December 16, 2007

"The Patriots" 1906 Obscure Pro-South Novel

Some eBay surfing the other night led me to a book entitled The Patriots: The Story of Lee and the Last Hope by Cyrus Townsend Brady (1861-1920). I'd never heard of it and the book's description led me to infer that it was a very pro-southern history of the war. The full-color illustrations inside depict some of the most romanticized Confederate imagery imaginable. Just check out the one of a gray-clad officer embracing his love while two dead Yankees lie on porch steps just feet away! My initial impression was wrong however, for some quick research told me that the book is really a historical novel that is supposedly heavy on "fact."

Today, Brady is all but forgotten but apparently he was quite a popular author for his time. He was both a clergyman and a novelist. He was a graduate of Annapolis and then resigned to become a railroad worker out west. He is credited with numerous historical novels, stories for boys, biographies, and histories.

As for this title, a January 1906 announcement for the book in the New York Times declared that it was "in Dr. Brady's best vein." Years later, the 1929 edition of Guide to Best Historical Novels and Tales described the novel as "being written in a manner that indicates careful research; moreover - while Lee is - in the second half of the book - the real hero - ("the Bayard of the South"), the author has also given a very pleasing picture of Lincoln in the short account of an interview."

With an opening bid of $120, it will be interesting to see how this one does. Though advertised as a first edition, me thinks it's a reprint as the original publisher was Dodd Mead and this copy is published by Grosset and Dunlap, a well-known reprint house way back in the day. By way of comparison, a signed and inscribed copy in "fair" condition is available on ABE for $50. Kessinger Publishing also reissued the book earlier this year as part of their Legacy Reprint Series, claiming that the work is "culturally important." For those who would just like to peruse this title, it's available here via Google Book Search.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great book. Can't understand why it hasn't been put on the silver screen yet. My copy is also the 1906 edition by Grosset & Dunlap publishers. If anyone is interested in the civil war period, than this book is a must read. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.