How is tonight different from all other nights? For Jacob Rappaport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army during the Civil War, it is a question his commanders have already answered for him -- on Passover, 1862, he is ordered to murder his own uncle in New Orleans, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln. After this harrowing mission, Jacob is recruited to pursue another enemy agent, the daughter of a Virginia family friend. But this time, his assignment isnt to murder the spy, but to marry her. Their marriage, with its riveting and horrifying consequences, reveals the deep divisions that still haunt American life today.
Based on real personalities like Judah Benjamin, the Confederacys Jewish Secretary of State and spymaster, and on historical facts and events ranging from an African-American spy network to the dramatic self-destruction of the city of Richmond, All Other Nights is a gripping and suspenseful story of men and women driven to the extreme limits of loyalty and betrayal. It is also a brilliant parable of the rift in America that lingers a century and a half later: between those who value family and tradition first, and those dedicated, at any cost, to social and racial justice for all.
In this eagerly-awaited third novel, award-winning author Dara Horn brings us page-turning storytelling at its best. Layered with meaning, All Other Nights presents the most American of subjects with originality and insight -- and the possibility of reconciliation that might yet await us.
Inside a barrel in the bottom of a boat, with a canteen of water wedged between his legs and a packet of poison concealed in his pocket, Jacob Rappaport felt a knot tightening in his stomach -- not because he was about to do something dangerous, but because he was about to do something wrong. He was nineteen years old, and he was accustomed to believing that he wasnt responsible for what he did, that there were all sorts of considerations and complications that didnt apply to him. So he had told himself that one knot was the other knot, that there was no distinction between fearing others and fearing oneself. But as he waited through his second endless night with his chin pressed against his knees and his arms pressed against the barrels wooden sides, listening to the waves slap against the hold of the smugglers boat that was carrying him to New Orleans, he knew the difference. It had begun on Passover of the previous year, when he first could have ...
Dara Horn's third novel All Other Nights shimmers with emotion and historical detail. Set amidst the tumult of the Civil War, Jacob Rappaport is on a quest to find himself. When he flees his parents' wealthy New York life, he knows little of himself or the world. His journey takes him into the bowels of evil, self-loathing and despair; yet there is redemption for him as well as he struggles to make sense of love and duty.
(Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
Full Review (983 words).
The Life & Times of Judah Benjamin
All Other Nights incorporates a number of historical characters, but perhaps the most integral to the tale is Judah Benjamin, the Secretary of State for the Confederate States of America.
Judah Benjamin was born in 1811 in the West Indies during the British occupation of the Danish West Indies (now US Virgin Islands). He emigrated with his father, an English Jew, and mother, a Portuguese Jew, to the USA a few years later and was brought up in North and South Carolina. He entered Yale Law School at 14 years of age but left without a degree. In 1832, he moved to New Orleans, LA, where he became a commercial lawyer. The next year, he married Natalie St. Martin, the daughter of a...
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