The Color of Lightning

The Color of Lightning

A Novel

Large Print - 2009
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The story of two different families, headed by a former slave and by a Quaker, who settle in Texas during the Civil War.
Publisher: New York : HarperLuxe, 2009.
Edition: Large print ed.
ISBN: 9780061720055
Characteristics: 542 p. :,ill., map ;,23 cm.


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Mar 15, 2019

A novel of the old west, based on a true story of Britt Johnson, a freed slave whose wife and family were stolen by Indians but eventually recovered.
This story is captivating but brutal so fair warning.

Feb 22, 2019

A story worth telling and in Paulette Jiles hands, a pleasure to read. The Color of Lightning is highly recommended.

Oct 21, 2018

This book is greatly enriched by the depth and complexity of Paulette Jiles' cultural and historical research that wonderfully illuminated her sequel "News of the World". Here we are swept into the turbulent world of 1860's north Texas and Oklahoma where the Comanches and Kiowa were beginning their last struggle for survival as "civilization" closes in on them.
Jiles' protagonist, the newly freed black man Britt Johnson emerges as one of history's most engaging characters as he makes his way in this dangerous environment. His unexpected friendship with the semi-renegade Comanche Tissoyo adds an intriguing twist to the story. That and the hopeless moral dilemma faced by Samuel Hammond, a Quaker serving as Indian Agent, forced to mediate between warring factions and saddled with the impossible task of transforming free-spirit warrior Comanches into farmers.
It is from the mouth of Tissoyo that the book's title emerges; and therein lies what I saw as the book's one serious weakness: Tisoyo comes across as an almost mythical being and his poetic facility with Spanish is not really credible. Thus four stars instead of five.

Aug 27, 2018

As a rule, I love historical fiction. (This book may be closer to biography since the author did a monumental amount of research for it and it reads a lot like a report.) and its title is beautiful, poetic. I was drawn to it by its subject matter but I am not going to continue reading its graphic violence .

Aug 05, 2018

I loved Enemy Women and this is another great piece of historical fiction based on fact. It is Texas and Kansas history with Indians and settlers and the violence of every day life during that period. It seems to tell the story from many different view points so that you don't get the feeling that history only happened to one group of people. I plan to read more of her work.

Nov 14, 2017

Was going to comment and then read Hecto's review from a few months back. I second his/her review. Jiles is a wonderful writer and I needed to skip some paragraphs and even whole pages b/c I didn't want to read descriptions of atrocities

Jul 31, 2017

This is the prequel to 'News of the World', and it displays the same outstanding qualities of the latter book: the author's exceptional ability to describe the natural world and the material culture of both Indian peoples and white settlers along the Texas frontier. As with 'News', the well-crafted story focuses on the recovery and return of white captives; but the message here is clearer and broader. We are made witness to a collision of civilizations that no 'enlightened policy' can prevent from running its inevitable course. The Kiowa and Comanche are going to go down fighting for their way of life because it is the right thing for them to do - indeed the only thing. In the author's sure hand these men and women are brave , joyful, clever, generous - but also gratuitously violent and cruel, with little capacity for empathy. The balance that she strikes in character description is really admirable. These are flesh-and-blood Indians, not Rousseauian children of Nature. Yes, they have been dispossessed by the whites, who are guilty of mass violence as well - something that Jiles makes abundantly clear throughout her narrative. But her ability to portray this clash as a 'fateful' encounter, a true tragedy, is what makes this a superior book - and a darn good read as well.

Jun 22, 2017

Well written story based on actual references to events in the life of Britt Johnson, a freed slave who brought his wife and 3 children to Elm Creek, Texas in 1863. This is the story of the ongoing battle between the settlers who pushed into Indian Territory and the clash of cultures as the Indians continued their long standing tradition of nomadic life, raids for horses and slaves and brutal treatment of those they chose not to enslave.

Dec 06, 2016

It's probably worth more stars but I can't read something that I think is going to have murder and mayhem in it. It started off beautifully, but the dark clouds started forming and I was out.
Yeah, wimpish, but nowadays I want to read something that won't throw me into despair.

Nov 26, 2016

Jiles fictional account of real-life Britt Johnson’s efforts at restitution of family and neighbors kidnapped by raiding Cheyenne and Kiowa in post-Civil War Texas is fascinating.

I liked that her characters were realistic and not stereotypes. Britt Johnson’s efforts to run his business and Samuel Hammond’s efforts as the Quaker Indian agent added authenticity and pathos to this tale. Good historical fiction.

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