Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling

 

Historical Fiction Review    

 

 

Coosa
by Jack Prather
Dogwood Publishing, 2002
Hardcover, $29.95 (333 pages)
ISBN: 0-9720188-0-8
 
 
Coosa is a sweet, family story based on the family history of Jack Prather. It is an excellent timeline of the Alabama Native American history in Coosa County from 1775. Each generation has adventures mixed with family love. There is Native American mysticism, the tender humor of first love, youngsters antics, and the responsibilities adults accept to protect their family.
 
For Alabama history, Coosa explores the relationship of tribes and the laws of the community. In the early 1800's as Native Americans are forced to move to land across the Mississippi River, this family is allowed to remain due to a law protecting those who held office in community service. The family faces the pre-Civil War tensions, the depression of reconstruction, and the change from rural to urban life. Jack Prather adds his anecdotes of growing up, military service, and family.

The story of Black Cloud stands out as he proves to be a forward thinker. Together with the Henry Pounds family, the first white settlers in Coosa County, Black Cloud builds a large cotton plantation, paying the freed black workers years before the Civil War. Black Cloud traveled the region promoting anti-slavery and ran for the US Congress, till a vision foretold the divided Nation and outcome.

The novel works well for middle grade readers, but I would like to see it used for parent/child or grandparent/child readings, as a way to open discussion about their own family history.

Jack Prather is a retired engineer, who spent over forty years writing magazine articles and reports for companies such as The Texas Oil Company and Kimberly Clark Corporation. Now, he lives in Mobile, Alabama, and writes memoirs and novels.

 
 
Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

2004, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved