Lincoln’s Death, New Nation: April 1865 to 1877

Modern-Day Movies

What was so special about Cold Mountain?

For an answer, ask any of the millions of Americans who purchased the novel, especially those who snapped it up from 1997 to 1998. It had been a long time since any war novel had attracted such attention, but the story of a Civil War deserter, on his way home to Appalachia, was irresistible to many readers. Not until 2005 was the book made into a film, and those who had read the book with such keen interest were often disappointed by the wide-screen results.

Partly this was because the novel had such a surprising end to it: it was difficult to translate that complete surprise to the big screen. On another level, however, one wonders if the film’s mediocre success has to do with the discouraging portrayal of the war. Rather than well-uniformed men moving out to the sighs and cheers of beautiful ladies, the book—and the film—devoted a good deal of attention to the “sorry” aspects of the war.


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