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Jack Hinson's One-Man War, A Civil War Sniper Hardcover – January 27, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing; 1St Edition edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589806409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589806405
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (160 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A quiet, unassuming, and wealthy plantation owner, Jack Hinson was focused on his family life and seasonal plantings when the Civil War started to permeate the isolated valleys of the Kentucky-Tennessee border area where he lived. He was uniquely neutral--friend to both Confederate and Union generals--and his family exemplified the genteel, educated, gracious, and hardworking qualities highly valued in their society. By the winter of 1862, the Hinsons' happy way of life would change forever. Jack Hinson's neutrality was shattered the day Union patrols moved in on his land, captured two of his sons, accused them of being bushwhackers, and executed them on the roadside. The soldiers furthered the abuse by decapitating the Hinson boys and placing their heads on the gateposts of the family estate. The Civil War, now literally on Hinson's doorstep, had become painfully personal, and he could remain dispassionate no longer. He commissioned a special rifle, a heavy-barreled .50-caliber weapon designed for long-range accuracy. He said goodbye to his family, and he took to the wilderness seeking revenge. Hinson, nearly sixty years of age, alone, and without formal military training, soon became a deadly threat to the Union. A Confederate sniper, he made history after single-handedly bringing down an armed Union transport and serving as a scout for Nathan Bedford Forrest. A tenacious and elusive figure, Hinson likely killed more than one hundred Union soldiers, recording the confirmed deaths on the barrel of his rifle with precision. Despite the numbers of men sent to kill him, Hinson evaded all capture, and like his footsteps through the Kentucky and Tennessee underbrush, his story has been shrouded in silence--until now. The result of fifteen years of research, this remarkable biography presents the never-before-told history of Jack Hinson, his savage war on his country, and the brutal cost of vengeance and war.

From the Back Cover

"Tom McKenney makes a major contribution to yet another dimension of our Civil War. Tennessee civilian-warrior Jack Hinson single-handedly fought a personal vendetta for home and family against Union forces of oppression and persecution. Whether he is perceived as patriot, freedom fighter, or terrorist, one cannot fail to be enthralled by his personal story, uncovered by McKenney in the best tradition of painstaking research and told with a flair for local history superimposed on the big screen of military occupation and strife. McKenney's study is an absolute 'must' for students of the Civil War in Tennessee." --B. F. Cooling, author, Forts Henry and Donelson and Fort Donelson's Legacy "Tom McKenney's work is richly detailed, informative, and engaging. His research is extensively supported by countless interviews and eyewitness reports; he even sheds new light on details about the 1862 battle for Fort Donelson and the subsequent Union occupation. McKenney's emphasis on local stories and the dynamics of the nineteenth-century wartime society only enriches our understanding of the events of Forts Henry, Heiman, and Donelson. Anyone who wants a better grasp on guerrilla warfare and the western theater should read this book." --Susan M. Hawkins, park ranger, National Park Service "Tom McKenney's intensive research and lively narrative strip away the nearly unbelievable mythology surrounding Confederate sniper Jack Hinson, only to reveal an even more striking real individual--a genuine hero, an expert marksman, and the complex embodiment of a war that pitted brother against brother and often one's self-interest against his own deeply held beliefs and loyalties. Along the way, McKenney excavates the unique story of one corner of the western theater's murky Civil War. This work makes a huge contribution to this poorly understood theater of America's greatest conflict." --Scot Danforth, director, University of Tennessee Press

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Customer Reviews

Very good book that was very well researched.
Anyone with an interest in the time period or in how war can change a family as well as a country should read Jack Hinson's One-Man War.
S. Jarvis
I highly recommend this book to Civil War enthusiasts!
Mark Hinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Mary Ann VINE VOICE on April 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding work from several perspectives. As a selection from "books of regional interest" from Middle/West Tennessee/Kentucky, it is a must read. As Civil War History it fits the bill. As military analysis of a Civil War battle, it is dead-on. Finally, as an analysis of how trauma changes the dynamics of a family and the individual members--both at the event and over succeeding generations, it is heartbreakingly accurate. The research is thorough, but never dull. The author is sympathetic to the characters involved, but does not coddle--compassionately fair, time after time, gray or blue.
As one reads, one wishes to go back and "fix" these tragic situations, but as Col. McKenney says, "It happened." The author has done us a favor to tell this largely forgotten story. It would be a shame for us not to learn from the participants' harsh experience. It was certainly dearly bought.
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Format: Hardcover
In his new book, Jack Hinson's One Man War: A Civil War Sniper, author Lt Col Tom C McKenney, USMC retired, writes a new chapter on the subject of Civil War snipers and on a little known Confederate sniper in particular. Snipers in the American Civil War included Berdan's famous US Sharpshooters, Yankee "California Joe" Head and remarkable Confederate snipers such as Berry Benson who took such notables as Gen. "Uncle John" Sedgwick from over 800 yards at Spotsylvania Courthouse. The chapter of history with Jack Hinson's name on it has finally been told by this new book.

"Old Jack" Hinson was a quiet plantation owner and tobacco farmer who tried to stay neutral in the War. His situation spiraled rapidly out of control and the farmer, nearly sixty years of age, was labeled a southern sympathizer and criminal by association. The book begins with some 150 pages of foreshadowing that included much detailed information on the early war in West Tennessee including the Battle of Ft Pillow and the humiliating surrender at Ft Donelson in which Mr. Hinson had an unsung part in. This story continues throughout the Civil War and explains how, after the death and humiliation of Hinson's family and destruction of his home, he waged a one man guerilla war from the high bluffs of the Twin Rivers tributaries on the Army and Navy of General Grant.

McKenney relates in great detail how Hinson had a special purpose plainly finished .50 caliber (12.7mm) Kentucky jager rifle made to his own specifications. The rifle had an octagonal 41-inch barrel combined with a maple stock weighed in at a total of 18 pounds. Its weight meant it needed to be braced on a limb or stump to achieve accurate long range fire out to and beyond 500 meters with iron sights.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Betsy Ligon on April 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Talk in the county had existed for years about the guerrilla type warfare that occurred in the area during the civil war, and now I am able to put individual stories, everyday lives and tragedies into these locations because of Jack Hinson's One-Man War. I have been through Magnolia, Danville Crossing, Hurricane Creek, Graffenreid Bluff, Fort Donelson, and the Land Between the Lakes area. The story of Jack Hinson put events, people and families into these locations and is a glimpse into a way of life disrupted by conflict for black and white, young and old, and Union and Confederate during the troubled times along a beautiful stretch of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers. A very well researched history that is very readable. It was hard to put this book down. I will revisit the locations in the book with a new appreciation of the history of the areas of Houston and Stewart Counties in Tennessee and the events that occurred during the Civil War.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By William Mullins Jr. on April 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a very good book. Well written. I was looking up some info on the Orphan Brigade and stumbled upon this story of Jack Hinson. It's an amazing true story, almost unbelievable. Someone needs to make his story into a movie.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John R. Woodson on April 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The research done by the author and the time spent doing it, the travels invovled most certainly authenticate this true life event and how a quiet, well governed family can be so disasterously destroyed by out side forces which they had no control and cost the lives of so many of the family. Mr. Henson most deservedly did what his God-given right to do by protecting his family and country. Tragedy is everywhere, especially today.

The author did a great job and made this historical event come alive, it was very hard to lay down the book even for lights out call.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G'ma on March 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A really good book! I couldn't put it down, reading a lot of it aloud to my husband. A good picture of life in the rual south during the Civil War. The fact that the story is true, fleshed out, but true makes it even more readlabe.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Odriscoll on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mckenney's book is an interesting departure from the Hollywood view of the Civil War. The ordinary people of the South suffered very badly, both during and after the war, at the hands of the Unionists. Atrocities were widespread against southern civilians so that it is not surprising that there was low scale guerrilla warfare against the Yankee occupation forces. The work is interesting in that the author doesn't seem to have an agenda. He relates the facts as far as he knows them and intelligently interpolates where data is missing. Hinson himself is an absorbing man and typifies that tough, independent frontier character that created America and that was the anthitisis of the types of people to be found in Washington now, and indeed in Lincoln's time.
When we think of snipers WWII or Vietnam spring to mind. Yet, Hinson was as skilled a sniper as could be found in any age. To make a kill at 500 yards or greater is still an impressive shot with a high power rifle today, nevermind with the type of weapon available to him a hundred and fifty years ago. Tyrants should pay attention. There are still some potential Jack Hinsons out there and if they are pushed hard enough they may react much more effectively than expected.
My only criticism is that McKenney tends to repeat himself a bit, both about the qualities of characters and about events that happened. Otherwise, it is a useful addition to the history of the period and an intriguing story.
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