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"Jackson," he said. "Do you know what General Thomas J. Jackson said on one occasion? On the occasion of his unfortunate death. I memorized it once. I can't respond for its accuracy of course. But this is how it was reported: 'Order A. P. Hill to prepare for action.' Then some more delirious crap. Then he said, 'No, no, let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.'"

Across the River and into the Trees (1950) was Ernest Hemingway's second-to-last ante mortem publication.

The book takes place in Venice in the tail-end of World War II. It is about an old Colonel, formerly a General, whose health is failing. We understand that, by the end of the book, he will die.

At the same time, he falls in love with an Italian young girl named Renata. The book indulges in many romantic passages. But the prospect of death makes these passages as agonizing as they are sweet.

The book also, through flashbacks, examines the horrors and ludicrousness of war and how they've shaped the old Colonel.

If you're a fan of Ernest Hemingway, you'll like this book just fine. If you're new to him, though, I'd sooner read A Farewell to Arms or perhaps The Old Man and the Sea.

Across the River and into the Trees
A fictional novel by Ernest Hemingway
283 pages
Published by Scribner (Now owned by Simon & Schuster)
ISBN 0-684-82553-8

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