While no one can question Jackson bravery or brilliant strategy during the Civil War, I found that I would dislike the man My dislike is because he advocated without mercy, executing all Union soldiers when they surrendered He also was extremely determined to court martial someone whom his staff repeatedly told him that same man was actually brave in battle My final dislike is that he had a complete nervous breakdown during the war.
I found this a masterful telling of the life of the Confederate General Thomas Stonewall Jackson Mr Gwynne really brings to life the man who was probably the best tactical General of the Civil War From the opening prologue, the Jackson the author presents is not a man who is big on appearances He is dressed in such a way as to be almost unnoticeable on a crowded train platform.
In this well written account, the author tells the story of Jackson s life and brings to life the contradictions and motivations of the man For example, a devout Christian, Jackson almost always attributes his success to God s will This leads him to an almost reckless attitude for his own safety in battle and to care greatly about his men, both their physical and spiritual needs At the same time his uncompromising Christian morality gets him into trouble in the prewar Gwynne describes his biography of Jackson as an amateur effort, and as such, it is a strong one He documents meticulously, using both primary documents and highly respected secondary sources It is a sympathetic portrait of Jackson, generally speaking, although the author maintains a reasonable professional distance and objectivity Sometimes his point of view is that of the dispassionate observer, and at other times, he speaks as if he were Jackson s friend, a quirky touch that I found oddly endearing.
I should mention two things next One is that although I have read a good deal about the American Civil War and taught about it , I have never read a Jackson biography before, so I don t have a basis for comparison This is a bare spot in my own Civil War scholarship that I hope to rectify The second thing I should say is that my S.
C Gwynne sure knows how to tell a story I was a little afraid that a 700 page book focused on one person in the Civil War would be a little tedious, but I couldn t have beenwrong This book is fascinating I got caught up in it like I normally would a novel It s intense, sometimes really sad, and sometimes really funny.
I was also a little surprised that I found myself sympathetic with Stonewall and his troops as they move through the story This was my first Civil War book from the perspective of the South Seeing it through Jackson Lee Davis eyes didn t make me change my mind about the outcome or about the causes of the war But it did help me understand the southern mindset a little better.
Maybe the most interesting part of this book is that you figure out pretty quickly why the Civil War ended up being so brutal The first couple of years were basically a Draw the sword and throw away the scabbard I ll start with my usual disclaimer that I can t speak to the accuracy of the history in this book In fact, my prior knowledge of Stonewall Jackson, and indeed the whole Civil War, could fairly be described as non existent But Gwynne has clearly done a huge amount of research and, assuming the accuracy, the only word that I can find to describe the book is superb In terms of the quality of the descriptive writing, the structure and skilful use of language, and the depth Gwynne brings to the characters of Jackson and his comrades and friends, the book stands not just as an outstanding biography but as a very fine piece of literary writing As Jackson and his force of cadets set out to war, Gwynne tells us of his pre war life as a rather strange and awkward man, deeply religious, suffering from poor health and perhaps a degree of hypoch
One of the best biographies you will ever read Gwynne introduces you to Stonewall Jackson and you will come to understand he is every bit the legendary Civil War leader you have heard about But Gwynne also takes you on an exploration of the man behind the hard driving commander that excelled on the battlefield Be prepared to form an emotional attachment with Jackson well crafted by an outstanding author Excellent work and highly recommended ñ Rebel Yell ↠´ The Civil War has never been my strong point in history but knowing that, I decided that it would be a good thing for me to make an effort to better understand this part of US history, especially from the side of the Confederacy Stonewall Jackson is the only other Confederate General I could have named besides General Lee, and all I could have told you was his name Well, now having read Rebel Yell I have come to admire this man in such a way that he has become one of my favorite figures is American history It feel weird to make that previous remark I have been born and raised in New England with all of the northern states history that comes with that While I may not agree with the defense of slavery, I find him admirable for his passion, commitment to his cause, and the defense of his homeland and way of life And while I think he m This is a great book which I forgot to rate and write upon Anyway I will give you a full review later this day Enjoy and Be Blessed Diamond
Gwynne ☆ Country S Greatest Military Figures His Brilliance At The Art Of War Tied Abraham Lincoln And The Union High Command In Knots And Threatened The Ultimate Success Of The Union Armies Jackson S Strategic Innovations Shattered The Conventional Wisdom Of How War Was Waged He Was So Far Ahead Of His Time That His Techniques Would Be Studied Generations Into The FutureIn AprilJackson Was Merely Another Confederate General In An Army Fighting What Seemed To Be A Losing Cause By June He Had Engineered Perhaps The Greatest Military Campaign In American History And Was One Of The Most Famous Men In The Western World He Had, Over, Given The Confederate Cause What It Had Recently Lacked Hope And Struck Fear Into The Hearts Of The Union Rebel Yell Is Written With The Swiftly Vivid Narrative That Is Gwynne S Hallmark And Is Rich With Battle Lore, Biographical Detail, And Intense Conflict Between Historical Figures Gwynne Delves Deep Into Jackson S Private Life, Including The Loss Of His Young Beloved First Wife And His Regimented Personal Habits It Traces Jackson S Brilliant Twenty Four Month Career In The Civil War, The Period That Encompasses His Rise From Obscurity To Fame And Legend His Stunning Effect On The Course Of The War Itself And His Tragic Death, Which Caused Both North And South To Grieve The Loss Of A Remarkable American Hero