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5.0 out of 5 stars Demon behind a cherubic smile, 6 Jan 2013
Mr. Christophe M. Hawthorne (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Judah P.Benjamin (Hardcover)
I couldn't put this book down until I'd read it from cover to cover. The writing is understated and deceptively effortless. Although we know how the story ends, Evans somehow manages to give it tension. You want to feel more and more of the atmosphere in the doomed rebel capital, dancing on the edge of the grave for a few insane years. The protagonist, the faithful 'court Jew' to the strange couple at the heart of the Confederacy, seems to be in the room with you, sizing you up behind his defensive smile, while retaining his essential mystery. After reading about the American Civil War voraciously during 40 years, suddenly this view from a plump, affection-starved workaholic's desk in Richmond put all the other pieces into fresh and thrilling perspective for me. The characters live, as if in a novel. It also works, for me, as a grotesquely funny tragicomedy, with vignettes reminiscent of Poe's cackling horror stories. As a young man, I was dawn to the illustrations of the great battles, skipping over the static gatherings of politicians round their tables. Now I have a missing piece of the edifice that I previously found boring, if not the cornerstone. Eli Evans has let his subject live and breathe on an utterly convincing stage.
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Judah P.Benjamin
Judah P.Benjamin by Eli Evans (Hardcover - July 1988)
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