“A bildungsroman follows a troubled boy’s upbringing in a politically charged antebellum South…    Carvin masterfully brings to life a South in dramatic transition, and he avoids the binary categories of pro and con that often typify the genre. Eliza’s character, in particular, is well-drawn in subtle hues. She’s not quite an outright abolitionist, but her Christian compassion precludes an embrace of slavery… [T]his is a thoughtful, sensitive rendering of a complex period in American history… A philosophically challenging look at the inner turmoil of the American South in the 19th century.” — Kirkus Reviews

Alemeth Byers, son of a cotton planter, is surrounded by slaves and by people who want him to do what they think best.  But as he grows older, freedom takes on new meaning.  The biggest problem, everyone agrees, is that the government in Washington has gone out of control, threatening to deprive people of what they’ve worked their whole lives for, not to mention the complete subjugation of the South.

If civil war breaks out, will freedom come from pursuing his own desires, or doing what others demand?

Interwoven with the early history of Ole Miss, of Oxford, Mississippi, of its newspapers, and of America’s love affair with human bondage, Alemeth, in the end, is about the culture of human arrogance, about our persistent habit of telling other people how to behave despite our remarkable ability to be wrong. The book incorporates actual period newspaper articles and letters the real Alemeth wrote home during the civil war. 416 pages, including illustrations, maps, and a detailed bibliography.

If you’d like a free preview of the novel, I do better than “Look Inside This Book” – you can view and download the entire novel as a .pdf file. (This .pdf file is readable on a desktop or i-pad and any other device that can read .pdf files.)   As long as you’re willing to respect my copyright by agreeing to the terms and conditions on that page of this website, you can do so by clicking here:

I do have one request: that if you download the book, you e-mail me and let me know you’ve done so. (I’d like to know if Alemeth is getting out, or just hiding out here on the web!)

If you’d like to buy a paper-bound copy of the book, ISBN 978-0-9768183-8-0, they’re available at,, etc.  List price is $16.95.  (But be sure you get the revised edition. To be sure you do so, search on the ISBN number, not on the title, or just click on one of the following links.)

As an added bonus, you can also download (for free) a different document I’ve written about Alemeth.  It reflects the fact that most of Alemeth isn’t fiction, but history.  It bears the pretentious, tongue-in-cheek title, “A Reader’s Companion to the Novel Alemeth, with Commentary by the Author, in which Particular Attention is Given  to What is Real and What is Not.”  Warning: it contains plot spoilers and other material that might make reading Alemeth less enjoyable.  But once you read Alemeth, if you’re simply dying to know how very much of it is historical fact, you can take a look at the Reader’s Companion to get a very in-depth answer to that question.

To download the Reader’s Companion, just click here:

Reader’s Companion

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