Book Review by Roy E. Perry: “A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh” by Jeff Shaara

Shiloh

Editor’s Note: Roy E. Perry reviewed books for “The Tennessean” and “Nashville Banner” for more than thirty years. “Underground Nashville” is always proud to post Mr. Perry’s latest review.  Dave Carew 

BOOK REVIEW BY ROY E. PERRY: 

Jeff Shaara’s A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh (2012) narrates in fascinating detail one of the first major battles in the Western Theater of the Civil War. The two-day battle (April 6-7, 1862) involved 44,000 Confederate troops under the command of Albert Sidney Johnston (killed in the battle) and Pierre Beauregard, and 65,000 Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant and Don Carlos Buell.

My wife and I have visited the battlefield twice, and have viewed the old wagon trail (the sunken road), the Hornet’s Nest, the Bloody Pond, the Peach Orchard, and the adjoining cemetery. Our imaginations were challenged to imagine, in such a beautiful place, such a horrendous, bloody battle, which resulted in staggering losses for both sides.

The Battle of Shiloh (a.k.a The Battle of Pittsburg Landing) occurred at Pittsburg Landing in southwestern Tennessee near the banks of the Tennessee River, approximately twenty miles south of Savannah. The Union objective was to continue southward and capture the crucial railroad junction at Corinth, Mississippi. However, the “men in blue” were surprised in their (unfortified) camp by “secesh” forces and were almost destroyed.

One of the biggest blunders of the battle was made by Pierre Beauregard, who took command of the Confederate army after the death of Albert Sidney Johnston. Beauregard, a martinet riddled with egotism and arrogance, gave the bizarre, baffling order to cease the attack with an hour of daylight still remaining. The battered Union army was reinforced during the night and on Monday mounted a successful counterattack, which drove the “men in gray” in retreat back to their fortified base in Corinth.

The Battle of Shiloh resulted in 24,000 casualties (killed, wounded, and missing). In the Western Theater of the Civil War only the Battle of Chickamauga (in northern Georgia) had more casualties. In an especially graphic chapter (Chapter 33), a Union soldier, Fritz “Dutchie” Bauer describes the carnage of the conflict, a gory battlefield named after a small log church named “Shiloh,” meaning, ironically, “A Place of Peace.”

Jeff Shaara brilliantly alternates the chapters between principals from the North and the South, relating not only the various maneuvers (strategies and tactics of battle), but also describing in vivid detail the fury of combat, and providing an inside look at the hopes and fears of the men fighting for survival.

Mr. Shaara has written gripping novels not only about the Civil War but also the Mexican War, the Revolutionary War, and World War II. A Blaze of Glory is, without doubt, one of his best efforts. Highly recommended.

For other book reviews by Roy E. Perry, please visit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2MVUWT453QH61/ref=cm_cr_auth/002-6294896-4602409?%5Fencoding=UTF8

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at Amazon.com and XLibris.com. Dave is also a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

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Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/191-4818370-7728230?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=David+M.+Carew

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscroft.org (link below) and consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is very helpful and appreciated. Thank you.

http://www.epiclifecreative.net/LambsCroft/

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Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.” Dave Carew

 

 

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