Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Brotherhood by Anne Westrick

The South during Reconstruction was not a very pleasant place to be - as a southerner. The South  was occupied by  U.S. soldiers (formerly Union soldiers) who were not very interested in making life any easier for the "rebels" they were supervising as they rebuilt their cities, businesses, and homes after the Civil War. Brotherhood is an interesting read as a story told from the view of a young southern boy. Westrick provides  descriptions of what life was like during that time period as a southerner and how difficult life was under the occupation of the conquering Union Army.
With his father dead, the "Yankees" occupying his city, and the newly freed African American men taking the  jobs created by Reconstruction, life is difficult for Shad and his family. The discontent of the community is palpable and gives rise to the Ku Klux Klan as an organization "dedicated to supporting the needs of the widows and families of fallen Confederate soldiers." Shad and his brother join up, Shad thinking it a good thing to take care of those around him. As things get out of control, Shad starts to realize that the Klan is dangerous and he must decide where his loyalties lie - family, Klan, or what  he feels is right in his own heart. I highly recommend this read!

1 comment :

tanita✿davis said...

I'm intrigued by the completely SPLIT reviews I've seen of this - either people sing its praises, or are very, very uneasy with the numerous instances of racism and racist speech which, while spot-on with the characters for their time period, etc., don't make for easy reading, and may not come through clearly for a young reader. I'm glad you enjoyed it; moral ambiguity is difficult to explore literature about race relations because most of us have reactions that are not ambiguous at all.