattanooga and others, then on to Vicksburg.
At this point the author and a partner decide to lease a plantation or two, planning to prove that success can be had with free labor despite what Southerners think. Supposedly they make money until driven off by a series of guerrilla raids
It then offers a travelog of the Mississippi, before reviewing Reconstruction on a personal level.
Contains a good deal of hearty criticism of corruption among Southerners and Northerners alike. I read the entire thing and enjoyed much of it, only wondering how much was true.
Light-hearted and generally entertaining, though not up to the Zenda tales.
If you can slog through the first fifty pages you'll be reading a rollicking adventure tale with an unusual premise. The hero—a youthful American of the late 1800s is flawed but idealistic, holds romantic notions of womanhood without wanting one for himself, impetuous yet calculating on occasion, and plans to die with his boots on.