The Titans

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Jakes, John. The Titans. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976. [The Kent Chronicles, Vol. 5] Out of print.

Jakes's sprawling Kent Chronicles make their way into the early 1860s, as the far-flung members of the clan take part on both sides of the secession conflict.

Jakes's series novels sold well in their day but were also panned by some critics for stilted dialogue, textbooky exposition-heavy narrative, fortuitous famous personages, and pulpy incidents. Despite all those flaws, The Titans is a brisk picture of national upheaval in 1860-61, conveying the suspense of an uncertain time.

The Titans alternates between New York City (where one Kent scion, Louis, is scheming to profit from the war) and Washington, DC (where Louis's cousin Jephtha is a remarkably well-placed correspondent for a Unionist newspaper). In the last third of the novel, Jephtha's son Gideon, a cavalryman in J.E.B. Stuart's troop, fights in the First Manassas campaign and battle.


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