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All Other Nights (2009)

by Dara Horn

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4594141,919 (3.86)30
How is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army, it is a question his commanders have answered for him: on Passover in 1862, he is ordered to murder his own uncle, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln. After that night, will Jacob ever speak for himself? The answer comes when his commanders send him on another mission--this time not to murder a spy but to marry one. A compelling novel rich with romance and the history of America (North and South), this is a book only Dara Horn could have written. Full of insight and surprise, layered with meaning, it is a brilliant parable of the moral divide that still haunts us: between those who value family first and those who are dedicated, at any cost, to social and racial justice for all.… (more)
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» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
How is this book different from all other Dara Horn books?
This time it's Civil-War-era US and more linear than before, but it's still a story about parents and children and how people fall in love. The history is how I like it: as it was to the people living it and not too intrusive. This is another very good book from Horn. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
When Jacob Rappaport's father decides Jacob should marry the daughter of one of his business parters, Jacob runs away and joins the Union Army. Caught up in some of the battles of the Civil War, when he is offered the chance to spy for the Union, he takes it, making some questionable decisions that he must live with. The war, his Jewishness, and his own decisions all affect the course of his life. ( )
  lilibrarian | Oct 22, 2018 |
It was okay. I found some parts really engrossing, but then there were large chucks that were kind of a chore to read. There was too much going on. Jacob is kind of unbelievable as a spy; too many things that happened to move the plot forward were overly fortuitous; random scenes that dealt with slavery and antisemitism that didn't really fit in with the rest of the book. In the end I just felt dubious and underwhelmed by the whole book. ( )
  aclaybasket13 | Jul 29, 2016 |
A very good look at stories seldom told during the American Civil War: that of Jewish life, and that of assassins. The young protagonist, Jacob Rappaport, flees from his boring life learning his father's business in order to join up with the fascinating, exciting life of war. Instead, he finds himself assigned as an assassin to his uncle, wanted by the North, and must choose between family and religious honor vs. his direct orders. The characters Horn develops are richly assigned personalities and histories all their own, and the backdrop of the war is ever-present. Jacob has his happy moments, then tragedy strikes as it often does, and then his real character that he has built over the years comes to the front of the action. The burning of Richmond, VA, at the end of the war is also well-crafted and the desperation of those left in the city is palpable. A great reference for students of American Civil War history, Jewish studies, and the Jewish way of life in the mid-1800's in the United States. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
All Other Nights – Dara Horn
Audio version narrated by William Dufris
3.5 stars (round down to 3)

When nineteen year old Jacob Rappaport enlists in the Union Army, his only intention is to escape an arranged marriage in defiance of his father. He does not know that being easily identified as a “Hebrew” will bring him to the attention of his superior officers. It is thought that Jacob’s “racial” heritage and his family connections make him uniquely qualified as a spy and assassin for the Union cause. Jacob’s coming of age story develops around the pivotal Seder question “How is this night different from all other nights?” He deliberates his moral and ethical dilemmas within the context of Jewish liturgy and tradition.

As far as I can tell, the story runs fairly true to civil war history. Judah Benjamin, the Confederacy’s Jewish Secretary of State is featured as a prominent character. The descriptions of the African American spy ring, a plot to kidnap Lincoln and the spectacular destruction of Richmond all have basis in fact. Jacob’s position as a character who acts his part in both the North and the South allows the author to examine the position of the Jewish minority in America at this time.

This was a good story;…… but……. There were many colorful characters and some amusing moments, although it was for the most part tragic. My difficulty with the book was that I never really liked Jacob. It was hard for me to believe that even a very young man could walk into such damning situations without asking at least a few serious questions of his superiors. The Union officers who recruit Jacob as a spy were totally unbelievable. They sounded like cartoon characters. Most of all, I thought the ending was too neat and not at all likely.

Still, I found that I was absorbed in the story and anxious about the outcome on more than one occasion. And I learned about some aspects of American history that I had not considered before.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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Inside a barrel in the bottom of a boat, with a canteen of water wedged between his legs and a packet of poison concealed in his pocket, Jacob Rappaport felt a knot tightening in his stomach - not because he was about to do something dangerous, but because he was about to do something wrong.
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How is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army, it is a question his commanders have answered for him: on Passover in 1862, he is ordered to murder his own uncle, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln. After that night, will Jacob ever speak for himself? The answer comes when his commanders send him on another mission--this time not to murder a spy but to marry one. A compelling novel rich with romance and the history of America (North and South), this is a book only Dara Horn could have written. Full of insight and surprise, layered with meaning, it is a brilliant parable of the moral divide that still haunts us: between those who value family first and those who are dedicated, at any cost, to social and racial justice for all.

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393064921, 0393338320

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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