The War Movie Buff reviewed Rebel by Bernard Cornwell for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011. Here’s an excerpt.
The combat depicted in the book is a strong point of the book. Cornwell has a way with action and his characters behave realistically under the stress of battle. He accurately portrays the innocence of a virgin army. When the first member of the Legion is killed by a cannon ball, the men gather around in wonder and grief. They worry about how his mother will take it. They do not anticipate how soon they will be hardened to the death of one man. Cornwell describes the three types of soldiers. Some of the men are “effortlessly brave”. “They went calmly about their business, stood straight in the face of the enemy, and kept their wits sharp.” The second type is the soldiers who “oscillated wildly between bravery and timidity, but responded to the leadership of the brave men.” The last type is the minority that are cowards. They “huddled far back in the trees, where they pretended to be busy loading or repairing their guns…” He also describes how Civil War officers would expose themselves to enemy fire to inspire their men.
Read the full review.
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