In July 1863 the invading Army of Northern Virginia, confident from its victory at Chancellorsville, unexpectedly encountered the Army of the Potomac, still without a general Lincoln could trust, at a small town in Pennsylvania. And there, among the verdant hills, rich fields, and sparkling brooks around Gettysburg, the two armies slaughtered each other in fearful numbers. My Enemy, My Brother is a remarkable re-creation of that battle, told not as military strategists have told it, but the way soldiers, doctors, shopkeepers, farmers, and wives lived it. Drawn from the letters, diaries, and memoirs of the people at Gettysburg, Persico's powerful work chronicles the passions and beliefs, the day-to-day routines, the pain and the terror of those caught up in the epic conflict that, for thousands, became their last role on earth.
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(210mm x 140mm x 19mm)
Da Capo Press Inc
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
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US Kirkus Review »
A montage of first-hand accounts of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and its prelude, rendered into narrative and somewhat clunking dialogue with sparing excerpts from the original diaries and memoirs. Persico, a journalist and speechwriter, wants to explore the motivation of the volunteer on both sides, so he follows such soldiers as a Gettysburg youth fighting for the Confederates and Maine bluecoats impelled as much by money and conformity, he says, as by patriotism. The book succeeds in making plain the context of the battle and the incredible Yankee ineptitude that put General Lee in a position to invade the North, with the Gettysburg region as first target; it also shows Lincoln's incredulity when his commander refused to pursue Lee once he had been repelled. In between come the diarrhea, venereal infection, and hardtack of war; farm families in the thick of the bloodshed; and the blood itself, in a gory profusion surpassed only by the use of the expletive "shit" on all sides. The participants' comments otherwise are predominantly cynical or uncomprehending, and the Unionists are shown as largely anti-black. Persico's search for the "GI" of the Civil War has unearthed nothing new about the sentiments of the poor-white, non-slaveowning "Reb," and he imposes a James Jones mindlessness on the bluecoats which is contradicted by, among other things, the copious letters in Voices of the Civil War (p. 457), compiled by Richard Wheeler. High color here, through a flawed prism. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Joseph E. Persico
Joseph E. Persico is the author of many acclaimed books, including Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial, Piercing the Reich, and Edward R. Murrow, and has collaborated with Colin Powell on the general's memoir, My American Journey.