In March 1847, the U.S. Navy delivers 8,000 soldiers on the beaches of Vera Cruz. They are led by the army's commanding general, Winfield Scott, a heroic veteran. At his right hand is Robert E. Lee, a 40-year-old engineer who has never seen combat. Scott leads his troops against the imperious Mexican dictator, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. It becomes clear that the final conflict will occur at the gates and fortified walls of the ancient capital, Mexico City. Cut off from communication and their only supply line, the Americans learn about their enemy, themselves, and the horror of war. While Scott must weigh his own place in history, fighting what many consider a bully's war, Lee becomes a hero.
©2000 Jeffrey M. Shaara; (P)2000 Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio Publishing, A Division of Random House, Inc.
"Brilliant does not even begin to describe the Shaara gift. Thank Gods and Generals that it was passed from father to son." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
This author's father could write a decent historical novel, but this effort is no evidence that Jeff Shaara can. I generally like history, but this didn't do it for me. The writing is unimaginative and predictable. I couldn't even finish it, and I try really hard to finish audiobooks I start.
I wanted to learn more about the southwest and Mexican History often slanted and biased on Polk's campaign to take as much land as he could from Mexico. It is a soldier's perspective, but I found the story more of a narration and a descriptions of battles and the American's perspective of this era. The reading was slow as well. I would suggest that one listen to an excerpt before purchasing this audio book. I got to 2/3 and finally gave up. It was just too slow and I found it to be a let down of what I thought would be a historical fiction. It is a historical fiction, but it was not done interestingly for me.
The characters in this historical novel are two-dimensional at best. If you liked the old John Wayne westerns then you will enjoy this. The dialogue is reminscient of the first Star Trek series, lots of William Shatner-esque phrasing; the result is the feeling that the the character's thoughts and dialogue are just attempts to work in the real-life journals and letters of the characters. The same themes and concerns are repeated over and over again, with saint Robert E. Lee able to do no wrong, even in his thoughts. Save your audiobook credit, and get a something by Patrick O'Brian (I'd hoped this would be a land-based version of his naval historical fiction, no such luck)
Don't second guess picking up this book. It is a lead into the civil war.
I am generally interested in history. But it seemed to me that Mr. Shaara isn?t. The book's only purpose seemed to be to glorify certain individuals that later played a part in the Civil War. I thought I might learn about the Spanish American War but, resulting from the nauseating story of righteous men, I couldn?t stand to listen the whole book. Is Jeff Shaara a serious Christian who is trying to glorify the early history of our country? Not interesting.
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