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Nathan Bedford Forrest's Redemption Hardcover – July 16, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Nathan Bedford Forrest remains a controversial figure in American history. Because of his days as a slave trader and his involvement with the Ku Klux Klan, the Confederate general is equated with racism. However, many may be surprised to know that he spent the latter days of his life as a pious Christian and an outspoken advocate of African Americans. This spiritual biography follows Forrest on his journey to salvation, focusing on the lesser known aspects of his life.

Recalling his youth in the South, his experiences as an unyielding Civil War general, and his final years devoted to his renewed faith, eleven chapters span Forrest's enigmatic life. Firsthand accounts from the diary entries of those who knew him and photographs reveal an obscure side of the soldier, a side that is often omitted from history books. His radical transformation provides the message that positive life changes are possible.

Shane E. Kastler is an ordained Southern Baptist minister who has devoted his life to preaching the gospel of Christ. He received his B.B.A. from Northeastern State University, where he became heavily involved in both the church and campus ministries. Afterwards, he earned his M.Div. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of six seminaries affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Upon graduation, Kastler received the LifeWay Preaching Award, which is presented to a graduate who has excelled in the study and practice of preaching.

Having served as senior pastor of the nondenominational First Christian Church of Pleasanton, Kansas, he continues to preach and write. He contributes a weekly religious column, "Seeking Higher Ground," to the Linn County (KS) News in addition to maintaining two Internet blogs. Kastler lives with his family in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

From the Back Cover

"If all you know about Nathan Bedford Forrest is that he was 'first with the most,' you don't know the real Forrest; you need to read this book."
-Michael R. Bradley, author, Nathan Bedford Forrest's Escort and Staff

"This description of redemption shows that even the worst of sinners can be changed into trophies of God's grace."
-Rob Gallion, pastor, First Baptist Church, Ridgway, Illinois

"A must-read for those seeking redemption or for those who have found it. This book will take you on a journey that only the grace of God can give."
-Travis Yates, director, Ten-Four Ministries

Famously referred to as "that Devil" by Union general William T. Sherman, Nathan Bedford Forrest is remembered by history as a fearsome yet skilled Confederate leader whose reputation has been marred by accusations of cold-blooded murder and racism. However, many may be surprised to know that the former slave trader and early member of the Ku Klux Klan eventually dedicated his life to God and became a staunch advocate for African Americans.

This spiritual biography follows Forrest from his childhood through his conversion to Christianity in 1875, revealing a humble side of the enigmatic historical figure. Focusing on the roles various individuals played in bringing the former general to Christ, details on Forrest's final years document his radical transformation from a ruthless warrior to a pious Christian.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing (July 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589808347
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589808348
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shane E. Kastler (M.Div., B.B.A.) serves as Pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He is also co-host of "Church & State" a weekly radio program on KELB, 100.5 radio in Lake Charles; and writes a weekly newspaper column called "Seeking Higher Ground." He is a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Northeastern State University (B.B.A.). A native of Welch, Oklahoma, Shane and his family now make their home in Lake Charles.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
If you wish to start a heated discussion praise/damn Forrest on a Civil War board. Forrest is always a hot topic with strong opinions being voice by both sides. A large segment of our community hates him. A slave trader, early member or founder of the Ku Klux Klan and his actions at Fort Pillow guarantee a large part of the group will attack. A very effective general, victor in a number of battles, an accomplished fighter guarantees a large part of the group will defend. In many ways, this subject has been done to death. The issue is decided and discussion closed. It is a brave author that will walk into this lion's den. An even braver author that will portray Forrest's life as a journey on the road to salvation.
This book works on several levels making for a lively and uplifting read.
First, it is a testament to the author's faith in God's love and salvation through Jesus Christ. Shane E. Kastler is an ordained Southern Baptist Minister and active in his faith. He wrote this book as an example of salvation and a statement of faith. That is not to say he is preaching or overly religious here. However, this is a book about one man's journey to Jesus Christ and the author covers the subject.
Second, this is a very good short biography of Forrest. The author has a clear easy style that conveys information, describes individuals and involves the reader. His history is clear and balanced without hiding the truth. This is not a "Forrest is a wonderful brilliant person" nor is it "the evil murderous Forrest". I have read a couple of books on Fort Pillow and heard Ed Bearss lecture on Forrest. I noticed nothing in the biography that is not part of the historical record.
Lastly, this book covers Forrest after the war.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Trey Bahm on June 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ten years ago, I spotted a family name in Robert Selph Henry's biography on Forrest. This set off an obsession that led me into Civil War Reenacting, compulsive book buying, appearances on the History Channel, a screenplay adventure, and a mini-odyssey across the Mid-South in search of a forgotten gravesite.

The name was "Stainback," and it was the name of the Rev. G.T. Stainback, the Memphis pastor who would shepherd America's most notorious legend into the arms of his Savior. Rev. Stainback is my cousin, and according to my research, my great-grandfather resided with him while a teenager. The young man and his war-widowed mother stayed with their elder while Stainback served a church in Columbus, Mississippi, his original home, eventually migrating to Texas in 1874. Stainback returned to Memphis, where he was ordained, the following year after my relatives left and became the Forrests' pastor. Rev. Stainback was the one to deliver Forrest's eulogy - a powerful speech that testified to God's power but also acknowledged Forrest's journey.

I was so compelled by this incredible story of Forrest's salvation, repentance and amends that I wrote a screenplay about it, seeking at the time to push the idea on some Hollywood connections I had formed via my work in Washington. Ron Maxwell himself dismissed the idea to me, saying many had tried to adapt Forrest's story but couldn't make sense of it. Another producer was worried Hollywood's black community just wouldn't go along, citing Denzel Washington as an unofficial "approver." I received some interest via a studio associated with The History Channel, but nothing panned out. I eventually forgot about the project, and ultimately this incredible story, as life rolled along.

I discovered Rev.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bob on January 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that needed to be written and is definitely one that should be read. Rarely do we get such a delightful combination of historical scholarship and spiritual insight as is provided by the author. It is one of the few books I have read through with barely a pause.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ky. Col. on October 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Nathan Bedford Forest was an American legend. Self-educated businessman, slave trader, excellent and sometime ruthless cavalry commander, early member of the kkk, and ultimately the broken repentant sinner. All of those descriptions fit Forrest. Was he a flawed hero or was he a sometimes admirable villian? Perhaps the real man was somewhat of both.

The author is both a Christian minister and a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans which sets up an interesting perspective to analyze Forrest. The book follows Forrest from his youth (including an incident in which he kills a cougar which attacked his mother) to his early business ventures including eventually his infamous slave dealing. Much of the book deals with the Civil War including an entire chapter on Fort Pillow. The author concludes that Forrest was probably not completely blameless in the massacre but he also likely did not order a premeditated massacre and that the events must be set in context including harassment or atrocities committed by Union forces against local Confederate civilians. After the war Forrest undertook a number of largely unsuccessful business ventures as well as becomming involved with the kkk, very possibly as the grand wizard. However Forrest soon began a remarkable change. He left the klan as it became more violent, he became a devout Christian, and his racial views progressed considerably. Ultimately and ironically one of Forrest's last public speeches was to encourage an African American citizens organization in Memphis. His funeral was to be attendent not only by many whites in memphis but by many blacks as well.
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