In this detailed and fascinating account of the legend of the "Wizard of the Saddle," we see a man whose strengths and flaws were both of towering proportions, a man possessed of physical valor perhaps unprecedented among his countrymen. And, ironically, Forrest - the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan - was a man whose social attitudes may well have changed farther in the direction of racial enlightenment over the span of his lifetime than those of most American historical figures.
©1993 Jack Hurst; (P)1995 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Hurst presents a balanced, well-documented study of Nathan Bedford Forrest, whom many consider to be the most brilliant general of the Civil War....[A]n outstanding study of one of the Civil War's more controversial generals. Essential." (Library Journal)
"Hurst's is the best all-around recent life of Forrest...." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The irrefutable military record of an acknowledged tactical genius...the most complete and complex portrait yet of the Civil War Jekyll and Hyde." (Chicago Tribune)
Nathan Bedford Forrest was fearless, passionate and a leader. Although Bedford has had a controversial life I admire his generalship during the Civil War.
I think that this is one of the most unbiased biographies I have ever listened to. A little tedius in places but very well done overall.
You don't have to like anything about the slave owning south or support anything Nathan Forrest stood for to like this book. General Forrest was a fascinating man, most particularly in his military service which was my favorite part. As fearless and unkillable as a comic book super hero, a truly remarkable man.
Having finished Sherman's memoirs, I went next to Hurst's biography of Forrest in order to gain an understanding of the admiration, trepidation, and mystery with which Sherman viewed the cavalry general. The book showed through the tenacity, improvisation of tactics, and cleverness that earned the highest praise of Sherman.
The story of involvement and even leadership of the Klan gave a context that did add some understanding of the forces at play early in reconstruction. That Forrest decried the terrorism that the organization utilized is not a subject upon which I can comment.
From this account, Forrest went a long way toward putting the war and his pre-war activities behind him. His post-war life begs additional study.
I have read lots of books on/about Gen. Forrest since junior high school.... at least 2 dozen. They range from retelling myth of a near-perfect warrior to trying to destroy both the man and the myth. Jack Hurst, I believe, to have painted the picture of the real man, warts and all, who had unequaled success on the battlefield, and who in later life spoke loudly and boldly for the black man's rights. It is a remarkable story, all the more so once the real person is portrayed.
This is the best, most detailed recording of the militaries greated general. Unbelievable military genious. Reading this books almost allows you to ride along with Forrest as he wages war for his country. Love it.
Conservative Catholic Curmudgeon
This detailed, nuanced biography includes what Paul Harvey would call "the rest of the story":
Three years before his death, Nathan Bedford Forrest experienced a religious conversion, after which he became an advocate of racial reconciliation.
Over all the narrarator is very good. The book is pretty good. You can see that the author tries to be impartial for most of the information on Forrest during the war but he is dishonest in the information he gives about Fort Pillow and camps out on the subject. He rides it in the second half of the book and makes the statement that Forrest was a killer several times. Pretty good but bias.
Forest was a VERY interesting character. The book was well written, but much of the detail could (should) have been pared down to about half of this size. Still, it was a very interesting listen and I enjoyed it.
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