Thursday, May 31, 2012

North and South, John Jakes Style

The Civil War, John Jakes style. North and South, Love and War and Heaven and Hell. They are a trilogy of book by the great author John Jakes. I have not as yet read these books, and for the life of me, I really don’t know why I haven’t, however, I have been able to proudly watch the mini-series that were done in 1985 based on these books. Now, I own them on DVD, after many years of waiting not so patiently for them to show up at my local Wal-Mart. Last week, I found one copy of what I thought was simply the first book, North and South, low and behold, it contained all three mini-series sets. I was thrilled beyond belief.

Now, I’ve just finished watching all three. Despite the actor changes for some of the characters from one book to the other, I absolutely loved the entire thing. But I was struck by how close one particular actress ‘s portrayal of her character, was to say, Vivienne Leigh who played Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind. (My absolute favorite movie of all time) Ashton Main, played I believe by a woman named Terri Garber, was an excellent character, but I swear that if she has said “fiddle de dee” even one time I would likely have disgraced myself. The way she looked, acted and spoke was exactly how Scarlett looked, acted and spoke. Funny how I never really connected it like this back in 1985, but then, I was merely 15 back than…and probably wouldn’t have cared.

I loved the cast of the movie, star studded and well worth the watch, but now, I think I will be forced to read the books. Oh my, where does one find books that have been out for such a long time?

Being the History nut that I am, I love anything and everyone civil war, yet, I find I can’t write about it. I mean, when someone like Margaret Mitchell and John Jakes does such a wondrous version of our history, who can compare to it? My heart ached while watching these three mini-series back to back. The civil war was a bloody and useless war. Brother against brother, friend against friend. I ask myself all the time, “where do you think you would have been during this time in history?” And I end up with no answer. I couldn’t have been a southern belle, because I am so against anyone ever owning another person, for any reason. But then, I also think I couldn’t have been a northern woman either because of my love of the south. Maybe I was a fence post in an earlier life, sitting between the two sides, crying out the sap for all the life lost in those years of battle.

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