In the first novel of a spellbinding new trilogy, New York Times best-selling author Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows best. A Blaze of Glory takes us to the action-packed Western Theater for a vivid re-creation of one of the war's bloodiest and most iconic engagements: the Battle of Shiloh.
It's the spring of 1862. The Confederate Army in the West teeters on the brink of collapse following the catastrophic loss of Fort Donelson. Commanding general Albert Sidney Johnston is forced to pull up stakes, abandon the critical city of Nashville, and rally his troops in defense of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Hot on Johnston's trail are two of the Union's best generals: the relentless Ulysses Grant, fresh off his career-making victory at Fort Donelson, and Don Carlos Buell. If their combined forces can crush Johnston's army and capture the railroad, the war in the West likely will be over. There's just one problem: Johnston knows of the Union plans, and is poised to launch an audacious surprise attack on Grant's encampment - a small settlement in southwestern Tennessee anchored by a humble church named Shiloh.
With stunning you-are-there immediacy, Shaara takes us inside the maelstrom of Shiloh as no novelist has before. Drawing on meticulous research, he dramatizes the key actions and decisions of the commanders on both sides: Johnston, Grant, Sherman, Beauregard, and the illustrious Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest. Here too are the thoughts and voices of the junior officers, conscripts, and enlisted men who gave their all for the cause, among them Confederate cavalry lieutenant James Seeley and Private Fritz "Dutchie" Bauer of the 16th Wisconsin Regiment - brave participants in a pitched back-and-forth battle whose casualty count would far surpass anything the American public had yet seen in this war. By the end of the first day of fighting, as Grant's bedraggled forces regroup for could be their last stand, two major events - both totally unexpected - will turn the tide of the battle and perhaps the war itself.
©2012 Jeff Shaara (P)2012 Random House Audio
Absolutely. The excellent detail that the author brings to this story tends to overwhlem the mind. A second listening brings out new points and adds to the depth of this story. I intend to listen again.
As a Civil War buff, I have walked and photographed the battleground at Shiloh. This story helps bring alive some details of the battlefield. It brings alive more of the characters and individuals that fought there and how they may have thought and felt during this horrific fight.
While the dialogue that the author uses is of course fictional, that dialogue also makes the characters more realistic bringing out their flaws and their moments of heroism.
Shiloh was a battle of emotions in both armies. And the author does an excellent job of revealing thoe emotions as well as showing how they changed over the course of the two-day battle.
I learned many things that a dozen prior books did not reveal and I enjoyed that.
General Albert Sidney Johnston. Johnston's basic character and attributes are discussed in other books. But the uthor really did an excellent job of attempting to reveal Johnston's handling of the battle and his interactions with the other Southern generals involved. His ability to navigate among the egos of the other generals helped illustrate his true excellence.
I enjoyed the author's attempts to reveal the thoughts and feelings of the privates that fought in te battle. So little is known and explained about what the average soldier experienced.
An Opportunity Lost; A Disaster Averted.
Paul Michael does a fine job of narrating this book. His performance separates the characters well. I also enjoyed that he doesn't overdue the fake Southern drawl that so many other narrators attempt in other books. In a book describing such extreme emotion on both sides, a calming and strong narration makes for an excellent contrast. Well done Paul.
Monotone and soothing
All the battles..Shaara really captures the moments of absolute horror, weariness and boredom
The only thing that irritated me was that the narrator did not know how to pronounce Cairo (KAY-roh), which is not the city in Egypt.
Jeff Shaara is one of my favorite authors. His writing is always consistent, well researched with a great story from beginning to end. This book was entertaining as well as informative. I look forward to reading (listening) to the next one in the series. Paul Michael did a great job with the narration as well.
A great way to learn history
I love the shaara books because i learn so much about history that i never know. Plus i can stay awake listening too it...
Usually what makes a book better than a story is that the author can not only tell you what is said but what the main characters are thinking. In this story, the personal thoughts/reminisces were dull and poorly written. Instead of finding the story enriched, I kept hoping the author would stop with the latest thoughts/reminisces and get on with some dialogue or other storytelling.
I have nothing to offer anyone except my own confusion.
Yes, largely because I've listened to most of the author's books on more than one occasion. While fiction, it's very fact intensive and listening a second time tends to provide more insight into the story.
As with all of the author's novels since "To the Last Man," at least a portion of the story is told from the perspective of someone serving on the front line. This, to me, makes these novels stronger even than his father's "Killer Angels" and the two follow ups written by Jeff. People that haven't served in war have no idea what the average soldier goes through on a daily basis while serving the front lines, so the perspective provided by Mr. Shaara is both real, fascinating and frightening all at once.
I believe, but can't be certain, that he has read many of Mr. Shaara's novels. If I am correct they are all outstanding jobs.
The front line infantrymen.
A decent telling of the battle of Shiloh, obviously well researched. Jeff does a good job of filling his father's shoes, however there was a spark in Michael's work that just isn't present in Jeff's.
"Very accessible way of learning history"
This is the first of Shaara's books I have read (despite repeated recommendations from my Dad). It describes important history in the style of a historical novel, mixing fictional characters with famous personalities. I found it a great way to bring life to a history that could have been very dry and hard to understand. What is interesting is that this book is the first in a new series of four books, all dealing with important aspects of the Western theatre of the American Civil War, and I look forward to the next installment.
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