The battle of Shiloh, fought in April 1862 in the wilderness of south-central Tennessee, marked a savage turning point in the Civil War. In this masterful book, Larry Daniel re-creates the drama and the horror of the battle and discusses in authoritative detail the political and military policies that led to Shiloh, the personalities of those who formulated and executed the battle plans, the fateful misjudgments made on both sides, and the heroism of the small-unit leaders and ordinary soldiers who manned the battlefield.
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(234mm x 155mm x 30mm)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
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US Kirkus Review »
The first full-length history of this epic Civil War battle in two decades delivers Homeric gore minus the sweep and poetry. Granted, Daniel (History/Murray State Univ.) isn't trying to be Homer. His densely annotated study is a solid, even remarkable piece of scholarly reconstruction that stresses historical preciseness over drama, right down to its frequent, often clinical descriptions of wounds. The human dimension of the first large-scale slaughter of Americans by Americans remains strangely and unfortunately muted, buried beneath an avalanche of facts and figures documenting troop strength and tactical maneuvers. Telling details, like a rebel soldier's recollection of shivering in his tent on the eve of battle as a band played "Home Sweet Home" in the nearby Union camp, are too few and far between. Daniel's explication of the egotism, self-interest, and insecurity that hindered the judgment of both Union and Confederate commanders and the politics that guided staffing and strategy textures the blow-by-blow tactical commentary with some human interest. The inclusion of so many minor figures, while confusing, also shorts in-depth analyses of major players like Union general Ulysses Grant, who remains remote. Daniel's major accomplishment is that he effectively dramatizes the chaos of war - the traffic jams, bungled orders, and terror-stricken confusion that constitute the ragged improvisation of battle. But Daniel too often fails to rise above that chaos, miring the reader in it as well. Stepping back more frequently to add analyses to the description would provide badly needed perspective and scope, making the account more accessible to novices who don't know a regiment from a brigade. Though he purports to settle differences among historians, Daniel's tone is closer to mediation than finality. Exhaustive but workmanlike, this will be of interest to academics and hard-core Civil War buffs. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Larry J. Daniel
Larry J. Daniel is the author of Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee and Cannoneers in Gray. He lives in Murray, Kentucky.