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The Colonel's Dream

Charles W. Chesnutt

Book Overview: 

In this novel, Chesnutt described the hopelessness of Reconstruction in a post-Civil War South that was bent on reestablishing the former status quo and rebuilding itself as a region of the United States where new forms of "slavery" would replace the old. This novel illustrated how race hatred and the impotence of a reluctant Federal Government trumped the rule of law, ultimately setting the stage for the rise of institutions such as Jim Crow, lynching, chain gangs and work farms--all established with the intent of disenfranchising African Americans.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Good-bye, sir," he added, addressing the colonel. "Will you be in town long?"

"I really haven't decided. A day or two, perhaps a week. I am not bound, at present, by any business ties—am foot-loose, as we used to say when I was young. I shall follow my inclinations."

"Then I hope, sir, that you'll feel inclined to pay us a long visit and that I shall see you many times."

As Ben Dudley, after this courteous wish, stepped down from the piazza, Graciella rose and walked with him along the garden path. She was tall as most women, but only reached his shoulder.

"Say, Graciella," he asked, "won't you give me an answer."

"I'm thinking about it, Ben. If you could take me away from this [44]dead old town, with its lazy white people and its trifling niggers, to a place where there's music and art, and life and society—where there's something going on all the time, I'd like to marry you. But if I did so now, you'd take me out. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This book is engrossing, but appears to be very naive and simplistic in its approach to Reconstruction after the Civil War, the poison of white supremacy, and the feckless attitude of the blacks themselves, resigned to whatever is dished out by the white men.

Col. French, a Southern gentleman who has

If you’d like to continue the fun that you most definitely did not have while reading The Marrow of Tradition, you might want to consider being victimized by Charles Chesnutt’s final novel, The Colonel’s Dream. Contrary to what the title seems to suggest, magical realism is seldom invoked and even t

This is the first of Chesnutt’s novels I’ve read, and while I don’t think it quite reaches the brilliance of some of his short stories, “The Colonel’s Dream” is a fascinating, beautifully written examination of the post-Reconstruction South with unflinching commentary about local corruption and conv

This 1905 novel by the black writer Charles W. Chesnutt should be more widely read. It touches on themes and aspects of Southern history that have not appeared in many works of fiction, or very much in history. More on one of those issues in a moment.

The main character of the novel is a white, ex-pl

The Colonel’s Dream is a strange but fascinating novel. Written at the turn of the last century by the African-American writer Charles Chestnutt, it is an indictment of the post-reconstruction South. The novel is pessimistic about race relations and white’s inability to give up their notions of supe

Great book. I enjoyed Chesnutt's reflection of a post Civil War South. But, I could not help but to notice that John Jakes and Margret Mitchell may have read this book. =0.
I would recommend the audio version. Peter won my heart.

This one started out as a Utopian ideal much like other progressive books of the early 20th century. The Colonel is almost unbelievably upright and honest, but likable. Going to the post-reconstruction South creates in him a desire to better the lives of the people in his hometown. He has the means

This is a fascinating novel. It is written in a readable style and it keeps your interest with many plot twists and turns. My daughter loaned it to me to read as it was one of the books covered in her college Interpretation of Fiction class. It was so far ahead of its time and progressive and the au

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