Rebel Yell

Rebel Yell

The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

Book - 2014
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An account of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's rise to prominence during the Civil War.
"Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country's greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson's strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future. In April 1862 Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked--hope--and struck fear into the hearts of the Union. [...] Gwynne delves deep into Jackson's private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson's brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero" - from publisher's web site.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2014
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition October 2014
ISBN: 9781451673289
Branch Call Number: 973.73 JACKS GWYNN
Characteristics: xi, 672 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm


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Sep 09, 2019

Journalist S.C. Gwynne (Time, Texas Monthly) presents a compelling account of the 14-month transformation of Thomas J. Jackson, an unpopular physics professor, into Stonewall Jackson - the most famous battlefield commander in the world. Not an "A to Z biography", Gwynne unfolds an astonishing character study. While brief chapters illustrate critical influences on Jackson before the Civil War, this hefty volume principally covers the period from Bull Run to Jackson's death at Chancellorsville, choosing to illustrate episodes which help the reader understand Jackson, his complex genius, and his legend.

" Jackson was blessed with not one but two exceptional cavalry officers. There was James Ewell Brown Stuart, known as Jeb, a loud, joyous, irrepressible twenty-eight-year-old West Pointer who had spent his previous military career with the mounted rifles and cavalry in the West.....There was also the thirty-seven-year-old Turney Ashby, a born leader of men who was almost recklessly brave and already a legend in his home state of Virginia. He had courtly manners, a flowing beard, and, while sorely lacking in administrative skills, had astounding abilities as a rider and fighter."

Mar 11, 2016

S. C. Gwynne is upfront about this book being a selective biography of Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson. Admitting it is not a “full-scale, A-to-Z biography,” Gwynne chooses facts, stories, and analysis that best illuminates his subject instead of providing a comprehensive report. Gwynne focuses mostly on the two years of Jackson's operations in the U.S. Civil War, but he also flashes back to early events in Jackson's life in order to provide perspective and context. Rebel Yell reads like a tale told by a master story-teller…I can almost hear a southern drawl while I'm reading it.

I don’t believe you need to be extremely well versed in the U.S. Civil War history to fully appreciate and benefit from Gwynne’s book, although the more you know about it the better. For example, battles and events outside of Jackson's involvement (or indirectly affecting him) are only briefly mentioned. Gwynne makes it clear that the focus is on capturing the essence of Jackson, which means trying to understand the apparent transformation (or as he calls it in the title, the redemption) Jackson underwent. Even though I basically knew large parts of the relevant history, I still found myself enthralled, wanting to continue turning the pages to find out more about this fascinating character. Gwynne brings his subject to life and his battle descriptions are marvels of detail and action. Gwynne does a masterful job of exploring Jackson's many contradictions, objectively trying to understand both his successes and his failures. Very highly recommended.

path111 Jun 22, 2015

Lengthy book but worth the read. Especially good at describing how a battle plan shapes up and what unexpected forces influence the outcome. Stonewall Jackson remains a mysterious character, deeply religious (almost superstition) to delivering soldiers to their deaths in an (almost wasteful) battlefield sacrifice.

Apr 15, 2015

This was one of the best history/biography books I ever read. Even though I knew the outcome of the battles, the author built the suspense to make the story that much more enjoyable.

Feb 20, 2015

If you are a civil war buff you will be enthused about this work. This is my fourth biography of Stonewall, and of the four; this is the best. The narrative is gripping, the accuracy is impeccable and the context of putting Stonewall with other generals is acceptable. All together, a wonderful read. 5 stars.

Oct 21, 2014

This book is a great read.well researched with lots of maps and photos.


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