Review: DAMAGE THEM ALL YOU CAN by George Walsh

The War Movie Buff reviewed Damage Them All You Can:  Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia by George Walsh for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011.  Here’s an excerpt:

The book is very well written. Walsh did copious research and it shows in the numerous quotes from both the officers and the foot soldiers. The first person accounts are kept short and blend in seamlessly with the narrative. Although the book does not have much on soldier life (other than an excellent chapter on the subject), the quotes by regular soldiers give a clear view of their combat experiences.

Walsh humanizes the commanders. He provides interesting biographical information on most of them. Strangely, this drops off in the second half of the book. Another fault is the lack of maps. The book includes many interesting anecdotes.

Read the full review.

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Review: NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS by Frederick Douglass

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 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011.  Here is her review.

Most of the books I’ve read concerning slavery were written about deep South states, such as Georgia, South Carolina, etc. Frederick Douglass tells us about slavery in Maryland, which is somewhat different than further south. For instance, he says that most slave babies were seperated from their mothers in the first year of life, put on different farms or selling the mother while an old woman who could do no work was made responsible for the babies.

His masters all seemed to be extremely cruel, except for one woman who taught him to read in early childhood. Mr. Douglass impressed me as a truly brilliant man. At one point, he secretly began a class to teach other slaves to read, but was discovered and sent away.

Much of his childhood was spent hungry, cold and partially clothed. The weather was colder in Maryland, but slaves received one poor set of clothes to last and entire year and were given about half the rations given to slaves further south (according to my previous reading). There were no beds or other furniture in slave cabins. Slaves bunched up on the floor for warmth.

In Maryland, the master owned 20 farms, which he controlled from the home location. Strangely, the master and all his children died over time, necessitating repeated selling and dividing of slave  populations. A slave who was too old to work and couldn’t be sold was put out in a shack in the woods and told they were responsible for themselves. No one was there to watch them die of starvation or a fall or exposure.

Frederick has insightful explanations of religion and the slaveholder. Every American should read this short autobiography. We must understand our history to prevent these shameful events’ reoccurence.

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Review: GANYMEDE by Cherie Priest

Silly Little Mischief reviewed Ganymede for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011.  Here’s an excerpt:

I think Priest really hit her groove in this one, combining real history with fictional steampunk components. . . . I loved Civil War era New Orleans. Priest really made the Big Easy come alive.

Read the full review.

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Review: A LIFE OF GEN. ROBERT E. LEE by John Esten Cooke

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 A Life of Gen. Robert E. Lee by John Esten Cooke for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge 2011.  Here is her review.

I was fascinated with the Lee family history which begins near the beginning of British history. Lee forbears fought and won again and again over the generations. Kings showed their gratitude with land grants, estates, titles, the Order of the Garter, and every kind of treasure olden times had to offer. Robert E. Lee inherited his talent for battle strategy and leadership from a long line of heroes.

Robert, himself, was a simple man with none of the hauteur officers of the day exhibited. He walked among the men and never failed to speak kindly to the lowliest man, always taking responsibility for failure in battle. He was a man of great faith in God. He never lost the war. When replacements and food were withheld again and again from his army, his staff officers convinced Lee to give up. There was nothing in the countryside to forage. His soldiers had marched throughout many states without shoes, often in the rain and mud, sometimes not eating for weeks. Still, he refused to surrender until General Grant agreed to very generous terms that allowed his men to go home immediately in peace, retaining a horse and sometimes, even a weapon for hunting.

After the war, Lee had nothing left. His estate was confiscated and now is known as Arlington National Cemetary. Still, he received letters of want from old soldiers and widows daily. He was often seen giving money to people who waylaid him as he left church. He collapsed after church one Sunday and died 2 weeks later of a “brain fever”. Many said he died of a broken heart.

The last part of the book contained many eulogies from the different states and regions. The words were beautiful and I realized how America has lost her gift for oratory. Would that our presidential candidates could express themselves this well. Expressing emotion, truth and heart is just as important as the cold, hard facts.

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New Civil War Exhibit in DC with Rare Artifacts

Local Washington, D.C., area news reports indicate that a cottage once used by President Abraham Lincoln, who spent 25 percent of his presidency there, will host a new Civil War exhibit with rare artifacts, says WUSA TV 9 and The Washington Post.  The cottage is located on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home, and will feature an exhibit called “Seat of War.”

The exhibit is expected to demonstrate what war was like in Washington, D.C.  The exhibit runs through Jan. 15, 2012.  If you’re in the DC-area and go to the exhibit, we’d love to hear from you and post your photos (if they allow those).

Review: CONFEDERATES IN THE ATTIC: DISPATCHES FROM THE UNFINISHED CIVIL WAR by Tony Horwitz

Matt’s Book Blog recently read and reviewed Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge.  Here’s a snippet:

Another hilarious chapter is going on a whirlwind tour of battle sites in Virginia and Maryland with Robert Hodge. Calling it a “Civil Wargasm” the two take a week-long trip, sleeping rough at battlefields and in period uniform. It’s a hoot.

Read the full review.

**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!**

Review: MR. LINCOLN’S DRUMMER by G. Clifton Wisler

Irene’s Desk recently read and reviewed Mr. Lincoln’s Drummer by G. Clifton Wisler for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge.  Here’s an excerpt:

I hate to say I enjoyed this book, I mean really who likes a war book, that’s very descriptive, but I did.  I don’t think I would have recommended it to the students of the age group it is recommended for, perhaps just a little older, although just a little older wouldn’t find it cool enough.  War through the eyes of a child is even more disturbing than usual, and considering this is based on a true story it is even more important.

Read the full review.

 

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Review: KILLING LINCOLN by Bill O’Reilly

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 Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge. Here is her review.

Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America ForeverKilling Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This history reads like a thriller with heart, regret and national mourning as relevant today as 150 years ago. I never realized President Lincoln was murdered only days after the surrender or that most assassinations do occur in the last gasp of war. No money was set aside for protecting the president, so the ONE person who sometimes performed that service was actually being paid for preventing vandalism to the White House. This person was off drinking in the pub next door when John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln that fateful night, but was not held responsible in any way for his dereliction to duty. Also, the public had free run of the White House around the clock with no oversight. People would sleep in the hallways, seeking whatever Lincoln could offer them. The president, himself, didn’t worry about his safety. It was not uncommon to see him watching a battle from a nearby hill or riding among the people. He was a real man of the people.

John Wilkes Booth got his worst punishment before he was shot in that barn. He found out that his fellow Southerners did not praise, laud or uphold his killing the president. He had thought his actions would cause the South to rise again and cause such consternation in the North as to give the South a shot at winning in the end. Booth’s spirit was broken before his body as everything he held dear slipped away.

If you go to Amazon, you’ll notice that all reviews are either 1 or 5 stars. That’s because liberals are sabotaging the ratings system. If you read their ratings, you’ll realize they didn’t read the book. Rather than scare me off, I bought, read and loved this book and hope to further my research by reading more of Lincoln’s life and messages to and for America, land of the free.

View all my reviews

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Review: THIS REPUBLIC OF SUFFERING: DEATH AND THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR by Drew Gilpin Faust

Lit and Life recently read and reviewed This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War by Drew Gilpin Faust for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge.  Here’s an excerpt:

Yet, when I heard about this book on NPR, it made me stop and think about that number more closely. Just how did both the North and the South deal with numbers of dead that large? And how did this war change the war American felt about death and the way the country dealt with their military dead?

Read the full review.

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Review: CO. AYTCH, MAURY GRAYS, FIRST TENNESSEE REGIMENT; OR, A SIDE SHOW OF THE BIG SHOW by Sam R. Watkins

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 Co. Aytch, Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment; Or, A Side Show Of The Big Show by Sam R. Watkins for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge. Here is her review.

Co. Aytch, Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment; Or, A Side Show Of The Big ShowCo. Aytch, Maury Grays, First Tennessee Regiment; Or, A Side Show Of The Big Show by Sam R. Watkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Co. Aytch was comprised of nearly 4,000 men from northern Tennessee who marched to Virginia to fight, not for slavery, but for independence from a bossy, overbearing government. Sam Watkins was one of only 65, yes 65, men to return 4 years later after seeing action in many of the major battles of the Civil War. Men went to war with friends and family; sometimes every man in town would serve and none come back home. Watkins tells us of mothers along the trail pushing their daughters on the soldiers in hopes one of the scarce males would marry a daughter.

This memoir was written just after the war as newpaper articles and published in book form 17 years after the war; the author’s pain still resounds throughout the narrative. He makes plain the fact that his mental faculties were preserved only because of his great faith in God.

I learned about the little guys of the war, privates who didn’t know the big plans, which side was winning or losing at times or even where or when the next meal would come. They marched and marched and marched–without shoes or food. Co. Aytch disliked General Bragg, not because he couldn’t win battles, he could. Bragg was unpopular because he didn’t care for his army properly; didn’t forage or keep order so that food would reach the troops. Most supplies were taken by upper staff or outright stolen by those entrusted to get it into the field of battle. Bragg was also known for leaving his troops unnecessarily in the rain and for ordering an immediate march that caused blankets, food and all the men’s personal items to be left behind.

The horror of war is evident in every page of Watkins’ experiences. He tells us that every member of his family was either dead or wounded in some way. The men of Company H, First Tennessee Regiment, were the bravest of the brave, cut down in their prime for a lost cause.

View all my reviews

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