"Our poor country has fallen a prey to the conqueror. The noblest cause ever defended by the sword is lost. The noble dead that sleep in their shallow though honored graves are far more fortunate than their survivors. I thought I had sounded the profoundest depth of human feeling, but this is the bitterest hour of my life." - John Mosby
The Civil War is best remembered for the big battles and the legendary generals who fought on both sides, like Robert E. Lee facing off against Ulysses S. Grant in 1864. In kind, the Eastern theater has always drawn more interest and attention than the West. However, while massive armies marched around the country fighting each other, there were other small guerrilla groups that engaged in irregular warfare on the margins, and perhaps the most famous of them was Colonel John Mosby.
Mosby, the "Gray Ghost" of the Confederate lore that celebrates the Lost Cause, has an image that has proven nearly impossible to corrupt or change, and time has done little good against it. Unlike the vanished 19th century code of honor that he represented, Mosby has retained the image and all its connotations; evident in the pictures taken of him in his Confederate uniform and historical portrayals of him, whether they were written just after the Civil War or much later. But that image, which he helped fashion, was mostly an invention. Mosby styled himself a "Knight of the South", as other Virginians would do during the war, branding himself as a warrior of a culture who obeyed an unspoken code of honor. He defended women and lived by his word. Even the style of combat he chose conformed to the definition of honor that Southerners held.
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors
of course, any book on John S Mosby is going to deal extensively with the concepts of Cavalry and reconnoitering. So why on Earth a narrator was chosen who cannot properly pronounce these two words is beyond me. The narrator also fails with regard to demonstrating any passion whatsoever.
As for the book itself, it is largely comprised of extensive excerpts from the Memoirs of John S Mosby. So it isn't the original work of the author, just quotations from the one source.
The author does a reasonable job in explaining the grudge between Mosby and Custer and how that originated. But he fails to inject the passion that must have been felt between the two.
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