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A Novel

List Price: $14.95

April 28, 2008 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 320 Pages | ISBN 9781582434148
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“Melman writes with a poet's grace and a historian's eye for detail.” —New Orleans Times-Picayune

To what should we aspire, and how do we atone for those occasions when we have willfully fallen short? These are questions that Elias Abrams, Jewish by birth, cardsharp by practice, deals with in the contradictory context of being a Confederate soldier—a Jew defending the right to oppress a people—an accessory to a horrific crime, and a man unexpectedly overtaken by love.

This is a novel about literature, redemption, atonement, and love. It is about the very personal violence of New Orleans and the impersonal horror of the Civil War—all delivered in sentences as casually devastating as anything shot from a howitzer.

PETER C. MELMAN was born in New York and raised in Louisiana, where he earned his PhD in English-Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


“Just when you thought you could not learn anything new about the Civil War—or New Orleans—along comes this rich story of the Jewish Confederacy. This is an auspicious debut that heralds the arrival of a unique American voice.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter

“Richly imagined and beautifully told, [Landsman] displays the skills of a literary craftsman. Melman has mixed a sumptuous blend of all the elements of classic storytelling to create a profoundly satisfying work.” —Book Page Starred Review

“Melman writes with a poet’s grace and a historian’s eye for detail.” —New Orleans Times-Picayune

“What America has been without is an Isaac Babel, a writer who could filter the country’s defining conflict through a Jewish lens. That is, until now. In his lush debut novel, Peter Charles Melman tells the story of Elias Abrams, a richly drawn representative of the roughly 2,000 Jewish men who fought for the Confederacy… Melman’s most significant achievement lies in breaking down the framework through which the Civil War story is conventionally told.” —Jewish Daily Forward

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