In the spring of 1862, many Americans still believed that the Civil War “would be over by Christmas.” The previous summer in Virginia, Bull Run, with nearly 5,000 casualties, had been shocking, but suddenly came word from a faraway place in the wildernesses of southwest Tennessee of an appalling battle costing 23,000 casualties, most of them during a single day. It was more than had resulted from the entire American Revolution. As renowned Civil War historian and author Winston Groom reveals in this dramatic, heart-rending account, the Battle of Shiloh would singlehandedly change the psyche of the military, politicians and American people—North and South alike—about what they had unleashed by creating a civil war.
In this gripping telling of what he calls the first “great and terrible” battle of the Civil War, Groom describes the dramatic events of April 6 and 7, 1862, when a bold surprise attack on Ulysses S. Grant’s encamped troops and the bloody battle that ensued would alter the timbre of the war and America’s understanding of it.
The Southerners struck at dawn on April 6, and Groom vividly recounts the battle that raged for two days over the densely wooded and poorly mapped terrain. Driven back on the first day, Grant regrouped and mounted a fierce attack the second, and aided by the timely arrival of reinforcements managed to salvage an encouraging victory for the Federals.
Shiloh, 1862 underscores the battle’s profound impact. The bitter fighting would test the mettle of the motley soldiers assembled on both sides, most of them untested troops who had never even fired their rifles or received any proper training. It offered a rehabilitation of sorts for Union General William Sherman, whose previous lapses had damaged his reputation, but who would go on from the victory at Shiloh to become one of the great generals of the war. The battle also revealed to both North and South the tragic power of improved 19th-century weaponry—both in artillery and small arms—and was the first indication that the war was to become a terrible, multiyear slog with devastating consequences. But perhaps the most alarming outcome, Groom poignantly reveals, was the realization that for all its horror, the Battle of Shiloh had solved nothing, gained nothing, proved nothing, and the thousands of maimed and slain were merely wretched symbols of things to come. For all those who had believed that a brief few battles would settle the larger conflict, Shiloh was a shocking blow.
With a novelist’s eye for telling and a historian's passion for detail, context and meaning, Groom brings the key characters and moments to life in one of the finest accounts of a battle that changed the course of the Civil War.
Hardcover Book : 448 pages
Publisher: National Geographic Society ( March 20, 2012 )
Item #: 13-504891
Product Dimensions: 6.0 x 9.0 x 1.12inches
Product Weight: 21.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Not just a history but a grand story-telling, this book focuses on the personal experiences of those directly involved. From the generals on down to the drummer boys, every story is told with a sensitivity that illustrates the human tragedy to an often times painful degree. My wife and daughter, neither of whom are military enthusiasts, also enjoyed this sweeping novel-like story. My only complaint was that the second day of the battle was given somewhat short shrift in comparison to the extensively detailed account of day one. In spite of this, it is an incredibly captivating read.
Reviewer: Terry G
A factual but novel like read-I couldnt put it down! Master story teller Winston Grooms tackles the prelude and chaos of Shiloh.The battle carnage is graphic and even disturbing,but the resilience and fortitude of those who served, and their family members,is touching .
I enjoyed the fresh descriptions of US Grant in and out of battle,and feel Grooms has a different take on Grant than the usual boring boilerplate written about him.Great Book!
Reviewer: Greg S