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Editorial Reviews

Sam Watkins' lively account of being a soldier in the Confederate Army was first published in 1881 as a series of columns in his hometown newspaper in Columbia, Tennessee, and persists to this day as one of the most widely beloved accounts of a soldier's experience of the Civil War. Watkins has a keen wit and observation - as well as knack for storytelling - reminiscent of Mark Twain. Dan Calhoun's performance has a wonderfully anachronistic character, which allows the listener to feel as if it is indeed Watkins who is recounting the remarkable chronicles found in Company Aytch.

Publisher's Summary

This book is considered to be the best account of the Civil War ever written from the Confederate point of view. It is also the one most frequently cited by historians of the Western campaigns. Sam Watkins, a high private in the Army of Tennessee, brings a vividness and detail to his story unmatched in the genre.
© and (P) Jimcin; Cover design ©2004 Brian J. Killavey

Critic Reviews

"A memoir of staggering significance, wit, and beauty." (Ken Burns)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    55
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Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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    19
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    9
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    5
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Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Jan
  • Orefield, PA, USA
  • 01-14-05

Company Aytch

Having read many Civil War books, this was the most eloquently written from the viewpoint of the Conderate Soldier. The reader of this book also does a great job reading. You will feel the author is speaking to you.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Glenn
  • Assonet, MA, USA
  • 06-18-04

Nothing can top being there.

I listened to this book ( same edition ) before joining Audible and was blown away by it. In fact, spotting this and many other titles that I'd paid big bucks for was the reason I joined up...But back to the book - I've read many Civil War war books and this, without a doubt, was the best. Nothing can top actually being there, and being a natural storyteller, as the author is, certainly helps. Excellent readng, as well.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Private's account of the UnCivil War

Would you consider the audio edition of Company Aytch to be better than the print version?

I don't know if the audio edition of Company Aytch is better than the printed version since it is out of publication and I have not read it but this is OUTSTANDING! Most accounts of the War are given by Generals or Historians and seem to be somewhat lopsided. Down to earth depictions of everyday life, as seen by the grunts that did the fighting. This audio is a winner.

What did you like best about this story?

The down to earth truisms that have not been brought to the forefront of history.

Which character – as performed by Dan Calhoun – was your favorite?

Sam Watkins

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It made me proud to be an American. To think of what our ancestors went thru to give us this great country makes me proud and grateful. Divided before, United today!

Any additional comments?

This and all Civil War accounts should be required reading in our schools today. Our children don't know, nor do they care why we are free. They only get the history that has been spinned to suite the victors. Americans need to be educated rather than indoctrinated.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Incredible insights

Where does Company Aytch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best "true life" books.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Sam, of course.

What does Dan Calhoun bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Gave it a real sense of immediacy. Emotional when it fit.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Great Book, the Wrong Reader

Sam Watkins' (1st Tennessee, CSA) "Company Aytch" is one of the best accounts of the Civil War written by an eye witness. Having a Yankee reader for this Southerner's story, however, really detracted from the listening experience. The book earns a '5', but I only gave the reader '3' simply because of his obviously Yankee twang. A better 'accented' reader surley should have been found.

"Company Aytch" is considered a Classic in this genera, as well as it should be. I could not imagine a modern infantryman putting up with the privations, executions and real battle slaughter as happened during the Civil War.

The companion book to "Company Aytch" is "All For the Union", written by Elisha Hunt Rhodes (2nd Rhode Island, USA). Between the two of these men, they served through all four years of the Civil War from 1st Manassas to Appomattax, through every major engagement between North and South, and lived to tell the tale. Neither are 'Big Bugs', as Sam Watkins puts it, just a couple of plain private soldiers (although Rhodes advanced to Lt. by the war's end, while Watkins only made it to Corporal).

For a 'real' look at the Civil War, read BOTH of these books. Well Recommended!

11 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Grace
  • Massapequa, NY, USA
  • 07-21-04

Great book; not-so-great reader

I am halfway through the book and am enjoying the content very much; however, I think the reader was definitely a wrong pick! I have listened to a myriad of Audible books and have never been disappointed in a reader. His reading is very word-at-a-time choppy and it is a distraction. Perhaps a southerner would have been more appropriate. Nevertheless, I am anxious to get back to finish it.

8 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book, wouldn't recommend for children

This book was released on a children's label. With images of exploded heads and entrails and brain covered faces, I wouldn't let my xl under 14 it.

But this book is an amazing first hand account of famous battles and from the losing side. Our is riveting. The author writes like a country grandpa recounting the horrors of his youth.

Thw narrator, Dan Calhoun was a very poor choice. He makes no attempt to mimic the accent Sam Watkins would have had. The book's name is Company Aych, he couldn't even say that. He just says "h".His accent almost sounds like Indiana, replacing words ending in "a" with endings of" er".

His slow even-toned read detracted from the story for me. Sam Elliot would have been the perfect narrator.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Levi
  • Moselle, ms, United States
  • 03-31-14

Good story, terrible narration.

What would have made Company Aytch better?

A better narrator

Any additional comments?

That's probably the worst narration I've ever heard, but a great story.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Very good story, but some nitpcks with the reading

What did you love best about Company Aytch?

I love the candid writing style of this first hand account of the war. I also really enjoyed the insight into the personality and language of the writer. I personally really appreciate his view of God. He referenced him many times as "he who does all things well".

Any additional comments?

I do not like how Dan Calhoun continually pronounces "saw" as "soar" and "cavalry" as "calvary". It's like someone in modern times saying "nuke-you-ler" instead of "new-clear" (nuclear). It's distracting but I really enjoyed the book anyway.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good story dry reading

This is a book I think all should read or listen to. I was happy to find it on audible but was a little disappointed with the voice of the reader. It took a few chapters just to get my ears able to listen and had I not read this book 20 years ago myself and known how much I enjoyed it I would have not listened any longer.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • David
  • 03-03-06

War in all its detail

An engrossing story of pride, comradeship and the sheer futility of war.