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The Sheriffs Bluff 1908   By: (1853-1922)

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The Sheriffs Bluff 1908 by Thomas Nelson Page is a riveting historical novel that delves into the complexities of life in the American South at the turn of the twentieth century. Set against the backdrop of a small, close-knit community in Mississippi, the book offers a thought-provoking exploration of racism, justice, and the moral dilemma faced by its characters.

Page masterfully crafts a story that intertwines multiple narratives, capturing the essence of the era's political and social climate. The plot revolves around the sheriff of a predominantly African American town, forced to confront the injustices perpetrated by powerful white landowners. While many of his counterparts either turn a blind eye or actively participate in the corruption, Sheriff Bland takes a bold stand, risking his livelihood and safety to challenge the status quo.

One of the book's strengths lies in its vivid portrayal of the characters. Through their deeply human struggles and motivations, Page creates a rich tapestry of individuals grappling with societal constraints and their own conscience. Sheriff Bland is a particularly compelling protagonist, as he fights against ingrained prejudices and personal doubts, all while striving for justice in an inherently unjust system.

Page's writing style is elegant and evocative, capturing the essence of the time period with great detail and authenticity. Dialogue between characters is both realistic and poignant, allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the world and experiences of the novel. The prose flows seamlessly, the pacing is well-balanced, and the author's meticulous research is evident throughout.

Furthermore, The Sheriffs Bluff 1908 tackles profound themes that are still relevant in modern times. Page skillfully addresses racial discrimination, power dynamics, and the difficult choices individuals face when standing up against oppression. By grounding these issues in a specific historical context, the book prompts readers to reflect on how far we have come while urging us to continue striving for change.

However, despite its many merits, there are moments when the novel feels slightly weighed down by lengthy descriptions and subplots that can be tangential to the central narrative. Some readers may find these diversions distracting, as they momentarily detract from the overall momentum of the story. Nevertheless, the richly developed characters and the compelling exploration of the era's social dynamics ultimately overshadow this minor flaw.

In conclusion, The Sheriffs Bluff 1908 by Thomas Nelson Page is a captivating historical novel that offers a profound examination of racism, justice, and personal integrity. Through its well-drawn characters, meticulous research, and poignant storytelling, the book serves as a testament to the struggles faced by those who fought against discrimination in the American South. Although occasionally burdened by unnecessary diversions, its thought-provoking themes and compelling narrative make it a worthwhile read for those interested in exploring the complexities of America's past.

First Page:


By Thomas Nelson Page

Charles Scribner's Sons New York, 1908

Copyright, 1891, 1904, 1906


The county of H was an old Colonial county, and even as late as the time of my story contained many Colonial relics. Among them were the court house and the jail, and, at that time, the Judge and the Sheriff.

The court house was an old brick edifice of solemn and grayish brown, with a portico whose mighty columns might have stood before a temple of Minerva overlooking the Ægean Sea. With its thick walls and massive barred windows, it might have been thought the jail, until one saw the jail. The jail once seen stood alone. A cube of stone, each block huge enough to have come from the Pyramid of Cheops; the windows, or rather the apertures, were small square openings, crossed and recrossed with great bars of wrought iron, so massive that they might have been fashioned on the forge of the Cyclops. Looking through them from the outside, one saw just deep enough into the narrow cavern to see another iron grating, and catch a suspicion of the darkness beyond. The entrance was but a slit letting into a stone paved corridor on which opened the grinding iron doors of the four small cells, each door a grate of huge iron bars, heavily crossed, with openings just large enough to admit a hand... Continue reading book >>

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