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Furies by John Jakes
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503120,248 (3.85)12
Member:Hedgepeth
Title:Furies
Authors:John Jakes
Info:Jove (1978), Edition: 1978, Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Kent family

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The Furies by John Jakes (1976)

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This was a darker book than the previous one, but featured Amanda, possibly my favorite character in the entire series. We follow her from the Alamo to NYC where things are heating up for the Civil War. As usual, Jakes does a great job showing both sides of the conflicts from a personal view. He drops a lot of historical information in well connected threads throughout, too.

Handling the feelings on both sides of the argument that would become the Civil War was particularly masterful, especially since the South's side was seemingly indefensible. It wasn't from their point, though. Their entrenched economy, fears, & opinions were well represented. The division among the North was also well shown. Immigrants couldn't find enough work to feed their families & the city was bursting as more flowed in. Any competition for the few jobs couldn't be born & that included freed slaves, yet it was obvious that blacks weren't subhuman, simply raised & treated that way - all this while those of the North treated factory workers & servants in much the same fashion.

Jakes makes the point in a particularly poignant way when hours go by before Amanda casts the deciding vote as to whether to provide medical care for workers injured in an accident. She also has to fight to get free schooling & 'limited' hours for the child-workers. Which made me think back to the gin-soaked 8 & 10 year olds that Phillipe met in the first book of the story in London.

The scariest part was reading about how the positions in the question of states' rights & slavery polarized society. Neither side could see the others point of view, so no compromise was possible. Slavery was obviously no longer viable, yet its proponents kept trying to expand it. Moderates were forced into taking sides by the actions of the fanatics on both sides which ripped families & communities apart.

We're seeing similar tensions now as [a:Orson Scott Card|589|Orson Scott Card|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1294099952p2/589.jpg] also points out so well in [b:Empire|7955|Empire (Empire, #1)|Orson Scott Card|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1316727285s/7955.jpg|1234312]. The gov't is in its 8th day of shutdown due to a few fanatics refusal to compromise & a few others refusal to do what is right since it threatens their position - not their ability to feed their family, just their continued power. They lack a single issue to rally behind & tear the nation apart the way the slavery issue did, but the rhetoric is remarkably similar in its uncompromising divisiveness.

Overall, I didn't care for the composition of this book as much as the rest. It jumps through time fairly quickly & also back & forth between the normal perspective & that of a diary of a completely different character. I found that jarring, probably more so because I didn't care for the character, although he was perfect for the point Jakes was trying to make. Scenes with Louis seemed an afterthought, tacked on to provide continuity with future books. I doubt they were, but he didn't ... have the depth or ring true... (not really sure) the way other characters did, even more minor ones. Something about that character was off, anyway.

Still, I'm giving the book 4 stars because it is so timely, yet it is 30 years old & written about events over 150 years ago. I'd say that's quite an accomplishment! ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
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For my son John Michael
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She awoke late in the night.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The Kent Family Chronicles Volume IV

The glittering saga of our America - and the people who made her great.

Spanning the young American continent...its burgeoning east coast cities...its warring frontiers... its lawless towns of the West...the continuing saga of the Kent family follows the dangerous bloodsoaked years of our Nation's might expansion and thrusts a brilliant new heroine into the foreground of its struggles. The victim of savagery, devastated by heartbreaking ambition - to restore the house of Kent is driven by one burning ambition - to restore the house of Kent to its rightful honor. Thus she beings her most daring adventure...

Here are a brave new generation of Kents, moving across American History's colorful canvas from its wild west days to the birth of its gilded age, and - poised unknowingly on the brink of their country's greatest turmoil - building a glorious, but fated, dynasty
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451212835, Mass Market Paperback)

The eight-volume epic of the Kent family continues as a new generation struggles to survive within a nation rife with conflict. Amanda Kent was a woman of great courage, but nothing prepared her for the massacre she witnessed at the Alamo. Now she's returned to Boston to rebuild the Kent legacy.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Newly widowed, Amanda Kent, a brave young woman raised by the Teton Sioux, after witnessing the horrors of war at the Alamo, is indentured to a Mexican officer and longs to return home to Boston and restore her family's legacy.

(summary from another edition)

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