Mississippi Books and Writers

January 2004

Note: Prices listed below reflect the publisher's suggested list price. They are subject to change without notice.

Prisoners of WarPrisoners of War

By Steve Yarbrough

Knopf (Hardcover, $23.00, ISBN: 0375414789)

Publication date: January 2004

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Set in the same small Mississippi town as Yarbrough’s critically acclaimed Visible Spirits, this complex WWII-era novel explores questions of morality and social inequity in the rural South when a group of German POWs are quartered at a local camp and sent to work as day laborers on nearby farms. The novel opens with the uncomfortable friendship between young Dan Timms, who drives one of his enterprising Uncle Alvin’s “rolling stores” (old school buses boasting all the necessities of country life: sodas, coal-oil lamps, radios), and L.C. Stevens, the black employee who drives the other. While L.C. vainly struggles to make his work partner see the “parallel universe” in which black Americans are trapped, Dan yearns to join the army and escape the fresh memory of his father’s recent suicide and his suspicions about his mother’s past. But Dan’s friend Marty Stark shows him another side of war when he returns damaged and changed from the German theater and is reassigned to help guard the town’s German POWs. The story shifts subtly when a Polish prisoner informs Dan of an escape planned by several other prisoners, setting in motion a chain of events that eventually brings Marty’s troubled war memories to the surface. Meanwhile, L.C. suffers a beating by an older, powerful white man who, after losing his own son in the war, uses his influence to ensure that the young black man is drafted. The multiple subplots slow the novel’s pace, but Yarbrough’s warm, measured voice, clean prose and rich character studies make this an unusually tender and accomplished study of the reverberations of war on the home front.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Mississippi Writers Page Links
About This Site |
New Book Info | News & Events | Literary Landmarks | Mississippi Literary History | Mississippi Publishing | Other Features | Other Web Resources

by author | by title | by place | by year | by genre


Ole Miss Links
UM Home Page | English Department | Center for the Study of Southern Culture | The University of Mississippi Foundation

This page has been accessed 853 times. About this page counter.

Last Revised on Monday, November 9, 2015, at 04:34:32 PM CST .
Send comments to

Web Design by John B. Padgett.
Copyright © 2015 The University of Mississippi English Department.