The Revolutionary War in the South

| April 07, 2005

The Hornet’s Nest -
Jimmy Carter

Reviewed by Don Thompson Sr.
Company driver for Smith Transport

Listening Time: 5.5 hours
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Retail: $26
Genre: Historical novel

Plot: First, I would like to say that former President Jimmy Carter is not as conservative as I first thought. He has a sense of humor and is a great historian. This comes out from the beginning of the book, which is set during the Revolutionary War.

The main story is about Ethan Pratt, who moves with his wife from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. It is a story of how he was won over to the American cause. While Pratt was not a Quaker, they had an influence on his way of thinking. He just wanted to get along and do his own thing.

While following life with the Pratts, one takes a trip through colonial times. Most of the stories of the American Revolution are told from the viewpoint of a New Englander, a Virginian or Pennsylvanian, etc. This story is told from a Southern perspective. It tells of the way the English treated and thought of the American people. It also relates how much of an influence the Quakers had in the settling the South.

History is always written by the winner and as such, the loser is almost always portrayed as the bad person. This has long been a source of irritation to me. The true historian tells it as he sees it; both sides were not blameless in this war. Pratt’s brother was hanged out of hand by the British, and he becomes very bitter about it and makes the decision to join the militia. He flees his home in North Carolina and goes to Georgia. There he starts to farm, learns about the frontier and becomes friends with his neighbors, the Morrises. He learns about the plight of the native Americans, how their land is being taken from them and they are finding themselves pushed further west all of the time. This, of course, ended some years later with “The Trail of Tears” when most of the southern Indians were forced to relocate in Oklahoma. This book goes from the beginning to the end of the Revolutionary War, eight years later.

My favorite moment or scene is hard to pick as this was written in a narrative manner, and it was all exciting. But if forced to make a choice, I’d have to say it was when Ethan Pratt discovered true love.

My favorite character is the hero Ethan Pratt because he started out so naive and became a great leader and frontiersman.

In war both sides commit atrocities, and this is shown in this book. The Americans kill women and children, burn farms and in general make life miserable for loyalists. The Brit villain in this is Captain Brown, a spoiled son of an obscure English noble, who is sent to the colonies to prevent further embarrassment to his family. He is tarred and feathered and hurt badly in Georgia by the Americans who favored separation from England. He vows revenge and from that time on does all he can to destroy the American cause.

I liked the whole book and did not dislike anything about it. I learned a lot. I would recommend this book. If you are interested in what happened and how we came about as a country, then this is a must-read.

The narrator Edward Hermann and his style were wonderful. The accents of the British characters and the people of the colonies were perfect, and they came alive. It made the book a joy to listen to. I was sorry when it was over.

I rate this book an A+.


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