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A Stillness at Appomattox (Army of the Potomac, Vol. 3) Reissue Edition
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This is the story of the last campaign of the Army of the Potomac, that Ill-fated army that had so often been humiliated by Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia. This campaign was to be different however because there was a new man calling the shots and having a man like U. S. Grant at the helm made all of the difference in the world. It took Grant a while though to convince this often badly led army that he was any different than his predecessors. Different he was however and once he locked horns with Lee he wasn't going to let up until one army or the other was destroyed. In other words Grant understood what had to be done and he was determined to do it.
Catton's main field of study was this man Grant but one of the author's most endearing qualities is that he makes no effort to whitewash or hide his subject's faults.Read more ›
Magnificent works all, but in a class by himself is Bruce Catton.
I recall my father raving about Catton; "When you read him, it's like you're there," he said. Unfortunately, I wasn't so quick to take his advice. Then, in 2000, I saw David McCullough on C-Span 2 and he raved about "A Stillness at Appomattox." Then, I decided to give it a try.
Lucky for me. I've read many accounts regarding the last agonizing year of the war, but none has matched Catton for sheer storytelling power. One marches with the Army of the Potomac as it seeks out Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. You witness and somehow, almost take part as these, the war's two military giants, Grant and Lee collide. You see the mistakes and agonize with the men yet, you always stand in awe of the everyday valor these heroes of the Blue and the Gray make. But despite battlefield blunders and poor leadership, draftees who are more likely to desert than face the enemy, the men of the Army of the Potomac never lose their faith in themselves and it is this spirit that drives the Army to ultimate victory.
Words fail me to describe how awesome this book is. I thought it would have aged badly, but it hasn't. It's truly a timeless work. This book, along with Mr. Lincoln's Army and Glory Road constitute the greatest tribute to the men of the Army of the Potomac and in a way, the Army of Northern Virginia as well.
Catton's book tells the story of the Civil War in the East beginning in the winter of 1863 following the Battle of Gettysburg. The first thing to notice about the book is the clear, lyrical quality of the prose which somehow frustrated me as a child. Catton writes in a propulsive forward-moving style. He tends to like long sentences joined with series of "ands". This makes his account move quickly although sometimes a bit stringily. Also Catton has a gift for lyrical metaphors to drive home his points -- whether in describing the fields or in describing the emotions of the men. His writing at its best has a poetical, moving quality. Most importantly, Catton writes lucidly. His descriptions of the battles and of troop movements are relatively easy to follow. Many of the accounts I have read since I first tried this book are detailed and ponderous. This is never the case with Catton. He gives a good, basic picture of the battles he describes which will stand the reader looking for more detailed accounts in good stead.
Besides the quality of the writing, A Stillness at Appomattox is notable for the story it has to tell.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice transition from Vol 2. Right amount of detail of major battles without too much detail. Good explanation of the Copperheads and the harm they did. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Oldshep
This is the first book of a trilogy by author Bruce Catton about the Civil War exploits of the Army of the Potomac. Read morePublished 29 days ago by dave ferree
This is a well written story of the Army of the Potomac. It is by far the fairest treatment of the Soldiers and their Generals that I have encountered. Read morePublished 1 month ago by down to cases
The best single account of the last year of the Civil War. ties together and puts everything into context - Shenandoah Valley campaigns of 1864, the presidential election in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jasphil
This is the first book by Catton I have read and I have to say that he is a brilliant writer. He takes you inside the participants heads and you feel like you are there with them. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ben Hando
Exceptionally well written in terms of readability and factual content. Reads like a novel but with a high level of historical background. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ed Napolitano