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Joshua Chamberlain: A Hero's Life and Legacy Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; 1st edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811708861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811708869
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Recently, Joshua Chamberlain has emerged in the popular mind as the archetypal Union military hero, based largely on the actions of his regiment, the 20th Maine, at Gettysburg. His image now appears on T-shirts, and he has been immortalized in film and in prose. In short, his lifelong effort to fashion a heroic image of himself has prevailed. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Pullen's brief examination of Chamberlain's postwar life. Pullen, whose previous work includes a marvelous study of the 20th Maine, falls prey to uncritical hero worship, unpersuasively portraying Chamberlain as a martyr to his belief in sectional reconciliation while unquestioningly accepting his minimal interest in the fate of the freedmen. Pullen does remind us that Chamberlain pursued a public career in Maine politics and at Bowdoin College, but the patchwork nature of the prose, the author's ruminations about today's world, the acceptance of Chamberlain's words at face value, and the unyielding admiration of author for subject result in a flawed book.?Brooks D. Simpson, Arizona State Univ., Tempe
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

John J. Pullen, a renowned Civil War historian, also wrote Joshua Chamberlain: A Hero's Life and Legacy (978-0-8117-0886-9). He lived in Maine, writing about the Civil War until his death in 2003. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Joshua Chamberlain reaches through time and space and grips the imagination of all that encounter him. John Pullen, who drew back the shroud of a forgotten hero in his excellent book "The Twentieth Maine," has come full circle in this engaging and enlightening biography. Chamberlain, the hero of Little Round Top, burst upon the American culture in the film "Gettysburg." As if in answer to the question "What makes this guy a REAL hero?," Pullen has gathered the facts and presented us with both the man and the myth. Few heroes, stripped of legend, endure the light of truth. Chamberlain not only lives up to his legend: he invites further acclaim by the manner in which he lived, and the integrity of his character. John Pullen fills in the blanks of Chamberlain's postwar life, and shows us a man worth admiring. A true American hero, Joshua Chamberlain emerges unsullied, untarnished and quite human. Thank you, Mr. Pullen!
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I don't think I could say it better than the reader from Huntington, Pennsylvania - what a great review! But I agree wholeheartedly, this book allows the reader to see Chamberlain *the human* and despite his faults and frailties, he remains someone well worth admiring. John Pullen, as always, has written a very well researched and very readable book that gives one a look at the whole person. For those who are just starting to become interested in Chamberlain, this book will give you an excellent view of his later life and accomplishments (all of which were achieved despite a debilitating wound!). For those who have been Chamberlain fans for years, this book will help you get to know him even more and give you further reason to admire him.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By The Rev. Dr. Daniel J. G. G. Block on May 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain did not appear "ex nihilo" on 2 July 1863 at the craggy slope of Little Round Top. Neither did he disappear on 12 April 1865 following his magnanimous violation of military protocol at Appomattox Court House. In this volume, Mr. Pullen documents Chamberlain's life after the Civil War, demonstrating that the hero's character continued to illuminate all his life until his death in 1914.
Unlike Sis Deans', "His Proper Post;" Michael Golay's, "To Gettysburg and Beyond;" or Willard M. Wallace's, "Soul of the Lion," Pullen's text does not presume to be a complete biography. It does not address the question of what forces in Chamberlain's up-bringing formed such an extraordinary man.
Unlike Chamberlain's own books "Through Blood & Fire at Gettysburg," and "The Passing of the Armies;" or Michael Shaara's, "The Killer Angels," and Alice Rains Trulock's, "In The Hands of Providence," this is not primarily a book about soldiers at war.
The question that Pullen addresses is, "What becomes of the hero after the battles cease: how is courage displayed after the war ends?" In the case of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, and other great Americans, the answer is that true heroes continue to demonstrate the same commitment to service in peace as in war. True heroes demonstrate the same integrity and courage in their chosen civilian occupations that they once showed while facing iminent death.
Forget the trendy books on leadership and values. Instead, read Mr. Pullen's book. Be inspired by the story of an exceptional leader, who demonstrated his commitment to American values until the day he died.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim-Jim on May 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Since I was a kid, Chamberlain has been the model of a man to me. One of the great American heroes. There are longer and more detailed accounts but if you're a newcomer and want to quickly get to know the man, look no further.
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25 of 36 people found the following review helpful By William W. Conklin on September 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Joshua Chamberlain's post-Civil-War life never reached the heights of his military exploits. John Pullen has done an excellent job researching and writing about Chamberlain after the Civil War, but, like Chamberlain's civilian life, it's not as gripping as his Civil War experiences. For die-hard Chamberlain fans and those interested in Maine's and Bowdoin's history, it's worth reading, but if it's excitement you want, read Killer Angels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey E Ellis on October 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
JOSHUA CHAMBERLAIN: A HERO's LIFE AND LEGACY by John J. Pullen is an interesting insight into the life and times of Maine's famous civil war hero. There are several books about Chamberlain as his popularity has surged in recent years, but perhaps none as grounded and lifelike as this one.

This is not an exercise in hero worship, although there is a great deal to commend Chamberlain to the reader. Nor is it an essay designed simply to enlarge his celebrity, as if there was a need. This portrait is more than that; it shows the General at his best and most vulnerable to criticism. This is a book which, in some ways, reduces Chamberlain to status as a mere mortal. But in the doing, makes him all the more engaging.

It is comforting, somehow, to know him as a man of like passions and weaknesses. Despite those passions, Chamberlain was a man of extraordinary courage, boldness, and leadership. The battle of Little Round Top is legendary but less well-known are his heroic stands to quell civil rebellion in Maine, his willingness to support unpopular, impolitic positions as Governor, and his greatest contribution to the body politic: an unerring purpose to "do the right thing, no matter the cost."

Great fame and fortune were certainly his for the taking but he would not compromise with political powers on his principles, on doing the right thing. In my opinion, this is his greatest legacy to the generations which have followed him. Whether as Brever General, Governor, President of Bowdoin College, or other affairs of state large and small, Chamberlain was unwavering in his course toward integrity, honesty, and principle.

Wonderfully detailed and researched, Pullen does an excellent job painting this fascinating protrait of a true American hero.
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