Review: BATTLE FLAG by Bernard Cornwell

Some participants do not have blogs of their own, but we like to give them an opportunity to express their opinions about the books they read for the reading challenges.

Reva read Battle Flag by Bernard Cornwell for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011.  Here is her review:

Battle Flag is the 3rd in Bernard Cornwell’s Starbuck Series. There is one more, Bloody Ground, that I intend to read in completion of the series.

Battle Flag focuses on the second battle of Manassas (or Bull Run for northerners). The northern boy, Starbuck, is fighting for the South and finds enemies within his own ranks as well as an overwhelming force of well-fed and well-provisioned Yankees. Adam, Starbuck’s boyhood Southern friend, is fighting with the Yankees and also finds evil within his ranks. I feel that Cornwell writes fairly of both sides, presenting the advantages and disadvantages, talents and faults of both Rebels and Yankees and their leaders. Because men often followed their conscience instead of family, town or country loyalties, bitterness lasted many, many years after the Civil War had ended. But I’m getting ahead of the story.

Starbuck must face family squabbles and find his place according to his own conscience, talents, loyalties and goals. Does his father, the Reverend Starbuck, hold the answers? The study of Reverend Starbuck’s character is a high point of the book. Characters are multilayered and leave this reader wanting more, more, more despite the already lengthy books. Cornwell’s descriptions of battle strategy and, indeed, of battle itself are the best I have ever read and are never boring or confusing. I didn’t even wish for more maps or have to flip back for explanations as I sometimes have with other authors’ historical tomes.

I have to give this whole series 5 stars and hope to dive into other Cornwell series after finishing the Starbuck Chronicles.

**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

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