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Glory Road Paperback – 1964

4.8 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Army of the Potomac Series

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Paperback, 1964
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: POCKET BOOKS @; 1st edition (1964)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000EQU1TU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,711,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on August 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I started Catton's trilogy of the Army of the Potomac with Vol. II, "Glory Road". I did so because my vacation was taking me through Fredricksburg and Gettysburg and I planned to visit the three battlefields talked about in this book. While I had hoped for an historical background of the battles, I received so much more. I had not realized that Bruce Catton was such an excellent writer. I just assumed that he was another Civil War buff who was a bit more successful than his peers. How wrong I was! What comes through most clearly from Catton's writing in his respect and admiration of the foot soldiers of the Army of the Potomac. What comes through nearly as well is his ability to explain the circumstances of the times; what was happening in Washington, what was happening in the homefront, who were these men in charge. Finally, what is also very appreciated by the reader is the detailed overview of the three main battles in the book; Fredricksburg, Chancellorsille, and Gettysburg. What I mean by detailed overview is not the minute by minute account that so many battle histories have. Rather it is an overview that allows the reader a clear understanding of how the battle proceeded with focal points throughout the event to better bring it to life. Mr. Catton seasons all of this with some much appreciated philosophy of the meaning of the events that take place.
I am aware that I have just finished reading a masterpiece. What is embarassing for me to consider is that it sat on my bookshelf for several years. I will see to it that Vols I and III shall be attended to promptly.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bruce Catton is, in my opinion, the most readable author of American Civil War history. Whenever I've labored through some book I wanted to read but have struggled with, I reward myself with something he has written.
This trilogy is, as all his work is, thoroughly researched and very balanced. It would be hard to detect any bias in this native Michiganer of the first half of the 20th century, though I vaguely suspect he had more sympathy for the South, if only for the "pluck" (he likes that word in fact) of their "David vs. Goliath" undertaking.
This 2nd volume is perhaps the best. It describes what is in some ways is the most tragic period of the war, that period too long after Bull Run for the Confederates to still believe the North wouldn't or couldn't fight, and too long before Appomattox to allow the Northerners to see that they would prevail. It is particularly sad to think of the brave men who fought for the Union and died senselessly because they were lead by Generals of so little military talent (Pope, Burnside and even Hooker).
The book does a wonderful job in detailing the battle of Gettysburg and it is clear that this is a favorite topic of the author. While Catton does not give much credit for the battle to Meade, he does point out that Meade at least stabilized the Army from the time he took over until Grant would come along (read Volume 3!).
In any case, the real beauty of any of Catton's works is his insight not so much into the Generals and the politicians, but into the common soldier of both sides; what made them fight so savagely one moment, but embrace one another so fully the next?
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Format: Paperback
Bruce Catton's "Glory Road" was published in 1952 as the second volume of a trilogy on the Army of the Potomac. Unhappily, the book is now out-of-print, but it remains an outstanding, accessible study of the Civil War and of the Union's largest army.
"Glory Road" covers the period from the Battle of Fredericksburg in late 1862 through the Battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863 and concludes with President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November, 1863. The primary battles during this period were Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. The Army of the Potomac had a different commander in each battle, Burnside, Hooker, and Meade, to face Confederate general Robert E. Lee, who had already assumed almost legendary stature. Catton captures these battles well, in a rhythmic and readable prose without getting bogged in the detail of many more minute battle accounts. He also does well in tying the courses of the battles together, something more specialized accounts frequently fail to do. The reader wanting a basic understanding of the battles will find it here.
But there is much more to this book than a description of combat. For me, Catton made the Army of the Potomac come alive. He tells the story of how the Army survived its many defeats and came through as a strong, tough fighting force lacking illusions. The Army survived a series of weak commanders and took control of itself.
Catton also does an excellent job of weaving the military course of the War with political and social history. He discusses the politics within the Lincoln administration and the activities of the Copperheads -- Northerners sympathetic to the Confederate War effort.
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