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Generals in Bronze: Interviewing the Commanders of the Civil War Hardcover – September 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Belle Grove Publishing Co.; First Edition edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883926181
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883926182
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 6.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William B. Styple has edited, co-authored, and authored several works on the Civil War. His book: "The Little Bugler" won the Young Readers' Award from the Civil War Round Table of New York. He is currently writing the biography of Gen. Phil Kearny.

From AudioFile

Civil War artist James Kelly sketched and interviewed 40 Union Army generals in the years following the war. While making his drawings, Kelly probed the soldiers with intimate questions about their military dress, the high points of their lives, and the minute details of their notable battles. Narrator Patrick Cullen uses the generals' conversations with the artist to sculpt personalities for each, making the famous men lifelike, distinctive, and memorable. His General Sherman is a cranky, abrupt, and rude character while a few words from General Lee at the signing of the surrender at Appomattox reveal a tired-sounding officer with a soft Southern drawl. While some narrators might overdo such a performance, Cullen summons prudent restraint to avoid comedy in his pursuit of realism. J.A.H. © AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
I highly recommend this book to everyone from Civil War beginners to scholars.
cwbookworm
With Generals In Bronze, Mr. Styple has produced a GOLDMINE to the history and Civil War community.
Shaun C. Grenan
A noted artist and sculptor, Kelly went on to immortalize a great many of them in ink and bronze.
W. H. Rich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
GENERALS IN BRONZE is one of those books that contains so much intimate information about figures known to the public as heroes of the past that it borders on delicious gossip. But the structure of this fine book has a history of its own and that puts the contents edited by William B. Styple into a more meaningful and lasting context.

James Edward Kelly was an artist of bas-reliefs and sculptures during the Civil War, sketching battles in the days before cameras and videotapeing were omnipresent. He also sketched famous people and interviewed them during the sketching, and this book is a series of memoirs or diary of an artist's recording of not only the images of the great names of the Civil War, but also the conversations he had with his sitters. Famous names abound in this informative and well-constructed book. We learn about General Custer's constant companion - a canteen of iced tea - and that he possessed a 'boyish chuckle' that is not at all the image of the historical Custer. Ulysses Grant discusses his drinking problem, Mary Todd Lincoln was seen pulling her hair out by the handfuls upon Lincoln's assassination, other generals talk about the complete inadequacy of Gettysburg as a battleground, and so on.

One of the pleasures of this book is that all of the interviews noted by Kelly were after the war: this is a series of retrospective commentary and as such is a sharp lesson in how we have thought about all our previous wars under the tutelage of the artists' eyes and ears and words. A fascinating and humbling document. Grady Harp, October 05
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By cwbookworm on August 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
William Styple has made an incredible find. "Generals In Bronze" has over 40 interviews with famous Civil War Generals including Grant, Hancock, Chamberlain, Sherman & Howard. Artist James Kelly captures the words of the real Generals and shows their human side. The interviews are eye-opening and refreshing. Many of these recollections were not printed in their personal memoirs. I highly recommend this book to everyone from Civil War beginners to scholars. A great read with interesting perspectives.

cwbookworm

Gettysburg, PA
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Shaun C. Grenan on October 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
With Generals In Bronze, Mr. Styple has produced a GOLDMINE to the history and Civil War community. The interviews with Generals (and other historical figures, ie Teddy Roosevelt on the Span Am War) are amazing for the information they contain. For over 140 years, no one knew exactly what General Hancock wore at Gettysburg, what was said the night of July 2nd in Meade's Headquarters, Grant's drinking, who was asked to command the Army of the Potomac BEFORE Reynolds and Meade, etc. There are many candid stories from these Great men of history that fill in all the gaps left by other, more formulaic books, such as Gettysburg by Sears.

Generals in Bronze is yet another fine book of the kind Mr. Styple is known for. Anyone who is interested in knowing more about these Generals, great battles of the Civil War, the Lincoln assassination, or what these great men did NOT put in their "official" memoirs should read this book!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Bollander on August 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book is one of the best civil war books I have ever read! It is not written in Bill Styple's word's or even James Kelly's. It is the stories that civil war generals told Jim Kelly the artist while he was sketching them long after the war. You won't be able to put it down!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jon Hunt on January 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If there was ever a book that conveyed the color of the Civil War, short of a television documentary, "Generals in Bronze" is it. This is a remarkable book not only for the life sketches and interviews made by artist James E. Kelly but also for the superb editing of William Styple.

Kelly, a native New Yorker, was born a scant few years before the onset of the Civil War and although he began as a sketch artist, his works are more remembered now for his statues and bronze reliefs. While Styple astutely begins his book with Kelly's observations of General Philip Sheridan in 1878 and ends with a couple of 1920's recollections of eyewitnesses to Lincoln's assassination, "Generals in Bronze" is largely concerned with reflections from the second tier of Union generals....their remembrances for sure, but also their comments about other generals and, of course, their egos. Kelly, with a discerning eye not only as an artist but with an eye to the future has a rather cheeky and self-promoting way of working his way into his subects' confidences. He captures more of these generals than they could ever have captured the enemy on the battlefield.

That so many generals lived so long after the Civil War and that Kelly, perhaps more than anyone else, was able to relate their collective histories makes him a center point for postwar interest. One of the wonderful things about "Generals in Bronze" is the language itself. How formal it was that people spoke just a mere hundred years ago, or so! Yet with this formality comes a certain humor, freedom and admiration one often finds lacking in today's jargon.

William Styple, through giving us the words of James Kelly and his quotes and assessments on the generals with whom he spoke, has done a great service. I can't recommend this book more highly. It is a serious and unforgettable read.
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