Read Band of Angels by Robert Penn Warren Online


Amantha Starr, born and raised by a doting father on a Kentucky plantation in the years before the Civil War, is the heroine of this powerfully dramatic novel. At her father's death Amantha learns that her mother was a slave and that she, too, is to be sold into servitude. What follows is a vast panorama of one of the most turbulent periods of American history as seen throAmantha Starr, born and raised by a doting father on a Kentucky plantation in the years before the Civil War, is the heroine of this powerfully dramatic novel. At her father's death Amantha learns that her mother was a slave and that she, too, is to be sold into servitude. What follows is a vast panorama of one of the most turbulent periods of American history as seen through the eyes of this star-crossed young woman. Amantha soon finds herself in New Orleans, where she spends the war years with Hamish Bond, a slave trader. At war's end, she marries Tobias Sears, a Union officer and Emersonian idealist. Despite sporadic periods of contentment; Amantha finds life with Tobias trying, and she is haunted still by her tangled past. Oh, who am I? she asks at the beginning of the novel. Only after many years, after achieving a hard-won wisdom and maturity, does she begin to understand the answer to that question. Band of Angels puts on ready display Robert Penn Warren's prodigious gifts. First published in 1955, it is one of the most searing and vivid fictional accounts of the Civil War era ever written....

Title : Band of Angels
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780807119464
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 375 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Band of Angels Reviews

  • Colleen Lynch
    2019-05-14 20:23

    A book like this reminds me why I love Robert Penn Warren. He is without a doubt my favorite writer, and this book wrapped me up in its time period and beautiful wording to the point I never wanted to leave. If you want to read about the Civil War from an interesting perspective outside the battlefield, pick this up. I went in not knowing what to expect and was captivated. Warren creates a compelling story here, and his writing brings it along beautifully, and I was not disappointed. Some people are disappointed his works aren't all like "All the Kings Men," but if you look the similarities are there. You will enjoy this book if you give it a chance.

  • Kerry
    2019-05-15 14:37

    I am genuinely upset by how this book has disappeared from this day and age. I thought is was fascinating, some of the characters, although with bad streaks and moments, I liked for the way they came off the page, how they felt like real people. I never felt like it was just a character, these were people who made mistakes, people who I could relate to, who struggled to say and name how they felt, who struggled to find the right words. It didn't feel planned, the story and the dialogue felt natural. The main characters were wonderfully developed the ending felt as satisfying as it could be after all that had happened.This may not be a popular opinion but I did really like Hamish Bond overall, and I like to think I can understand some of the reasons he said and acted in certain ways. Not that I'm excusing some of his actions and words. But he was human.It's interesting I actually struggled to like Amantha sometimes because of her ignorance and naivety but in the end, I finally heaved a sigh of relief as she began to get her head around her thoughts. She had a lot of thoughts. That's why I liked this book. They were humans. Confused humans. I felt like I was reading a wonderful story that transported me into a new world and perspective for me whilst also receiving a lesson in humanity and identity. The best books are where the characters a relatable even if they aren't human, are from an older time or different place in society. If I can feel how they feel or understand them, a book is a hit with me.This book deserves so much more recognition as it is a real novel, well written. I don't regret buying it and will add it to my favourites. Once again, this needs to get more prints in circulation again because it's far more interesting and successful in its ability to speak to me on an emotional level than some of the poor bestsellers of this day and age (I'm looking at you Fifty Shades of Grey). By the Way, I have recently watched the film after finishing this. So different from the book but I did love the film in it's own seperate way. They are practically two different creatures. A love story is the film, and I got a Hamish Bond I pictures mostly throughout the novel except for his final moments on the page. I still liked his character in both the book and film. And I preferred Amantha in the film. Clark Gable really is a good Hamish!!!But as I said, the book and the film are seperate creatures and I will forever look at them as seperate as I love them seperately. I really do! Just a couple of great stories!

  • Jeanette
    2019-04-23 18:43

    Motherless Amantha "Manty" Starr grows up white in Kentucky in the mid-1800s. She is coddled by her father and adored by his slaves. Her father dies when she's a teen, and she discovers that her mother was a slave. Without her father to protect her, she is then sold into slavery herself in New Orleans. She has it pretty easy compared to most slaves. She marries a Union soldier she met during the Civil War and spends the next 25 years agonizing over her half-black identity. She passes for white, but blames every slight and setback on her being a "nigger." She's constantly worrying that she'll be found out, even though her husband already knows her secret. Her petulance and self-pity are out of proportion to her suffering. She never recovers from the sudden debasement after having grown up feeling superior as a white person. In truth, she's loved and accepted by both white and black communities, but she can never let herself feel like she belongs on either side of the color bar. In the end Manty understands that her continuing enslavement is a result of her perception, and only she can free herself.It took me a long time to get through this book. The writing is solid, but the story's progress is lethargic. I stayed with it only because I found All The King's Men so compelling. Band of Angels has value as an in-depth exploration of race and identity issues. I'm sure it had greater relevance in the South when it was published in 1955.

  • John Edvin
    2019-05-12 14:19

    Since I didn't grow up in the US, I don't know much about the actual history of the Civil War, but it looks to me that the fictional story is entwined seemlessly with some of those events and historical figures. As a period piece, it is outstanding. I rate it 5 stars, but before the last 10 pages I was thinking 4. The whole novel is well written, by a master of the English language, let me make that clear. In American lit. few authors have equaled the greatness of Robert Penn Warren. The main problem I had in reading Band of Angels, was that the sympathy for the main character I felt in the beginning dissipates, and in the middle part I lost interest in her plight. Its historical context does remain interesting, and kept me turning the pages. The ending wasn't just a great ending, it raised the quality of the entire novel.

  • Kfiscus
    2019-04-23 16:44

    Do not read this book if you are looking for a romance novel... Get one with Fabio on the cover. Do not read this book if you are a Civil War Buff... Not enough battle to get you rattled. Do not read this book if you are looking for a plot line that will reward you with heroes and villains neatly defined, or if you are unwilling or unable to believe that we are all heroes and villains in the same person at the same time. Do not read this book if you are unwilling to think and analyze and examine yourself and others... Because that is what Robert Penn Warren excels at: scrutinizing human ideas, beliefs, and feelings.

  • Denis
    2019-04-30 18:47

    Penn Warren is remembered mostly for All the King’s Men, but Band of Angels was one of his big commercial successes and even became a colorful Hollywood epic. A beautiful movie, by the way, but which takes a lot of liberties with its source, and which does not give full justice to the author’s prose, nor to what he was trying to do. Plus, the film only retains a few elements from this dense book: a more faithful adaptation would have required many more hours! Band of Angels the novel disguises as a romantic southern drama of the civil War, the way Gone With the Wind or Raintree County are remembered, and as such, it works pretty well, although it may seems sometimes uneven and too long. Penn Warren, in a way, is more a thinker than a storyteller. In truth, this book is mostly a meditation about the tortured history of the South, and about what freedom truly means and can represent for a divided soul, both conceptually and practically. That idea, at the center of the book, is what makes reading it such an interesting experience. Penn Warren can be a wonderful writer, he does, notably, brings back to life the complexities of life in the South with great intelligence, although his approach to History may feel dated to some. His heroine, whose tumultuous life we follow over the course of a few tragic decades, is fascinating and remains the beating heart of the novel. She is the daughter of a plantation owner and of a slave, that is what determines her fate and her choices, it is her burden as well as her strength. She may well be one of the most underrated and intriguing characters of American literature.

  • Jim Puskas
    2019-04-29 21:24

    "Ah, truth, I thought, it isn't enough just to be true, we have to SAY the truth to make it a living truth." So says Manty in confronting the truth of her own reality, her own identity.Manty spends her chaotic, troubled life searching for answers about truth, about who and what she really is and especially about the possibility of being "free". In the end, she does discover the secret of who it is that can set her free.In Amantha Starr, Warren has given us one of fiction's great personalities -- sheltered child born into love and privilege, abandoned and sold into slavery, finding her way through the chaos of the Civil War and its politically and economically brutal aftermath. Loved in turn by a slave trader, a preacher, and an idealistic soldier she was in some manner betrayed by them all.It's a magnificently written story by a master story teller. Warren employs all of his skill and inspiration as a poet to illuminate his prose.

  • B. Spencer Edwards
    2019-04-29 22:46

    I could be wrong, but I think one of the reasons this great piece of literature failed to survive decades onward was due to the fact that the movie starring Clark Gable was deemed a great a disappointment. People at the time expected an offering not unlike Gone With the Wind, but they got something different. Joining Amantha Starr on her journey is a rewarding dive into rich prose and authentic history from a different point of view. Following Ms. Starr on her journey to not only freedom, but to her discovery of true identity, one cannot help but to be enamored with the color and beauty of this piece.

  • Tom
    2019-04-28 21:19

    I think about writers who wrote both great poetry and great novels, and in my humble opinion there are very few. Only Hardy, Graves, and Warren comes to mind. This alone has to make RPW one of the best writers to have ever lived. Band of Angels is a good novel. It's not as good as All The Kings Men but what is?

  • Maria Teresa
    2019-05-02 15:43

    Letto in italiano ovviamente, ma non trovo l'edizione Bompiani qua su goodreads

  • Tim
    2019-05-17 15:22

    Robert Penn Warren gets in a vivid "All the King's Men"-like zone for the last quarter of "Band of Angels," and that lifts this 1955 novel right near the top of Warren's non-Pulitzer-winning output. This tale of race in the Civil War era, told by a first-person female narrator, finishes like a champ.In "Band of Angels," Amantha Starr grows up knowing only her father, her mother having died in childbirth and her body residing not in the cemetery but near their Louisiana home. Amantha, who lives as and looks white, grows up not knowing that her mother was a slave. When her father dies while owing a debt, Amantha finds out about her past and becomes a man's property at the same time. Amantha struggles with her identity while she passes to another man, Hamish Bond, who treats her well generally while not giving her her freedom, who has "the easy rule of kindness like a disease."Amantha comes to learn of Bond's role as an illegal slave trader — a very effective extended passage — even as their relationship grows more complicated and Bond's right-hand man, a troubled, conflicted, charismatic black man named Rau-Ru, becomes embroiled in Amantha's and Bond's lives.In time, Bond and Amantha part as the Civil War deepens, she marries a man who eventually joins the Freedman's Bureau and works for black men's suffrage after the war. Warren's handling of this part of the novel is a little butterfingered, his explanation of the political situation not very clear. But when a convention is called and violence intrudes on the issue of the black vote, however murky the waters, Warren starts to shine brightly. Amantha's plight and emotional intensity get ratcheted up big time, and the last 100 pages of the novel are brilliant.In some ways, one could say Warren fails to get into the head of his mixed-race heroine. But, really, Amantha has trouble getting into her own head, starting the novel by asking "Who am I?"From the novel:"Was life only that, a re-enactment of what you thought you could not bear, but which was, somehow, the very essence of what yourself was?""It was, in a way, as though the thing not done — the flight not made — is always done, too, and never releases you from the grip of the old possibility, and you can only escape from the done, never from the not-done, which in its not-doneness is always being enacted forever."For the record, it's unclear what the title "Band of Angels" means.

  • Susanne
    2019-04-25 18:42

    This book is not like the movie. Bad start for a book review, right? It's relevant here because I saw the movie - a romance starring Clark Gable that deals surprisingly frankly with sexual issues - so I decided to see what the book was like. I had no idea it was written by the same man who wrote All The King's Men. That explains why:1) It is not a romance.2) It is Deep and Philosophical and our heroine struggles with Predestination vs Free Will.Personally, because I'd seen the film, I was looking for more to be done in the historical romance vein - especially since so few current romances are set in the antebellum South. In that I was disappointed.The book deftly works in real historical characters and is a true page-turner. Despite my increasing annoyance with the book, I read 'til the very end.I think if you like Civil War era historical fiction, you'll like this - if you haven't seen the movie.

  • Peggy
    2019-05-11 18:21

    Interesting story set before, during and after the Civil War, told from the perspective of a woman who was raised as a white plantation owner's daughter and, on his death, learned that her mother was a slave and that she herself was considered black. She is subsequently sold and spends the rest of the book seeking her identity, not being fully comfortable in either the black or the white world.Nobody in this story is firmly good or bad. Some of them swing wildly into both categories. Extensive use of the N word throughout the book. Not sure if that reflects the times that the story was set in or the times when the author wrote it, but it distracted me from the story and the writing. Which is a shame because All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren is one of my favorite books.

  • Lillian
    2019-05-01 14:40

    Robert Penn Warren was masterful at capturing the emotion and psychology of a wide variety of characters in different states of life. Band of Angels offers insight into the world of slavery just before and during the Civil War, as well as a view of the politics of Reconstruction in Louisiana. The book reveals the cultural assumptions that kept slavery going, as well as the cultural elements that challenged it. I gained a richer perspective for the time period. The internal journey of the main character offers valuable lessons for people in any time.

  • Christine
    2019-05-02 17:41

    This story, at times tragic, tells about the life of a pampered daughter of a slave owner who, upon his death learns that she is the daughter of a slave and is herself sold into slavery. What follows is her journey of self- acceptance. Her life coincides with the tumultuous history of our country. Some of the book is gripping and easy to stay with. Other parts are overly extended. I was also frustrated by the last 100 pages of the book. The main characters seem to be drifting apart in their marriage, but the author is never clear why. The book is redeemed by a fabulous ending.

  • Martha Earl
    2019-04-25 20:34

    I love Robert Penn Warren. This one got on my nerves at times. Manty was so naive but not unrealistically so. Very accurate to the racism of the times, the failure of the moral superiority of the abolitionists, and the role of women in society, the author delivers a book that invites questions. He remains for me a stellar talent, but this is no moonlight and magnolias idealization of the Old South. Manty can pass in a white society but is tormented by the deceptions of her father and the hypocrisy of her own life.

  • Richard Epstein
    2019-05-06 19:20

    If you're bound by contemporary pieties regarding the use of historically accurate but currently (and properly) offensive epithets, you may want to turn your attention elsewhere. I found the book too episodic and too dependent on coincidence to be among Penn Warren's best; but Penn Warren at his worst is better than most novelists at their best; and I am not offended by a novelist's use of words which offensively portray offenses. Cf. Huck Finn.

  • Jack Goodstein
    2019-05-15 19:19

    Story of a woman brought up as white, who discovers when her father dies that she is black by definitions prior to the Civil War. Follows her from Kentucky to Ohio to New Orleans and out west to Missouri and Kansas from the middle of the century to the period after the war and an eventual spiritual awakening.

  • Irene
    2019-05-19 20:34

    This book is a fascinating exploration of race in the context of our not-so-distant history (Civil War era). While it is uncomfortable and painful at times, this is only because it portrays the deep injustice and pain that have been inflicted on African-Americans, exposing even subtle forms of racism that one can still see today.

  • Gina Whitlock
    2019-05-04 15:35

    Interesting novel set during civil war period, where the story is told not from a battlefield perspective but more from a political perspective. There is a female narrator who passes as white, but was sold into slavery when she was a young woman. Her father had died and could not protect her. Her story deals mainly in coming to terms with her own identity.

  • Attycorcoran
    2019-05-16 17:43

    Was very good, but the main character came across as less than likable. She was better as a witness to interesting times (1850s to 1890s living in the American South). Not sure if that was intentional by the author. I'd read another of his books.

  • Sallie Dunn
    2019-05-08 20:44

    Picked this up at my local library's used book store because I thought ALL THE KING'S MEN was such a great book. This one did not disappoint. Told in the first person with an introspective flare that makes for a slower story but very powerful.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-20 20:30

    A compelling historical novel about a girl who learns her mother was a slave when her white plantation owner father dies and she is sold into slavery. A profound examination of the civil war and reconstruction.

  • Ellen Johnson
    2019-04-21 18:39

    very interesting idea for a story about slavery, loved the main character. too much historical politics toward the end

  • Molly
    2019-04-29 17:30

    I picked this book not knowing a single thing about it. The plot a a little slow but it had potential (never fully reached that potential) to be great.

  • Linda
    2019-05-09 22:47

    Read it so long ago, but I remember I really liked it. It's about the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner.

  • John
    2019-05-16 16:33

    civil war story with teeenagers and that is who should be reading it, not me

  • Dan Piette
    2019-05-03 20:41

    The South, from 1858 to about 1890