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Prime Leaf: A Novel of the Kentucky Tobacco Wars

Jack Wall

2 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1892514826 / ISBN 13: 9781892514820
Published by Hill Street Press, 2000
Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Prime Leaf: A Novel of the Kentucky Tobacco ...

Publisher: Hill Street Press

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Good

About this title


Prime Leaf is the multi-generational drama that pits two brothers against each other in a story that wrestles with what William Faulkner called "the human heart in conflict with itself."
After witnessing his father's murder, young Boyd Converse comes of age amidst family struggles over low prices paid the family by the rapidly domineering tobacco conglomerates. He joins the Dark Tobacco District Planters' Association in their struggle against Duke Trust. The Possum Hunters (later, Night Riders) are born and subsequently ravage the land burning barns and inflicting violence against farmers who refuse to cooperate, Boyd in tow. One night, the Night Riders flog Boyd's brother and a family drama of epic proportion is set in motion: the conflict of a man defined by his violent actions yet pulled by family loyalty.

From Publishers Weekly:

Wall's first novel, which appears posthumously, is a tale of moral reevaluations set in post-Civil War Kentucky. It opens with a flashback: the murder of eight-year-old Boyd Converse's father. Local vigilantes scoop up the boy and give him a gun to dispatch his father's killer. The justiceAor injusticeAof this act is to echo through the rest of Boyd's life, setting the tone for his relationship with his mother, brother, wife and neighbors. For much of the book, those relationships are all there is to the story : the drama occurs only at the very beginning and the very end. The characters brood on honor and the difference between responsibility to one's friends and one's family; they discuss the importance of reputations; and they occasionally sleep with each other's spouses while contemplating the nature of loyalty. Boyd's conflicting ideals are eventually tested when the Dark Tobacco District Planters' Protective Association, organized to act as a bargaining unit to force tobacco buyers to pay reasonable prices, forms the Night Riders, a group of vigilantes sworn to bully nonmembers into cooperation. While Boyd believes in the association, he grapples with the unsavory aspects of the Night Riders' work. Although outlaw justice is never quite condoned, the tone of the story is noncommittal, suggesting that the Night Riders are still better than nothing. The novel has an unfinished feel to itAperhaps because the manuscript was not fully polished when Wall died. As a story about moral decisions, it leaves a surprising number of them unresolved. (Dec. 8)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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