Using her experiences in a hospital during America's Civil War, Louisa May Alcott weaves an intriguing yet troubling tale that pulls no punches covering the race relations that contributed to that war. Filled with anger, hope, taboo yearnings, intolerance, bloodlust and a death wish, the story details a few days in the life of a nurse who is assigned a dying Rebel as a patient and "my contraband," (Alcott's original title,)an escaped slave, as an orderly.
The use of terms now arcane (mulatto, quadroon, etc.) which were common at the time, and the concept of what makes a man free portrays a struggle that a century and a half later is still being played out. Indeed a classic story worth reading.