Five Years in Texas was first published in 1871 and was about the experiences of Thomas North during the Civil War in Texas. Thomas North was a Northerner and a Christian who arrived in Texas in January of 1861 and stayed in Texas for the duration of the war until January of 1866. He did not have southern sympathies but was wise enough to be careful about what he said and what he did however after he left Texas he wrote this book.
It is not your usual historic writings we normally associate with Texas. It is for the most part very critical of the Texas and its people but he praised some things.
The book is divided into 21 Chapters and a chapter of "Old Letters" which is basically bad poetry. As a whole it is a little disjointed and sometimes confusing.
Why would you want to want this book? Because it has several very good stories and sheds a different light on Civil War Texas that many have never heard. With all the writing and all descriptive words written, Thomas North tells very little about himself. I believe he was a merchant, a pastor of a church and had a family with him. (Hardly mentioned)
As I was reading this book I kept asking myself, "How did he avoid conscription into the Confederate Army?" Then a few chapters from the end of the book he wrote chapter called, "The Conscription Law and How the Writer Beat it"
Also, the book is part "Almanac" where the writer describes natural resources of Texas.
This is my favorite passage from the book:
"Texas is a country of great extremes and contradictions. It is the hottest and coldest the driest and wettest it has the most streams and the least water, some wet and some dry, and mostly dry at that the best soil and the poorest, very little of the latter the most cattle and the least milk, and butter, and cheese, and beef the most salubrious climate and most sudden changes of weather the least rain and heaviest rain-storms the sunniest sky and most terrific thunder-storms the most balmy Gulf breezes and most bitter biting northers long rivers and least navigation the heaviest pine forests and least pine lumber the best types of society, and the meanest the sun ever shone upon. "
I enjoyed this book.