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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows so well, with the latest novel in the series that started with A Blaze of Glory and A Chain of Thunder. In The Smoke at Dawn, the last great push of the Army of the Cumberland sets the stage for a decisive confrontation at Chattanooga that could determine the outcome of the war.

Summer, 1863: The Federal triumph at Vicksburg has secured complete control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy, cementing the reputation of Ulysses S. Grant. Farther east, the Federal army under the command of William Rosecrans captures the crucial rail hub at Chattanooga. But Rosecrans is careless, and while pursuing the Confederates, the Federal forces are routed in north Georgia at Chickamauga Creek. Retreating in a panic back to Chattanooga, Rosecrans is pursued by the Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg. Penned up, with their supply lines severed, the Federal army seems doomed to the same kind of defeat that plagued the Confederates at Vicksburg. But a disgusted Abraham Lincoln has seen enough of General Rosecrans. Ulysses Grant is elevated to command of the entire theater of the war, and immediately replaces Rosecrans with General George Thomas. Grant gathers an enormous force, including armies commanded by Joseph Hooker and Grant's friend, William T. Sherman. Grant's mission is clear: Break the Confederate siege and destroy Bragg's army. Meanwhile, Bragg wages war as much with his own subordinates as he does with the Federals, creating dissension and disharmony in the Southern ranks, erasing the Confederate army's superiority at exactly the wrong time.

Blending evocative historical detail with searing depictions of battle, Jeff Shaara immerses listeners in the world of commanders and common soldiers, civilians and statesmen. From the Union side come the voices of Generals Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and George Thomas - the vaunted "Rock of Chickamauga" - as well as the young private Fritz "Dutchie" Bauer. From the Rebel ranks come Generals Bragg, Patrick Cleburne, and James Longstreet, as well as the legendary cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest. A tale of history played out on a human scale in the grand Shaara tradition, The Smoke at Dawn vividly recreates the climactic months of the war in the West, when the fate of a divided nation truly hangs in the balance.

©2014 Jeff Shaara (P)2014 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Smoke at Dawn

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The best one yet

This is my favorite of the series yet. The characters, the controversy around Brag and the battle of Missionary ridge make this book must. Paul Michael does an awesome job!

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Another knockout!

There has not been a book yet by Mr Shaara that has not disappointed me! The book is another masterpiece and Paul Michael's reading is superb as always. A revealing and in depth look at the campaign around Chattanooga, TN.

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Civil War buffs rejoice

Fascinating narrative of the western campaign of the Civil War. I learned more by listening to this book than I did in a year long American history class.

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Another Outstanding Story by Jeff Shaara!

Being a student /teacher of History, I am always pleased with how Mr. Shaara brings thses historical figures to life, and make the relatable!

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A Reader's Comments

This is a fantastic book on the Western Theater of the war. It will teach you things and make you laugh at times.

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  • BR
  • 08-09-19

Thank you!

I have read many of the previous books by Jeff Shaara and enjoyed each one. This purchase was more personal. For years I knew two great grandfathers, father and son, served in the Civil War. It wasn’t until the past year that I discovered particularly engagements their regiment were involved. I’ve wanted to gain insight into those battles. This book did just that! The recollections from the Battle of Chickamauga to the triumphant charge on Missionary Ridge, this was thrilling to hear! The mention of “Wood" as one leading men into the late afternoon engagement on Missionary Ridge made reminder of the book intensely personal. I know my Great Grandfathers regiment was lead by “Wood” in this charge. I’ll likely never know for certain if they were personally on the field that day but I do know their regiment was and that’s good enough for me! Thank you Jeff Shaara for writing about the western theatre of the Civil War!

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Legacy and History

The narrative made you feel part of the story. My favorite character was the common soldier Fritz Dutchie Bauer.

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Amazingly told.

Helps those of us who attempt to understand the devotion of those who fought to develop this great country. Both sides were devoted to their cause, both sides bled for those beliefs.

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Historical And Opinionated

Much of the color comes via the charistics of the main players. That is, however, according to what most historians say about each. Very interesting.

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Totally gets you immersed in history. Fantastic storytelling!!

This was my 6th book by Jeff Shaara and all I can say is wow. I love history and have very much enjoyed the great historical works of Foote and Catton among others. Shaara’s historical novels on audible, however, are far and away the most entertaining. His words spoken by a great narrator brings the history to life. The Smoke at Dawn is a great example of this. After I write this review I will immediately start the Fateful Lightning. I hope we soon see an unabridged Gods and Generals.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-17-18

A very good book well read

I really enjoyed this book a period of history I did not know much about.

1 person found this helpful