A Novel

eBook - 2010
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Born on Emancipation Day, 1863, to a sharecropping family of black and Indian blood, Elijah Yancy never lived as a slave - but his self-image as a free person is at war with his surroundings: Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the Reconstructed South. Exiled for his own survival as a teenager, Elijah walks west to the Nebraska plains - and, like other rootless young African-American men of that era, joins up with the U.S. cavalry. The trajectory of Elijah's army career parallels the nation's imperial adventures in the late 19th century: subduing Native Americans in the West, quelling rebellion in the Philippines. Haunted by the terrors endured by black Americans and by his part in persecuting other people of color, Elijah is sustained only by visions, memories, prayers, and his questing spirit - which ultimately finds a home when his troop is posted to the newly created Yosemite National Park in 1903. Here, living with little beyond mountain light, running water, campfires, and stars, he becomes a man who owns himself completely, while knowing he's left pieces of himself scattered along his life's path like pebbles on a creek bed.
Publisher: [United States] : Counterpoint : Made available through hoopla, 2010.
ISBN: 1578051819
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital


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SPPL_János Mar 12, 2018

In this philosophical historical novel, a young black man must leave behind his South Carolina home with its post-Civil War racial perils and joins the U.S. Cavalry as a Buffalo Soldier. He struggles to understand freedom as he is forced to oppress other people of color during the Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War, but ultimately finds himself when his division is posted to the newly created Yosemite National Park. The eloquent Johnson, who was featured prominently in Ken Burns' "National Parks" documentary, bases his first novel on this little-known historical fact but is far more concerned with the inner environment than the outer.


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