Captains and Kings – Taylor Caldwell

captains_and_kings3Penniless, Joseph Armagh emigrates from Ireland to the United States at the age of 13 in the early 1850s.  This great epic novel focuses on Armagh’s climb to the top, and the price he pays for his single-minded determination.  We experience several historical events along the way, including the American Civil War. One of the most interesting aspects of the book, is the theory the author advances that the world is run by an international cabal of bankers who have no political allegiance other than to their own self-interest.  Caldwell suggests the Civil War was planned in London in 1857 to raise vast sums of money.  She argues that when Abraham Lincoln planned to forgive the South, threatening hopes for plunder and profit, he was eliminated as was Garfield when he showed sympathy for immigrant workers, and McKinley who did not want the Spanish-American War.  It’s an interesting hypothesis and provides a thought-provoking back drop for this wonderfully melodramatic saga.

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