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Prince John Magruder: His Life and Campaigns Hardcover – October 16, 1996

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471159414 ISBN-10: 0471159417 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

John Magruder (1807-1871) has a place in history as one of the Confederacy's lesser lights. Found wanting in the initial stages of the fighting in Virginia, he exited that vital theater of the war for an obscure post in Texas. But "Prince John" was more than a table-setter for Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Casdorph (Lee and Jackson: Confederate Chieftains) establishes him in the context of the prewar regular army, where he combined the flamboyant lifestyle that earned him his nickname with a deserved reputation for courage under fire. Magruder was a heavy drinker, however, and during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862, he mishandled his troops on several occasions. Even so, his performance was arguably no worse than those of many of his counterparts. Nevertheless, his assignment to the Trans-Mississippi District was widely regarded as an exile. Casdorph demonstrates that Magruder performed effectively in this lower-stress situation, outfighting and outthinking his opponents until the war ended. He also kept his drinking under control. Casdorph's diligently researched presentation highlights the need for further study of alcohol as a stress manager among senior Civil War officers. And while no biography can make John Magruder into a great military leader, this sturdy life establishes him as a useful one.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Magruder was one of the lesser lights of the American Civil War. He is mentioned in numerous large works, mainly in connection to the Peninsular Campaign, but he has not received the attention that is his due. Casdorph (Lee and Jackson: Confederate Chieftains, Dell, 1993) now gives us a comprehensive biography of the general. Magruder, who was a heavy drinker and very fond of high living (hence his nickname), showed great promise at Big Bethel and in the Peninsular Campaign but was less than satisfactory during the Seven Days Battle. He achieved a mixed record while in command in Arkansas when the war ended. After the Confederacy's collapse, he fled to Mexico briefly. Casdorph offers a compelling portrait of a deeply flawed man. For public libraries.?Robert A. Curtis, Taylor Memorial P.L., Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 16, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471159417
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471159414
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,237,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C-N-G on July 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
You certainly don't need to read this--his role in the war being minor enough to be mentioned offhand in great works like Shelby Foote's The Civil War--but you should. Magruder was a truely unique individual, and has long deserved a spot on history's shelf all his own. From his days at West Point and his subsequent service in the Mexican war, to his time on the penninsula, where his masterful mind tricks kept the Union at bay, and his banishment to Texas, which would be spared the horrors of Total War thanks to him and Kirby Smith, Magruder would earn a unique place in the grand of history, not only of Texas, but of the United States.

The book itself is a short read, written in a clear, concise style--with plenty of maps (useful when covering the attack on Galveston). Paul Casdorph doesn't judge the man for his flaws, nor does he build him into something he's not; no, his retelling of Magruder's life is unbiased and, refreshingly, non-political.
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By William on February 16, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very good book on a man that is not commonly wrote about.
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3 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gary C. Furin on September 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An account in To the Gates of Richmond by Stephen W. Sears (1992) of Prince John's tactics of illusion in the Penisula Campaign led me to seek a biography of Maj. Gen. John Bankhead Magruder. I found only one and was not disappointed: Prince John Magruder by Paul Casdorph (1996). There is not even a listing for him in my World Book encyclopedia. But the author gave a limited account of the important charade which substantially deterred Maj. Gen. George Brinton McClellan and his Federal army in its march toward the Confederate capital of Richmond. Magruder's flair, as descibed by the author, was perhaps unequalled, excepting Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, of course. All in all, Casdorph's attention to detail, based upon exhaustive research, is sure to please fans of this mostly overlooked Confederate general: the hero of the Battle of Galveston, where he fired the first shot. None of which I would have known without reading this marvelous biography.
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Prince John Magruder: His Life and Campaigns
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