Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the epic New York Times bestselling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic national hero.
Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon—even Robert E. Lee—he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. In April 1862, however, he was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. But 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. 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 future.
In his “magnificent Rebel Yell…S.C. Gwynne brings Jackson ferociously to life” (New York Newsday) in a swiftly vivid narrative that is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict among historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life and 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.
S. C. Gwynne
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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 hypochondria. Having overcome his early lack of education to scrape into West Point, he took full advantage of the opportunities on offer there,...
First off, let me say that I absolutely love anything and everything to do with The Civil War (even going so far as to marrying a man who grew up outside Gettysburg). That said, I was excited to read this book, and I must say that I was not disappointed.
This is truly an exceptional book about an exceptional human being. Mr. Gwynne does an excellent job of detailing not only the life of General Jackson, but also the lives of the people around him; the events that shaped his life; and the events of this sad, but necessary, war.
I did not know the sad circumstances surrounding General Jackson's early life: his father passing when he was but a child, his mother's remarriage and subsequent death, and his being "farmed out" to relatives. He was at least lucky enough to be welcomed into a family that truly loved him. He had an early marriage to Ellen, which ended abruptly when she died after giving birth to a stillborn son; but he was fortunate enough to...
Mr. Gwynne has provided us a new perspective of a legendary and very eccentric American General in a very readable and interesting format. Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson aka Stonewall Jackson a West Point Grad, decorated leader of the Mexican War, instructor at VMI, deeply religious with health trouble, and finally a military genius who prolonged an un winnable war against the Union States has been a subject of many books dating back to John Esten Cooke's (a former CSA Veteran) book "The Life of Stonewall Jackson".
Thomas J. Jackson started from a very humble childhood as a son of a broken family. His big break in life came when a distant relative obtained an appointment to West Point for the young Jackson. This was the beginning of a legendary career that had its interruptions between the Mexican and Civil War's (it's interesting that Jackson like US Grant departed the Army between war's due to disappointment). I feel Gwynne has defined this very complicated...
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