Qty:1
  • List Price: $25.95
  • Save: $5.39 (21%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Acceptable | Details
Sold by mcwax
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Some page corner creases, cover corner crease, pen mark/light blemishes on edges, very good otherwise.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $2.82
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw Paperback – November 18, 1999


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$20.56
$11.57 $6.95
Year-End%20Deals%20in%20Books


Frequently Bought Together

Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw + Where Death and Glory Meet: Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Infantry + A Brave Black Regiment: The History of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1863-1865
Price for all three: $52.66

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (November 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820321745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820321745
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #502,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

These letters will surprise readers who know Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Infantry only through the movie Glory or the bronze memorial in Boston Commons. Most relate Shaw's wartime experiences in Virginia before he reluctantly agreed to lead the 54th; they are interesting yet unremarkable as Civil War letters. His letters after he took command reveal him as less ardent in his abolitionism and less certain of his black charges than movie and myth would have it, but they do suggest how war and social purpose drove a Boston blueblood to martyrdom on the ramparts of Fort Wagner. An excellent introduction and copious notes add to the importance of this book. Although less insightful than T.W. Higginson's classic Army Life in a Black Regiment (1870), Shaw's letters are essential for academic and large public libraries.
- Randall M. Miller, St. Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Splendid . . . Important . . . Superb . . . Deserves a place on every Civil War bookshelf . . . Shaw emerges more vividly in this book than he did in the film Glory."--New York Times Book Review


"A fine and conscientious work."--Boston Globe


"An affecting collection."--Washington Times


"Glory resurrected Robert Gould Shaw as a dramatic figure. This book highlights Shaw as the man he really was. The written word far surpasses the screen image in quality."--Richmond Times-Dispatch


"Russell Duncan's outstanding edition of Shaw's letters is a model for this sort of work. . . . Sustained excellence."--Civil War Book Review


"In the film Glory, Robert Gould Shaw was portrayed as a rather stuffy but dedicated and idealistic young officer who led his regiment of African-American soldiers to a magnificent death in an attempt to take the Confederate Fort Wagner off the coast of South Carolina. The real Shaw, as evidenced by this collection of letters written to his parents, siblings, friends, and fiancee, was a much more interesting personality. . . . His letters are a revealing and often moving account of a young man's growth in a time of war."--Magill Book Reviews


"In Russell Duncan's new edition of the colonel's letters, we meet Robert Gould Shaw at last as a person, not as a symbol. . . . Readers of Shaw's letters will find a young man, not always deep or profound, but with a quality of character forged in conflict. . . . Of course, most readers will want to turn to the letters recounting his experiences as commander of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, and they will not be disappointed in the story of how colonel and soldiers taught one another how to be men as well as soldiers. . . . There is something heroic in struggling against one's limitations to achieve greatness. Editor Duncan should be congratulated for reminding us of this truth through bringing us closer to Shaw."--Journal of American History


"Duncan shows the human side of war as it is rarely seen. . . . an engaging portrait.”--Orlando Sentinel

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
12
4 star
6
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 18 customer reviews
Read this book if you are eager to know the "real" Shaw.
Sally Burnell
Colonel Shaw was so young but also intellegent and did command his men by his example while training them to be the best soldiers possible.
Barbara Gloria
I recommend this book to anyone who loves the movie or is a Civil War buff.
Jayfeth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Sally Burnell on April 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
If, like me, you have seen the film "Glory", where Matthew Broderick plays Col. Robert Gould Shaw, white commander of the black 54th Massachusetts Regiment during the Civil War, you will see only a brief a glimpse of who Shaw was in his short life. Broderick does a masterful job of capturing some of Shaw's personality, but if you want to get inside this young man's head and find out who he really was, I highly recommend reading the book, "Blue Eyed Child of Fortune", ed. by Russell Duncan.

This collection of Shaw's letters shows a far more complex and conflicted young man than Broderick was given a chance to play. While his parents burned with the abolitionist spirit of Boston's intellectual elite, Shaw struggled with his own prejudices and his own self doubts throughout his short life. Never an exemplary student, he dropped out of Harvard to work in his uncle's New York firm, but rapidly found the work boring and unsuited to him. Struggling to find his place in the world, the Civil War came along and gave him a sense of purpose and direction.

Enlisting first in the 7th New York Guards, he served until his enlistment was up, and then joined the 2nd Massachusetts, gaining position as an officer. He "saw the elephant" at Winchester, Antietam and Cedar Mountain, was slightly wounded in two of those engagements, and found out first hand about the horrors of war. During winter camp in 1862-63, his father visited with word that Shaw had been tapped by Massachusetts Governor John Albion Andrew to command a new black regiment. At first, Shaw refused this offer on the basis that he felt a strong bond with the men he had fought and bled with, but then changed his mind and accepted the position of Colonel of the 54th Massachusetts.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jayfeth on December 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
The movie Glory is one of my all-time favourite movies, and I've wanted to buy this book for some time but have always put off doing so. When I finally took the plunge I found myself unable to put it down. The amount of research that must have gone into this work is astounding and I commend the author on his effort! Reading these letters (and the introduction) give the reader a profound insight into the Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts and the mind of Robert Gould Shaw. He is a much different person than was portrayed in the movie and in this book we can see his apprehension and uncertainty about the role which seemed his destiny. I recommend this book to anyone who loves the movie or is a Civil War buff. It is a great read and a wonderful education.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Winter on March 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Robert Gould Shaw's letters home are a very realistic look of the Civil War battles by a unique individual with many perspectives. The brutality of battle along with the emotional turmoil from such a young officer bring the war to life. The authors have given us a true picture of a brave officer and the war. As you read the letters of Shaw you want to pull the blankets closer on the cold winter nights he spent in the field. You can share the suffering along with Shaw at the loss of friends. The courage and love of family and devotion of country are evident throughout his premature adult life. God bless the 54th and may Robert Gould Shaw and all that served with him and under him never be forgotten.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By joan a. shelton on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Russell Duncan's compendium of letters both exalts and puzzles.The job of editing the letters and setting them in the context of war, family ties, friendships, etc. is thorough and, for the most part, makes them accessible. Let's not forget, though, that the editor omitted some letters that don't support his main thesis: that Col. Shaw was a rich young pleasure-lover who fought to get back to his privileged existence, never changing this outlook throughout the war; he "never fully understood nor dedicated himself" to the cause of Black freedom (pp.1-2). So here we are presented with a young man raised by abolitionists who went to all the hazards of preparing and leading something new, a black regiment, before dying in the middle of it, without understanding what he was about, or dedicating himself to it. It's fashionable to "debunk" the heros of yore, but even those letters we have tell us otherwise, and Duncan reverses his appraisal, back and forth, several times. We should also beware of measuring citizens of other times against a modern baseline on classism, racism, etc. Apart from these problems, found in the introduction and some footnotes, the book lets Shaw speak for himself (he does it eloquently and enjoyably) and the reader can draw his/her own conclusion on ideas, events, and character development.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Angi on February 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my husband, and his grandfather, mother, and brother. Robert Gould Shaw was the nephew of his grandfather's great grandmother. It's amazing to read the letters that he wrote home while leading the first all-black regiment in the Civil War.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Gloria on May 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Through his letters you can tell how close he was to his family and especially his Mother. His detailed letters show his sense of duty to his country and the challenge to accept a most difficult assignment which would in the end take his life. Colonel Shaw was so young but also intellegent and did command his men by his example while training them to be the best soldiers possible. On the 150th anniversary of the Civil War it is time to remember that war is hell and should not be repeated but the human condition always pushes us forward to repeat this history and the young lives lost are always most tragic.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews