SHILOH, 1862 - The Battle of Shiloh, fought in the wilderness of southern Tennessee in April 1862, marked a violent crossroads in the Civil War. What began as a surprise attack by Confederate troops on a Union stronghold to gain control of the Mississippi River Valley became a bloody two-day conflict that would eerily foretell the brutal reality of the next three years. Pitting up-and-coming Union general Ulysses S. Grant against Confederate firebrand Albert Sidney Johnston, the engagement was a perfect storm of advanced weaponry, a West Point–educated officer corps, and a decades-long buildup of hatred that bore devastating consequences. One hundred thousand soldiers clashed in the vicious melee, and losses for both sides totaled nearly 24,000, more than had been lost during the American Revolution and the War of 1812 combined. Bestselling author and Civil War historian Winston Groom skillfully re-creates the drama of the event in a gripping, eye-opening, and heartrending narrative that highlights the major personalities, politics, and mind-set of the day. But perhaps the most alarming outcome, Groom poignantly reveals, was the realization that for all its horror, the Battle of Shiloh had not vanquished the Rebel army in the West, and the thousands of maimed and slain were merely wretched symbols of things to come.
©2012 Winston Groom (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
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I am a big Civil War buff, enjoying works by Shelby Foote, Bruce Catton and James McPherson. After listening to this engrossing story I now add Groom to the list of authors who can relate epic battles like Shiloh to any reader/listener. Groom tells the story of this battle, which horrified everyone North and South with it's enormous butchers bill, by following privates, citizens and generals. The story is as good as just about any thriller. The summer before Shiloh saw the battle of Bull Run, which caused about 5,000 casualties, Rebel and Yankee combined. But Shiloh had a bill in blood of 23,000 fallen, which was more than all American wars combined up to that time. Eric Dove does a great job narrating, adding life to all the actors in this nightmare battle. Listener's will not regret this purchase.
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I must admit, my exposure to Civil War histories has been somewhat sparse. However, I noticed this title and decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed in the least. Groom's history provides some wonderful personal insights from civilians and soldiers present at this tragic battle and the depth of loss experienced by all sides. I was intrigued by the personal backstabbing by senior Union officers toward Grant and Sherman. It is no wonder that the first few years of the war were so difficult for the Union with the likes of McClelland and Halleck in positions of command. Likewise, Groom's portrayal of A.S. Johnson is equally fascinating. Shiloh and, for that matter, the outcome of the Civil War would probably been much different if Johnson had not died so early in the battle.
This is a first rate history and Eric Dove's narration is superb. I looked forward to listening to the 10+ hours of the book and will probably search out additional works by Winston Groom
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