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Biography

John Esten Cooke was an American novelist, poet and Civil-War veteran best-known for his writings about his home state of Virginia. Although trained as a lawyer, Cooke was able to support himself with his writing from the very beginning of his career, and eventually produced more than 200 published works, including the novels The Virginia Comedians and The Wearing of the Gray, and biographies about General Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Although Cooke served under General J. E. B. Stuart during the American Civil War, he was not suited to military life and returned to his writing at the war’s end. Cooke died 1886 and is commemorated in the John Esten Cooke Fiction Award, awarded annually by the Military Order of the Stars and Bars.

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