The Promised Land – freedom, security and prosperity a little – examined the German winemaking family Rödel when she emigrated to America. In Missouri, they found good land and could look with optimism into the future. But soon they rolled over the inexorability of history and brings worries, suffering and death over them
The focus of this relentlessly harrowing novel -. “At such times, sadness is in full bloom.” – is the eighteen year old son Jacob ( “Jake”), who falls into the turmoil of the Civil War.
As the end of 1860 a (albeit moderate) opponents of slavery is elected President Abraham Lincoln, including Missouri, the measure of the long-simmering discontent for the southern states, full, and most of them leave (the “Confederates”) immediately the Union. In April 1861 the military conflicts begin and end later only four years.
The bitterness between the warring camps of the American population, however, is so profound is that civilians Freischärlergruppen together in order off the armies on their own fist to fight for their cause.
Also narrator Jake, “a man of the South”, feels as “freedom fighters”, when he joined enthusiastically the Bushwhackers ( “tramps”), prepared in a community of like-minded his life for to set the “justice” at risk. What awaits him is a cruel hand combat, eye for eye. Man attacked sneaky units of the superior army of the northern states ( “Yankees”), Groups slaughters the enemy guerrillas ( “Jayhawkers”) down and even mistreated the civilian population.
Jakes troupe consists of twenty young men, always hungry and often stunned by cheap booze, some not yet seventeen.
They are eerily terrible costumes to the scattered living-Union farmers to weigh ( “gruesome elegance”, “rebel curls”) or carry yankee blue camouflage uniforms to safety before they massacre. Especially German descent are considered as Unionists and are therefore in great danger. Then Black John Ambrose flaring, the leader of the group (a historical figure), not long. “Pull his neck long … A German gottverfluchter less.”
Jake is aware that he is only tolerated as “sauerkraut eaters,” and he knows why he always accompany attentive glances. As you have just hanged a German father, Jake pulls demonstratively the revolver and shoots from behind the small son of the deceased. “From puppies are dogs … And dogs have been around enough,” he commented his act. And Black John explains solemnly that he was “a rare example of a German”. But other fellows turn up their noses, “as if something I that have puked the pigs.” is in their own troop perhaps even more vulnerable Daniel Holt, a freed slave and Jake in Friendship related Schwarzer, who considers himself fine still. Fast the wind is able to rotate, and certainly also the nigger dangling nearest branch.
What these daredevil, no matter which side they are on, promotes and forges in camaraderie, is no longer the initial idealism. He’s gone in everyday bloodlust. Now the pure joy of pillaging, plundering, Hanging, slaughtering and dismembering curdled the enemy to the only purpose of a restless vagabond life. That apply even in war, certain rules, ignore the men. Honor, morality, tolerance and humanity are unknown to them foreign words. he feels and yet from an unknown internal power carried away – slowly come Jake doubts about the correctness of his path: “When the battle began, and the blood rushed into my limbs, things happened with me, and I obeyed them.”
that they rob innocent their lives, take all naturally into buying, as well as the lurking behind every bush own end. The hardened Jake gets into the bursts of Northerners militia, but a hail of bullets, he loses only the little finger of his left hand – a “pretty useless thing,” as he says. Hard, did loose winter and merciless, death-bringing summer must pass before Jake comes to his senses. As a superior force of Confederate militia a cruel retaliation against an unarmed city leads him finally go his eyes, and he sees in what animalistic madness he then lives.
What this young Desperado happens in the chaos of war and what he itself contributes to this inferno, told the American writer Daniel Woodrell (born in 1953 in Missouri) shakes its laconic the more powerful in a style. This is especially true on the mediated in unflinching images atrocities to ( “arms hung in trees, and everywhere were dismembered rebels around” – hit by bullets “blew his mind” – a severed skull as “Palace of worms” – a “had a hole in the cheek, and the blood flowed to him only as from the mouth “). Then again, dry humor solves the churning tension of the reader for a short time ( “Sometimes makes the universe a flea bite seem like the war, but that was no consolation for the one who was bitten.”).
the major theme of this impressive novel are friendship and blind hatred, the devastating effect of vindictiveness, the dehumanization by brute force and the futility of any war as a universal tragedy. His protagonist begrudge Woodrell least a hopeful, almost heart-warming output from its hell. Jake takes responsibility for a young woman and her little baby. Together with Holt dragging “by a war sad state” to a new, better place to live. For a bird that is only a short distance, but “Good God, you know, I have no wings, and the country there is a hot, hard ride.”