Thursday, February 04, 2016

The Blockade Runners

Just finished listening to The Blockade Runners by Jules Verne courtesy of First, a hat tip to the reader. I have listened to him on several other novels, most recently one by Louis L’Amour, and, by chance, he is from Simpsonville, SC.

About the book: it is short and takes place around 1862 (written in 1864). The basic plot concerns a ship which plans to run the Federal blockade of Charleston, SC in order to deliver arms and return with much-needed cotton to the British Isles.

What most fascinated me was the attitude about the conflict (the war between the states, the war of Northern aggression, or the Civil War-depending on your persuasion.) The main protagonist, the ship’s captain, believed the war was about slavery-though, at least initially, he was partial to the Confederate cause, but not a fan of slavery . Recall the author was French and the protagonist was British.

It is always interesting to get outside perspectives on this. Recall that a year or two ago I read Chesterton’s (Cecil’s) America (my commentary here) . Of course Chesterton's view was more nuanced and presented a history of the country leading to the conflict. Things are always more complicated than they seem.


Here’s an observation for those who listen to books frequently. Why is it that women readers can easily give voice to a male character in the book without sounding ridiculous, but a man reader cannot do the same for a female character in the book.
In the present book I am listening to (a Max Brand western), the male reader does the sensible thing. When reading the dialogue of a female character, he doesn’t try to sound female; he simply changes his inflection slightly as he does with each character.
(BTW – in my view Max Brand westerns don’t hold much of a candle to Louis L’Amour.)

Oremus pro invicem!

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