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Publisher's Summary

A magnificent history of the opening years of the Civil War by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Bruce Catton.

The first book in Bruce Catton's Pulitzer Prize-winning Army of the Potomac Trilogy, Mr. Lincoln's Army is a riveting history of the early years of the Civil War, when a fledgling Union Army took its stumbling first steps under the command of the controversial general George McClellan. Following the secession of the Southern states, a beleaguered President Abraham Lincoln entrusted the dashing, charismatic McClellan with the creation of the Union's Army of the Potomac and the responsibility of leading it to a swift and decisive victory against Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Although a brilliant tactician who was beloved by his troops and embraced by the hero-hungry North, McClellan's ego and ambition ultimately put him at loggerheads with his commander in chief - a man McClellan considered unworthy of the presidency.

McClellan's weaknesses were exposed during the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American military history, which ended in a stalemate even though the Confederate troops were greatly outnumbered. After Antietam, Lincoln ordered McClellan's removal from command, and the Union entered the war's next chapter having suffered thousands of casualties and with great uncertainty ahead.

America's premier chronicler of the nation's brutal internecine conflict, Bruce Catton is renowned for his unparalleled ability to bring a detailed and vivid immediacy to Civil War battlefields and military strategy sessions. With tremendous depth and insight, he presents legendary commanders and common soldiers in all their complex and heartbreaking humanity.

©1951, 1962 Bruce Catton (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very poor reader with great material

The Army of the Potomac is one of the finest Civil War series ever written. Bruce Catton, the former editor of American Heritage, was a natural story teller and this series is one of his two master works; the last book in the series was awarded a Pulitzer. The Army of the Potomac focuses on the development & growth of the officers and men of the federal army, unusual in civil war histories which tend to focus on the Confederacy which, more often than not treat the federals as a backdrop for the confederacy. This series explains why the larger, better equipped federal army struggled so fiercely against the confederacy and often fell so short, avoiding the trap of lionizing the outsized personalities of R.E.Lee and T.J.Jackson which overshadow their early federal counterparts. He also shows that it wasn't so much the brilliance of Gen's Lee & Jackson (not a Napolean in sight) but rather a broken federal system that turned the rebellion in Virginia, into a four year bloody slog. The Army of the Potomac pays tribute to the million or so men who actually fought the war to hold the republic together.

Unfortunately, this wonderful series is butchered by a dismal reader. Mr Collins has no sense of dramatic timing while telling the tale of this most dramatic of wars, his elocution is forced, and words are pronounced as if delivering a lesson to a grade school full of bored students. There isn't a touch of natural timing in his delivery and I wound up speeding up the recording in order to make the listening tolerable. I might have returned it had I not waited nearly 10 years for an audio version of this series.

Final summary, this series is a civil war cannon ranking among the greats. The reader, not so much.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Great story, Unlistenable audiobook

Painful narration ruined what should have been an otherwise great book by a great author.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Classic book, Abysmal narration.

Who could possibly have approved Mr. Collins as a suitable narrator for this well known book?! His manner of speech and frequent mispronunciations are so distracting as to make it challenging to focus on the material.
That said...the book is otherwise a treat and is chock full of anecdotal tales of the two amateur armies who found themselves in a shooting war that would expand far beyond anyone's darkest fears.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Catton Classic

Loved every bit of this classic. Crucial understanding of The Army of the Potomac and its role in the opening months of the American Civil War.

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Bruce Catton is a must

A must for anyone who wants to learn about the Civil War. I’ve read (or listened to) several, and happily have more to go.

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Terrible Narration

Would you try another book from Bruce Catton and/or Kevin T. Collins?

The narrator's delivery creates such a discordance with Mr Catton's work that is completely unbearable. This will teach me to listen to the sample in its entirety. I just bought the Kindle version instead. Lesson learned.

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    4 out of 5 stars

A Classic Spoiled by Poor Narration.

I cannot recommend this audiobook due to the poor narration. I have be an avid, almost daily listener of recorded books for more than 30 years. This is quite possibly the worst I have listened to. I hope Audible will endeavor to correct this and have it replaced with a performance worthy of this book. I have previously read all three volumes of this classic series and can recommend them highly.

Mr. Collins sounds as if he is trying to instruct English as a Second Language students rather than performing a dramatic narration. He over pronounces, lacks any cadence and is devoid of dramatic effect.

I found it impossible to complete the audiobook version. Each time I tried the narration distracted from the story and I quickly lost patience. I played a short section for my high school aged son and he had an immediate and equally objectionable reaction to the narrator.

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No tiene una buena cronologia histórica no gustó

no tinene una buena cronologia historica de los eventos, no me gustó nada la secuencia de eventos.

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  • Keith G
  • Montrose in Houston TX
  • 04-07-17

The first step in understanding

This is an excellent military and political document about the formation and maturing of the United States' most important army.

Lately I have shied away from broad view historical surveys. However in this book Mr. Catton gives us a very intimate view of a very important part of our history. It had been quite a while since I had read one of this author's books and I had forgotten how natural and smooth his prose moves from the page.

I cannot recommend this book enough.

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  • JB
  • 04-07-17

Narrator was hard to follow

This book would have been a better listen if the narrator didn't sound like he was performing for a Broadway audience. I was eventually able to get into it but his sing-song approach didn't make it easy. Also wish there had been more covered by the book.