• White Doves at Morning

  • By: James Lee Burke
  • Narrated by: Will Patton
  • Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (125 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In a startling departure, James Lee Burke has written an epic story of love, hate, and survival set against the tumultuous background of the Civil War and Reconstruction.  

At the center of the tale are James Lee Burke's own ancestors, Robert Perry, who comes from a slave-owning family of wealth and privilege, and Willie Burke, born of Irish immigrants, a poor boy who is as irreverent as he is brave and decent. Despite personal and political conflicts, both men join the Confederate Army, determined not to back down in their commitment to their moral beliefs, to their friends, and to the abolitionist woman with whom both are infatuated.

Willie's friend Flower Jamison, a beautiful young black slave, is owned by - and fathered by, although he will not admit it - Ira Jamison. Owner of Angola Plantation, Ira Jamison returns after the war and transforms his plantation into a penal colony which houses prisoners he rents out as laborers to replace the emancipated slaves.

Against all local law and customs, Willie teaches Flower how to read and write. She receives the help and protection of Abigail Dowling, the Massachusetts abolitionist who has attracted both Willie and Robert Perry's attention. These love affairs are fraught with danger and compromised by the great and grim events of the Civil War and its aftermath.

With unforgettable battle scenes at Shiloh and in the Shenandoah Valley, White Doves at Morning is an epic masterpiece of historical fiction.

©2002 James Lee Burke, All Rights Reserved (P)2002 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved, AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This moving morality play shows a different dimension of this gifted writer." (Publishers Weekly)
"An epic filmed in tight focus, taking us from secession to Reconstruction at an intensely personal level." (Booklist)
"I know of no better or more consistent team in audio publishing than Burke and Patton." (Albany Times Union)

What listeners say about White Doves at Morning

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

not his best

Burke is better known for his Robicheaux series and westerns, but he had a personal interest in embarking on this work of historical fiction. Willie Burke, the key protagonist is the author's ancestor. Unfortunately, the characters in this work lack the depth one finds among the underworld misfits that populate the Robicheaux novels. Will Patton does a creditable job with characters' voices, but the combination of his slightly pedantic narrator's voice with Burke's uncharacteristically flat prose makes third-person description occasionally sound like a partially-interested car salesman describing the features of a used Oldsmobile. This may be due to the fact that while he is an expert on Cajun culture since 1950, Burke is clearly not as well versed on the Civil War, or even the nineteenth century, for that matter. Civil War buffs will find much of the plot surrounding camp life and combat somewhat hackneyed. These include a battle scene that will remind the listener of something done by Stephen Crane a century eariler in _The Red Badge of Courage_. Throughout, the imagery and description found in _White Doves_ seems superficial in comparison with the richness one has come to expect in his crime novels. Perhaps I am too critical, as I so enjoyed the Robicheaux series that this book came as a let down.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story

I felt a little critical of how the book seemed to jump ahead in time and it felt like something had been skipped over. I didn't realize it was abridged until the end. It probably is a really good story unabridged. The best part was the end when he tells what happened to all the charaters. I also didn't realize it was based on real characters until the end. I can't recommend the abridged version.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Worth the time and worth the cost.

Kept my interest throughout. Great performance and great story line. I find these novels so interesting and well written. Moreover, the narrator captures the intent of the story right on. A great team!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It was okay

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

It's a kind of story line that keeps you listening but overall it leaves you with a feeling of being unfulfilled. I thought the book would be more focused on the war but instead was more focused on a life of a slave girl.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very good civil war story. Is it a true story?

If you could sum up White Doves at Morning in three words, what would they be?

Similar to the storyline of Cold Mountain. Well written and narrated.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The female heroine (I forgot her name already) because of her courage in the midst of hatred and bigotry.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A story of courage amid persecution. and bigotry.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not my favorite

Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book as I found the author spent too much time trying to describe places, people, events, etc. This tended to drag the story out and made me lose interest. I finally just deleted it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

history unfolded

want to live in the war on american soil, you wil be apart of it if you listen to this tale when the south goes to fight the north,and slavery,is caught in the mist of it all, americans shed there blood, and why? we learn in school when we were chrildren of this war but never did a teacher put us there as Burke does, these days are to most forgotten or not told as they should be in truth,Burke leaves no stone unturned,and just like all his work you won't be able to put it down!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Classic Burke

Deep South geography and history, class struggle, conflicted protagonists, misery and beauty... all classic James Lee Burke. Heartily recommended.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

Having read about 4 of Burke’s previous novels and enjoyed them I gave this one a try. I was disappointed. It is flawed mostly by the writer’s lack of understanding of the time period and projection of modern moral judgments into people of the time. It’s as if it was written to please a modern day liberal who believes that most white men are racist, rapists and evil especially those from the south. I hate that Burke has chosen to feed that narrative. It was hard for me to get through so much BS. The historical novels of Shaara are so much better. For one they are far more historically accurate and devoid of an agenda other than being true to the people and time.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Graphic Violence

I love the reader's voice which is why I chose the novel. I should have guessed a Civil War novel would be full of graphic violence.