Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1956 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor


Publisher: Signet

Length: 727 pages

About: American Civil War POW Horror

Style: 3rd person

Where: US (Georgia)

When: 1864-5


Publisher’s synopsis:

This book captures all the glory and shame of America’s most tragic conflict in the vivid, crowded world of an infamous prison, Andersonville, and the people who lived outside its barricades. Here 50,000 Northern soldiers suffered here with over 14,000 dying. The guilt and  greatness of both the Union and the Confederacy are in these pages, in the savagery of the camp commandant, the deep compassion of a nearby planter and his gentle daughter, in the merging of valour and vicisousness within the stockade itself.



The Yankees got Moses and Suthy. Yankees now destroy Badge. They got him, with their many cannon and many men and their quick-shooting breech-loading rifles. Damn the Yankees. Damn them forever, damn them to a hundred hells with their cannon and their money and their blankets and their medicines. God--damn--the Yankees. God damn the Yankees. Gad damn the Yankees. Amen.




MacKinlay Kantor's "Andersonville" was described in a New York Times review as a "tremendous novel on a tremendous theme." Its locale was the Confederate stockade in southwest central Georgia where 50,000 Union men were imprisoned in the Civil War. One-third of them died there.

New York Times, 8th May 1956


Not so good:

The cumulative effect of Mr Kantor’s writing is considerable. His immense accumulation of detail does in the end have some effect in conveying the awful reality of Andersonville. Yet this might have been a better book had it been, say, half as long and informed by some sense of artistic direction.

Times Literary Supplement 12th October 1956



About the author

Born  February 4, 1904, Died October 11, 1977. Kantor was born in Webster City, Iowa. He published his first poem at the age of 17, and at 18 he won a state story writing contest. He had aspirations as an author and at age 24 finished his first novel, Diversey, which was not a success. Kantor spent the next six years making a living writing for newspapers. Then, in 1934, he published Long Remember, a novel that became a best-seller and was so successful that the film rights were purchased; Kantor followed the lead and headed to Hollywood, where three of his books were turned into movies over the next few years.



















































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Age guide: 15



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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

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