Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.


Cold Mountain (1997)

by Charles Frazier

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,379197431 (3.82)505
The impact of the Civil War on lovers. Inman is not the man he used to be, as wounded in battle he slowly makes his way home to North Carolina. His sweetheart, Ada, too has changed, no longer a flighty belle but a hard-working farm woman. Will love be the same?
  1. 30
    The Odyssey by Homer (TomWaitsTables)
  2. 20
    The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War by Howard Bahr (starfishpaws)
  3. 20
    Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (1Owlette)
  4. 10
    Freeman Walker by David Allan Cates (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Civil War era stories of trekking along the long road home.
  5. 10
    Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb (myshelves)
    myshelves: Also involves the Home Guard, outliers, deserters --- a mini-war in an isolated locality, in the midst of the Civil War.
  6. 10
    In the Fall by Jeffrey Lent (1Owlette)
  7. 21
    March by Geraldine Brooks (1Owlette)
  8. 10
    Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor (1Owlette)
  9. 10
    Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (sturlington)
  10. 00
    She-Rain: A Story of Hope by Michael Cogdill (JG_IntrovertedReader)
  11. 11
    Boone's Lick by Larry McMurtry (clif_hiker)
  12. 00
    Ghosts of The Soon Departed by T. A. Epley (ancestorsearch)
    ancestorsearch: Story that spans over four generations beginning in the era of the Civil War takes place in the Appalachians area of North Carolina.
  13. 00
    All Other Nights by Dara Horn (BookshelfMonstrosity)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 505 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
Fantastic novel. Terrible, terrible movie. This novel almost had me believing I was there with Inman in the Blue Ridge mountains at the end of the Civil War. Contains one of the best written battle scenes I've ever read. ( )
  MickeyMole | Oct 2, 2023 |
There is something about Civil War period novels that turns me off, so I may have missed what this book was really about. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 13, 2023 |
Read this because of all the hype. Think it is overrated ( )
  LisaBergin | Apr 12, 2023 |
This was a disappointing description of life, lovee, and challenges during the Civil War. There were many positive statements regarding the futility of war and the joy of sharing a life, but they were buried in the tediousness of the details, most either repeated ad infinitum or with too much detail. I cared about the characters, but not the presentation. The feelings that were present in the past are also relevant today. ( )
  suesbooks | Mar 7, 2023 |
In September 1864, wounded Confederate soldier W. P. Inman leaves the rural Virginia hospital where he’s been convalescing and lights out for home, without furlough papers. It’s a risky move. Irregulars comb the countryside for deserters, and if they catch him, the only question is whether they’ll kill him immediately or bring him to the nearest town for execution. But he hates the war, which he feels never had purpose, aside from protecting wealthy slaveholders’ property, and combat has scarred his psyche so badly, he’s ready to take his chances.

He hopes to meet up with Ada Monroe, a woman back in Cold Mountain, western North Carolina, whom he hasn’t seen since the war began. They’ve exchanged letters, but Inman doesn’t know whether they ever had an “understanding,” or, if they did, whether Ada will care for him now, in his emotionally damaged state.

But Ada has her own troubles—and a journey to make. Her father, a preacher, has just died, leaving her with a farm gone to seed because of wartime labor shortages and no skills or resources to maintain the place. The late Monroe encouraged—nay, required—his daughter to cultivate her mind and sense of gentility, so that she must never lift a finger in anything remotely resembling physical labor.

As a consequence, Ada’s extremely literate, plays the piano (stolidly), and can draw, but she hasn’t a clue about raising crops or animals, or about the natural environment on which her existence would depend if she operated the farm. However, she has only one alternative: returning to Charleston, where she was born, throwing herself on the mercy of relatives she never liked, and settling for a husband who’d probably not appreciate her independent mind.

Cold Mountain bears a slight resemblance to the Odyssey, in that Inman, as Odysseus, must endure myriad misadventures and combats to return to Penelope, whom he dares not presume is waiting for him. His narrative is therefore episodic, full of reversals and derring-do. Like Odysseus, he’s clever and needs to be; unlike him, though, he’s not malign. Not ever. Rather, he assists people in distress as he meets them and never surrenders to temptation. He’s more of a knight-errant than an adventurer, and maybe too good to be true.

Meanwhile, Ada has received a tremendous stroke of luck in the form of Ruby Thewes, who shows up because a friend has said Ada needs help. Ruby has no refinement, book learning, or soft feelings but knows all there is to know about the soil, the barnyard, and how to read the seasons. I like that Ada’s tutelage comes hard and that her journey is both internal and external, unlike Inman’s, who seems fully formed. Rather, Ada must shed her old life, and this minute wouldn’t be too soon. I also like how she reads to Ruby, her turn to pass on what she knows, and how they disagree as to what happiness is, or whether it’s even worth bothering about.

Her story moves me more than Inman’s, by far. Ada grows as a character, whereas he doesn’t, and whatever changes he’s gone through, you see them hazily in aftermath rather than in transition. During his odyssey, one physical conflict is much like another, and none stand out for me, either in themselves or what he learns from them. Conversely, her narrative feels more cohesive, and she transforms before your eyes—not without a struggle, which adds to her portrayal. Her obstacles, though daunting, seldom feel ridiculously insurmountable, so she seems more human, less larger-than-life.

Maybe the greatest pleasure of Cold Mountain is the prose, which has been justly celebrated, and which conveys the characters’ physical and emotional realms with vividness and precision. I also admire Frazier’s refusal to sugarcoat human nature, and his depiction of lawless, bloodthirsty, and greedy behavior is both real and appalling. If ever a novel did justice to the brutality Americans visited upon each other during those years, this one does. This is a vision of the Civil War that has rarely, if ever, appeared in fictional form.

Nevertheless, the narrative compromises that vision with a romantic underlay, and Cold Mountain is less satisfying for it. As with Varina, Frazier appears to argue that nobody really wanted secession or believed in the war except for a slim majority who held wealth and power. Somehow, I don’t think that’s how the Civil War lasted that long. But in any case, Frazier’s perspective whitewashes his characters while trivializing the history. ( )
  Novelhistorian | Jan 24, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
Frazier has been widely and justly praised for his elegant prose and rich evocations of the natural world. For me, however, the deepest satisfactions of his novel derive from his deft treatment of certain perennially appealing pop archetypes.
Cold Mountain is sincerely plausible. It is a solemn fake. You will not hear this from the readers and judges who have helped make Charles Frazier's Civil War tale probably the most popular novel about that period since Gone With the Wind. (Since its publication in June, Cold Mountain has sold more than a million copies; in November, it won the National Book Award.) The book is so professionally archaeological, so competently dug, that one can mistake its surfaces for depth. But it's like a cemetery with no bodies in it. All the records of life are there, the facts and figures and pocket histories, pointing up out of the ground, but what's buried there was never alive.
added by Shortride | editSlate, James Wood (Dec 24, 1997)
For a first novelist, in fact for any novelist, Charles Frazier has taken on a daunting task -- and has done extraordinarily well by it.

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Frazierprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dallatorre, MarcellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dumas, MarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engen, BodilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moody, PaulineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Of, KarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
It is difficult to believe in the dreadful but quiet war of organic beings, going on in the peaceful woods, & smiling fields.
   --Darwin, 1839 journal entry
Men ask the way to Cold Mountain.
Cold Mountain: there's no through trail.
---for Katherine and Annie
First words
At the first gesture of morning, flies began stirring.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the novel that the movie by the same name is based. Please do not combine the movie or abridged versions with this work.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

The impact of the Civil War on lovers. Inman is not the man he used to be, as wounded in battle he slowly makes his way home to North Carolina. His sweetheart, Ada, too has changed, no longer a flighty belle but a hard-working farm woman. Will love be the same?

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions


Popular covers

Quick Links


Average: (3.82)
0.5 8
1 85
1.5 6
2 194
2.5 40
3 658
3.5 125
4 1131
4.5 120
5 843

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 197,897,271 books! | Top bar: Always visible