The Free Flag of Cuba: The Lost Novel of Lucy Holcombe Pickens

TitleThe Free Flag of Cuba: The Lost Novel of Lucy Holcombe Pickens
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsPickens, Lucy
Tertiary AuthorsBurton, Georganne B., and Orville Vernon Burton
Number of Pages212
PublisherLouisiana State University Press
CityBaton Rouge, LA

The wife of South Carolina secessionist governor Francis W. Pickens and known as the "Queen of the Confederacy," Lucy Holcombe Pickens (1832-1899) was during her lifetime one of the most famous women in the South. Rumor was that in her youth she published a novel under a pseudonym. Recently discovered as The Free Flag of Cuba; or, The Martyrdom of Lopez: A Tale of the Liberating Expedition of 1851, her 1854 book is a romanticized account of the 1851 filibustering expedition to Cuba by Narciso Lopez. With this new edition, Orville Vernon Burton and Georganne B. Burton resurrect Holcombe's lost work and prove it to be a window on many pressing nineteenth-century issues. A not-so-subtle plea for U.S. support for Cuban independence from Spain, Holcombe's novel vindicates Lopez and his men... and declares them to be martyred heroes. The tale clearly reflects the values southern aristocratic women expected in men, even if preserving those values meant death and defeat--a harbinger of ardent support for the Confederacy by women like Lucy. With an illuminating introduction detailing the life of Lucy Petway Holcombe Pickens and the historical context of her novel, this new edition of The Free Flag of Cuba is a welcome glimpse into the mind and value system of the southern belle who would become a southern icon.

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