Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All

by Allan Gurganus


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Allan Gurganus's Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All became an instant classic upon its publication. Critics and readers alike fell in love with the voice of ninety-nine-year-old Confederate widow Lucy Marsden, one of the most entertaining and loquacious heroines in American literature.

Lucy married at the turn of the twentieth century, when she was fifteen and her husband was fifty. If Colonel William Marsden was a veteran of the "War for Southern Independence," Lucy became a "veteran of the veteran" with a unique perspective on Southern history and Southern manhood. Lucy’s story encompasses everything from the tragic death of a Confederate boy soldier to the feisty narrator's daily battles in the Home--complete with visits from a mohawk-coiffed candy striper. Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All is a marvel of narrative showmanship and proof that brilliant, emotional storytelling remains at the heart of great fiction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375726637
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/09/2001
Series: Vintage Contemporaries Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 736
Sales rank: 432,663
Product dimensions: 5.47(w) x 8.23(h) x 1.18(d)

About the Author

Allan Gurganus is the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Southern Book Prize, the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a finalist of the PEN/Faulkner Award. Adaptations of his fiction have earned four Emmys. He lives in a small town in North Carolina.

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Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OK a bit tedious a times but so was life then - I kept looking at the author's name to see it was really a guy ... such incredible insight and expression of Lucy as a child and young lady in the old South -a wonderful story and great history of the times - I read it years ago but was about to order it to read again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If this story had happened in this century the hero would be in prison for molesting a child. Both the movie and the novel are my favorite to come out of the Civil War. The story gives a peek back into the aftermath of the Civil War era. I loved it.
arblock on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best books--ever
BobNolin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As others have noted, the book is great up until about page 300. And then it sort of swerves off the road. I lost interest.
carolew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A young girl is married to a much older confederate soldier (after the war). The story follows her life and relationship with him and with their black maid. funny, poignant, one of my all time favorite books.
inurbana on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, after slogging through this book, I can say that the oldest living confederate widow really does tell all! Lucy talks about her husband's experiences in the civil war, her mother in law's plantation, her friend Castalia's abduction from Africa, her own childhood, her parents' childhoods, life in her small North Carolina town, etc. And yet, cutting through all this narrative, what exactly is this book telling us? That slavery is wrong? That wives and mothers aren't properly respected? That war has a crippling effect not only on veterans but society in general? Okay, fine. But did we really need 700 pages to reach those conclusions? It's too much. The book is overdone with parentheticals and wayward reminisces. Picture a piece of cloth being embroidered on over and over again until it's too heavy to be practical. That is essentially what Gurganus has done with Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. And yet, even though it seems like Lucy has told us every single detail of her life, there are some facets of her character that remain unexplored, like her bisexuality and lack of personal religion. It's like Gurganus wants us to infer these things, which is okay, but he plainly doesn't expect his readers to be smart enough to infer other things, since he bangs us over the head with repeated stories and themes over and over again. In the end, Confederate Widow is readable and engaging enough, but since there are so many ingredients in the mix, coming away from it, I just don't know what to think of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Prescott of Newsweek summed up this book well as '...not a bad book, just an unendurable one.' I really can't remember reading a book with a bigger gallery of unlikebale characters. And Alan Gurganus seems less interested in telling us a story than exercising his hand at barely-readable colloquial monologues, lots of implausible tales, and the all-too-predicatble whining from the overworked Lucy (the window of the story) and her too-many children. Woven into this are such themes as 'men are bad, guns are bad, society is bad, women work hard and men have all the fun.' I tried hard to be amused but was mostly bored. It's an OK read during lunch at work, in little snippets that you digest as short stories, but in the end you just get tired of Lucy Marsden.