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Shrouds of Glory: From Atlanta to Nashville: The Last Great Campaign of the Civil War Paperback – July 1, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Focusing on the Confederate side, Groom traces their last offensive campaign to push the Union forces out of the South.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Arguably the most interesting campaign of the Civil War is Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood's quixotic invasion of Tennessee in the war's final months. The story is retold here by Groom, author of Forrest Gump (LJ 3/1/86) and coauthor with Duncan Spencer of Conversations with the Enemy: The Story of PFC Robert Garwood (LJ 7/83). Despite the promising conjunction of author and subject, the product is a bit disappointing. The first half is more a collective biography of the commanders than a narrative of the campaign; since they were mostly in the western theater throughout the war, it reads like a fast-forward history of those events. When the narrative finally begins, Groom is strongest on command decisions, particularly on the Confederate side. The book of choice on this subject remains Wiley Sword's Embrace an Angry Wind: The Confederacy's Last Hurrah (LJ 1/92).?Fritz Buckallew, Univ. of Central Oklahoma Lib., Edmond
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket; First Edition edition (July 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671562509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671562502
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,517,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In hindsight, it is clear that the Confederacy made a major error giving command of their Army of Tennessee to General John Bell Hood. He was excellent at division command. There is some question about his ability at Corps command (note his hesitation at a critical moment during Joe Johnston's retreat toward Atlanta, with Sherman pressing his army). This book, most literately written by the author of "Forrest Gump" and other novels, depicts the leadup to and campaign toward Nashville. This was the last major offensive effort by Southern forces--and it was a disaster, in effect destroying one of the two great armies of the Confederacy.

The author, Winston Groom, begins by noting (Page 3): "[This story] is about the last big Confederate campaign of the Civil War--the trek of the Armey of Tennessee from Atlanta to Nashville. . . ." The book traces the movement by Sherman, with three component armies (Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland) against Joe Johnston's forces. Slowly, Johnston gave ground, until his forces were pushed back to Atlanta itself. In part because of Hood's intriguing, Johnston was removed, to be replaced by Hood. Hood himself is an intriguing figure, and this book captures his persona (including his ill-fated courtship of Sally Preston).

We see his forces being used to try to save Atlanta, but--ultimately--defeated by Sherman. Then, his retrograde movement and his ultimate decision to take the offensive toward Nashville, hoping to turn the fortunes of the Confederacy around. His advance and the coalescing of a scratch force made up of many disparate forces under Union General George Thomas is well told. The near great victory at Spring Hill (and speculation as to what went wrong) and its ghastly consequence at Franklin are related.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Carroll on March 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a high school history teacher and Civil War Buff, I am always looking for ways to bring the deeds and accomplishments of history to life for an audience with open hostility for the topic. This book accomplishes this next-to-impossible task. Groom writes with the prose of a novelist (no surprise), the research of a scholar (surprise)and a genuine love for and interest in the subject matter. One of the most fascinating non-fiction books I have even read, complete with excellent maps and interesting photographs.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bill Newcomer on May 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Shrouds of Glory does an efficent job of laying out John Bell Hood's last hurrah at a little known, but crucial battle of the Civil War. What may not be so well known is that the Battle of Nashville in December of 1864 was also the vindication of the Union General George "Pap" Thomas, (who by the way was originally from Virginia).
Linclon & Grant had their doubts about Thomas's waiting game at Nashville. The orders to relieve him of command were on the the way when Thomas unleashed the Union attack and the resulting disaster to the Confederate Army of Tennesee vindicated his patience. Sherman said the Battle of Nashville was the only battle of the Civil War where a whole army ceased to exist after the fight.
If Hood was desperate to make a break through, and he was, as Groom has laid out. Thomas was just as determined to close the door once and for all. I appreciated how this book laid out the events leading up to that battle.
Just as a side note, one of the Union regiments at Nashville was the Ohio 182nd Infantry. In that regiment was my great-grandfather, Sgt. George Debolt Newcomer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be an excellent and well-crafted story of the bitterly-fought Tennessee campaign and in particular, the gruesome fight at Franklin, which was a truely tragic battle. The horrendous casualties, the poor leadership on Hood's behalf, the valiant but futile assaults by his veteran troops, the relentless and devastating firepower that was unleashed upon his men, which would have stopped most other troops in their tracks, is detailed in a superb fashion. The text was easy to follow and the maps were top notch. I feel that this small, but extremely bloody battle has greatly been overlooked and often only mentioned in passing by other historians. I highly recommend this well-researched book to anyone wanting to understand what happened to the Army of Tennessee during this phase of the war. I think the handling of a truely great and courageous officer, Patrick Cleburne, was sad, fitting and interesting. Excellent reading.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thomas R. Fasulo on March 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a easy-to-read book on the final major campaign in the West, then this might be it. But if you are interested in knowing the true history of that campaign, then search elsewhere. "Shrouds of Glory" is another convincing argument that good novelists do not always make good historians. This book has so many small errors that eventually I learned to ignore them and just concentrate on enjoying the book. One of the problems is that Winston Groom provides no citations for any of the statements he makes. So you can't go to references to see why he said what he said. Just one example, if asked who the "victor of Vicksburg" was, most people (and certainly most historians) would reply General U.S. Grant. But for Groom, that title belongs to General W.T. Sherman for some reason. Probably because Grant didn't figure as strongly in his book as Sherman did.

Groom lists many of the books he used as material for his book. However, I received the impression that he read (or scanned) those books, then sat down and wrote a story based on them, but did not see the need to research related facts that supported his prose. As such, I was continually asking myself, "Where did he come up with that?" until, as I said above, I just ignored the numerous errors and sat down to enjoy the book. This is a shame, as well-written, easy-to-read books on the War of Rebellion (As Lincoln called it.) are necessary to lure the general public to read about events that shaped our nation. With a little more effort, Groom probably could have done it.
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