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Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory (Gettysburg) Mass Market Paperback


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Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory (Gettysburg) + Grant Comes East + Gettysburg: A Novel of the Civil War
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Product Details

  • Series: Gettysburg
  • Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312949316
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312949310
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"With each book in their ongoing alternate history cycle, Gingrich and Forstchen have gone from strength to strength as storytellers."--William Trotter, The Charlotte Observer
 
"The authors' research is impeccable…the reader is left believing it could really have happened this way."--Booklist

From the Back Cover

The New York Times bestselling authors of Gettysburg continue their inventive series with this remarkable answer to the great "what-if" of the American Civil War: 
 
Could the South have won?
After his great victories at Gettysburg and Union Mills, General Robert E. Lee's attempt to bring the war to an end by attacking Washington, D.C., fails. However, in securing Washington, the remnants of the valiant Union Army of the Potomac are trapped and destroyed. For Lincoln, there is only one hope left, that General Ulysses S. Grant can save the Union cause. 
NEVER CALL RETREAT
 
It is August 22, 1863. Pursuing the Union troops up to the banks of the Susquehanna, Lee is caught off balance when news arrives that Grant, in command of over seventy thousand men, has crossed that same river. The two armies finally collide in Central Maryland and a bloody weeklong battle ensues along the banks of Monocacy Creek. This must be the "final" battle for both sides.
"With each book in their ongoing alternate history cycle, Gingrich and Forstchen have gone from strength to strength as storytellers."--William Trotter, The Charlotte Observer
 
"The authors' research is impeccable…the reader is left believing it could really have happened this way."--Booklist
 

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Customer Reviews

This is a very readable book.
James Abbey
I love novelized history, particularly the stories that are not dependant on alternate events to alter the real story.
PatrickinPA
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys alt. history and the civil war.
John R. Johnson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Surface to Air Missle VINE VOICE on July 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
Never Call Retreat is the third and final book of an alternative Civil War history, co-authored by Newt Gringrich and William Forstchen. This book continues the exciting and well thought out trilogy that is the new pinnacle for the small but growing mini-genre of Civil War fiction.

The book continues in the exact same style as its predecessors, accentuating character relationships between the top generals of both sides (Lee, Grant, Longstreet, President Lincoln, etc). We also get the standard two or three other characters from both sides who are given major chapter time and are interesting everyday characters who are caught up in the action. The other major strength of the book is the fictional tactical moves both sides make and the description of the action. You can tell a lot of homework was done prior to this series.

Overall this was a fantastic series and I enjoyed equally as much as Shaara's series even though it's tough to compare since one is alternative history while the other is a fictional account of actual events. Most importantly, Gingrich and Forstchen clearly have a love and respect for the history of the Civil War and it shows through in the actions and stoicism of his characters and setting. They create the awe and grandeur that is associated with great Civil War media and they are clearly fanatical about all the major characters.

Bottom Line: Obviously should not be read without reading the prior two. A fantastic conclusion to the series.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alan F. Sewell on August 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
NEVER CALL RETREAT is the concluding novel of Newt Gringrich and William Forstchen's trilogy about an AH timeline in which Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia effectively destroys the Union's Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg.

The historical question NEVER CALL RETREAT addresses is whether or not a great Confederate tactical victory at Gettysburg would have been a strategic victory of sufficient magnitude to enable the Confederate States to win the Civil War. Gingrich and Forstchen answer: "Not necessarily." After all, the North still has a huge superiority in population and resources, and in the aftermath of the Gettysburg defeat Union General U.S. Grant has been summoned from the West to take command of the Eastern Theater a year earlier than he otherwise would have been.

If there is a weakness in the book, it is lack of attention to the political realities of the war. The rout of the Union Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg would have had a shock value many times more intense than the Tet Offensive did in Vietnam. Could the North, already tiring of the war, have possibly maintained the political will to continue it in the aftermath of a debacle at Gettysburg? Gingrich and Forstchen do not address this political reality.

Nevertheless, NEVER CALL RETREAT is an excellent read not only because it addresses some of the AH issues of a Confederate victory at Gettysburg, but also because it is well researched and written. Even if you don't agree with all the AH extrapolations you will find it to be thought-provoking and entertaining.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andariel Halo on December 16, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
William R. Forstchen and Newt Gingrich continue and end the marvelous Civil War alternate-history trilogy in the same style and sensitivity shown in the previous two volumes. As with the previous two, battle scenes can sometimes be compared to a Steven Pressfield novel, and the emotion and drama is more potent and straining than the previous two novels.

After all but destroying the remnants of the Army of the Potomac along Gunpowder River, Lee is alerted to the Army of Susquehanna under Grant moving from Pennsylvania and attempting to enter Virginia. Rapid maneuvering brings the Army of Northern Virginia to cut them off near Frederick, Maryland, more specifically on the banks of Monocacy Creek.

What transpires is a week-long battle that would make the two month earlier battle of Gettysburg-Union Mills look like a bloody skirmish.

Several well-known American heroes end up dying in the battle who would not have in real history, and others surviving, but each one is done in a surprising, never needless manner. George Armstrong Custer sacrifices his life to seeing the bridges over Monocacy Creek destroyed, severing the Confederate's chance to storm into Frederick unopposed.

While the battle is unfolding, many obstacles stand in the path of a clear victory for Lee, including an unknown saboteur sabotaging locomotives outside of Baltimore, needed to rush the Army of Northern Virginia to Frederick, as well as the removal of the Washington Garrison, now commanded by Winfield Scott Hancock, to march along the Potomac and secure the river to prevent Lee from escaping into Virginia, and the remaining 10,000 of the Army of the Potomac snatching back Baltimore while Lee is fully engaged at Monocacy Creek.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Lee on April 22, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the sort of review that I didn't anticipate writing for a Civil War series that I had immensely enjoyed -- up to book three. I rate it a "2," not for it polish -- the prose and the skill of the authors for writing military action and characters are in fact high. My problem is with the way the story is developed and concluded.

Interestingly, I found my copy going for clearance in a used book store when the book was still in the stores. After I had read it, I realized why someone who might have enjoyed the first two books would have wanted to have it out of his house on the double quick, despite his investment in its price.

I'm not spoiling anything when I say that this is a book about how if Lee had won the Gettysburg campaign it would only have led to disaster, since Gingrich is determined to have him bungle away the chance he's given the South for a political victory -- a victory that would have come through a morale collapse on the Union side. That Lee would have done that is not impossible, but that he would have is probably less likely than that a stray cannonball would have taken out General Grant (or even Lincoln during the siege of Washington, where Gingrich has him carelessly exposing himself).

Having read a great deal of Civil War history and I don't fault the book (as some reviewers do) for purported military errors. The action seems plausible enough to me. It is something else, the peculiar ideas behind the book, that bothers me. What was Gingrich trying to say is stunningly simpleminded -- that the best victory can be spoiled if it is followed up by a wrongheaded determination to do absolutely nothing right. While Lee and Davis are acting clownishly incompetent, Gingrich endows Grant and Lincoln with incisiveness and clear-headed insights.
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