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"Happiness Is Not My Companion": The Life of General G. K. Warren Hardcover – May 28, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; First Edition edition (May 28, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253339049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253339041
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David M. Jordan, a native of Philadelphia, graduate of Princeton University, and a practicing attorney, has previously published biographies of New York political boss Roscoe Conkling, Union general Winfield Scott Hancock, and left-handed pitcher Hal Newhouser, as well as a history of the Philadelphia Athletics.

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Customer Reviews

Jordan's account of Warren's life is excellent.
Best known for his role at Little Round Top, Warren led the 5th Corps of the Army of the Potomac during most of the Overland campaign before his removal at Five Forks.
Kevin M. Derby
The Civil War is one of my favorite periods in US history.
dawna j. foster

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By N. Langenbrunner on June 18, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" The Life of Gouverneur K Warren by David M. Jordan (Insiana University Press, 2001) is a welcome addition to Civil War literature, filling a void in the biographies of key players in the North's bid for victory.

G. K. Warren, a graduate of West point, served in the Corps of Topographical Engineers and then taught mathematics at the Point until he was named lieutenant colonel of volunteers of the Fifth New York regiment. The high point of his career occurred on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, when he recognized that the unoccupied Little Round Top was the key to the Federal's defense and quickly positiond troops on its summit and backside to prevent the Confederates from taking that hill and possibly destroying the entire Federal line.

As Jordan tells the rest of the story, Warren's subsequent service was characterized by arrogance, depression, a quick, sulphurous temper, and a bad habit of second-guessing his superior's orders. Just days before Lee's surrender, Warren's superior, General Phil Sheridan, relieved him of duty, casting a shadow of disgrace upon Warren's career and courage.

Unable to persuade General U S Gant to give him a court of hearing, Warren had to wait 15 years before the commanding general William T Sherman approved his application. By the time the inquiry was completed and the findings released (findings which at least partially exonerated him)Warren was dead.

The only other significant biography of Warren was published by his family in 1932, an apology vindicating the General and arguing his place in Civil War history.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Braveman on June 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This biography has the ring of truth and the happy tone of justice done at last. G.K.Warren, born upstate New York 1830, West Point class of '50, brevet Major General in the Union Army, brilliant strategist at Gettysburg, later commander of the Fifth Corps, died in 1883 awaiting the results of hearings he had instigated to clear his reputation. Following one of the last Civil War battles, a Union victory at Five Forks, VA to which he had contributed, Warren was fired by General Sheridan with U. S. Grant's prior approval. With little else of interest to do for the next 18 years, Warren focussed ever more intently on restoring his good name , marching in place while his personal demon, Grant, occupied the White House. Shaara (Killer Angels) did most of the heavy lifting to unearth Warren and Joshua L. Chamberlain, letting Chamberlain stand as The Hero of Little Roundtop. Jordan, more subtle, leaves him as A Hero of Little Roundtop. (Moreover, Jordan's narrative recital of this and other battles is exceptionally coherent.) Warren is a puzzle: was he a depressive personality? an adult-onset diabetic? a Democrat-for-McClellan sore loser? just one more brilliant, touchy, odd-ball Civil War general? Jordan wisely declines any one conclusive answer and gives detailed evidence for several. The hearing commission's report published after Warren's death "cut both ways", as a lawyer (such as the author) might say. To his credit, Jordan lets the report pretty much speak for itself. If you have no stomach for ambiguity, stop with Killer Angels. Otherwise, read "Happiness is Not My Companion...."
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Having just finished David M. Jordan's "Happiness in Not My Companion", a well researched biography of General G. K. Warren, I wish to congratulate the author for his thorough and readable account of the general's life, and to recommend this book to anyone interested in civil war history, american military history, or biography of an individual who should be remembered in human as well as historical terms. The first half of Warren's story, describing his civil and military achievements, including his significant role at Gettysburg, through the Army of the Potamac's campaign of 1864, describes a man of ability and leadership, although Mr. Jordan plants the seeds of his future tangles with those in military authority. His relief from command by Sheridan near the end of the war and subsequent history is described with honesty and compassion, ending with Warren's death while attempting to clear his name via a military Court of Inquiry some 18 years after the fact. Mr. Jordan's research is exhaustive and heretofore unplumbed. His extensive use of quotations advances the narrative in an organized and readable style that had this reader unable to put the book down, especially after the battle at Five Forks. The author is to be commended for his research, his objectivity, and his highly readable style.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David L. Mazzola on February 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For Civil War readers, Gouverneur Kemble Warren is not an unfamiliar name. He is most associated for his slow response in the Wilderness campaign where he was dismissed without, as we read, justifiable cause. This action was driven more by spite and the ego issues of Phil Sheridan, who failed to understand the issues causing Warren's delay at Five Forks. And then there was U.S. Grant's rigid blind faith in Sheridan that led him to summarily dismiss Warren, also without knowing all the facts. Jordan does a good job of showing the many facets of a general who was not only competent but ethical in his conduct of the war. While admittedly cautious and slow at times, he was still able to win battles and not needlessly compromise his men's lives. As a psychotherapist, it was personally interesting to see the psychology of this complex man, from his highs to his rages and deep depression. He was without question, intelligent and with great courage. He did have issues that could compromise his "generalship" at times but then shine at others. Yet, his leadership of men was done with character and ethical responsibility and discipline. I highly recommend this book as not only a means to understanding an excellent civil war general but also as a way to see how circumstances create decisions, both good and bad. To see how incompetent leaders can manage to survive and highly competent ones fall, all in a flash. The book, from the early days of Warren, through his Civil War battles, court of inquiry trial and, ultimately, his lonely and sad death, is well written, easy to read and, like a complex movie, shows us pieces of the war and its many unseen still frames that are so easily missed. The reader will come away with a greater understanding of G.K. Warren as well as the civil war. David L Mazzola
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