Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters"

The Weider Group newsletter linked to one of their videocasts, which asked author Peter Cozzens to name his favorite Civil War book. His surprising answer was The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters (Scribner, 1944) by Joseph Stanley Pennell.  I have never heard of novel or author. You can find copies cheaply, even apparently the first edition, online.    Has anyone read it? 


  1. I haven't read it yet. I plan to get a copy soon because Cozzens really piqued my interest in the book. Other people must have noticed his recommendation too because 3-4 copies have sold since I looked online in the last few days about the book.

    I'm anxious to see how good the battle descriptions are that Cozzens mentions.

    My favorite Civil War fiction besides the classics like Shaara's 'Killer Angels' and Foote's 'Shiloh' etc. are Howard Bahr's trilogy of 'The Black Flower', 'Year of Jubilo' and 'The Judas Field'. If Pennell's book is as good as these I'll wonder how I could have missed out on it over the years. I hope it is great.

    I found some mention on the internet that it is considered in the top ten of Civil War fiction ever. I'll leave a link at the bottom of the page is some important info on the author and passages from his book.

    Thanks for bringing this up as I am very intrigued by this book now,

  2. Chris,
    When you finish it, come back and tell us how it went.


  3. Drew,
    I'll be sure to do that! I was hoping some more people would chime in on the book but it must really have flown under the Civil War book radar.

  4. Drew,
    You've piqued my interest, too. Have never heard of this book - have just ordered one and can't wait to read it.

  5. I have a copy but have never read it. Really not that interested, either. Too much else on my plate right now. --tps

  6. I've read it and own a copy, although I can't remember where I got it (that was about 15 years ago). It's a marvelous book. I've re-read parts of it on occasion, though I haven't opened it for a number of years. If I was going away for a long time and had to pick five CW books to take with me, it would be one of them.

    Mike Keefer

  7. Mike, thanks for writing about the book. I'm looking forward to reading it. I have a few questions about it. Are the battle descriptions of Shiloh and Pickett's charge memorable? Does the Civil War part take up most of the book? What makes it such a memorable Civil War novel?
    Thanks again,

  8. I've started it once or twice and couldn't get "hooked." Don't know if it was me, or the book.


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