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Stonewall: A Biography of General Thomas J. Jackson Paperback – November 17, 1993


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Stonewall: A Biography of General Thomas J. Jackson + Lee + General James Longstreet: The Confederacy's Most Controversial Soldier
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (November 17, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393310868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393310863
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Farwell] gets to the heart of why Jackson is so legitimately fascinating.” (Chicago Tribune)

An exceptionally balanced view of a very complicated man. . . . Farwell lets Jackson emerge from his own words and actions. As a result, Jackson is no less a great figure of the Civil War, but he is equally an imaginable human being. ” (Journal of Military History)

“The finest depiction yet of this shy, enigmatic, and devoutly religious Confederate commander. . . . Mr. Farwell writes with a lucidity and elan that rank him with the likes of Bruce Catton, Shelby Foote, and James McPherson.” (Washington Times)

About the Author

During the Second World War, Byron Farwell (1921–1999) served as a captain of engineers attached to the Mediterranean Allied Air Force in the British Eighth Army area.

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Customer Reviews

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This is one history book every Civil War buff should have!
David Wetherell djwether@globalsite.net
While it is not what I would call an 'easy read', the book is a good source of information nonetheless.
mikeh
It's like one of your favorite movies that you never get tired of.
mercy@msys.net

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Mark Edward Bachmann on October 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting and well-written biography, although not one that I found to be satisfactory on every level. Like John Kennedy and other public figures who died violently at the height of their careers, Stonewall Jackson entered into history in a kind of apotheosis which probably tended to exaggerate his achievements. Aware of the adulatory material that has been written, Byron Farwall is not exactly on a debunking crusade with this book, but he strives so hard for objectivity that readers have to wonder if he errs on the other side and exaggerates the shortcomings of his subject. It's no distortion, of course, to portray Jackson as a quirky personality - the historical record leaves little doubt about that. Like Ulysses Grant, George Pickett, and other military leaders who achieved prominence during the Civil War, Jackson went through West Point with a relatively undistinguished record. A rough country boy with minimal early education, Jackson had to work doubly hard for everything he did accomplish, and he had a reputation for being something of an odd duck and a bumpkin. Two enduring aspects of his nature already apparent at this stage, however, were ambition and a ruthless self-discipline, and he had managed to climb from near the bottom of his class to the top third by the time he graduated. Again like other future Civil War leaders, his first exposure to combat was in the Mexican War, where he was assigned as an artillery officer. He demonstrated a talent for command there, but what marked him more than anything was a utter fearlessness under fire and a hunger to distinguish himself, an objective he accomplished despite what was for Jackson the disappointingly short duration of the war.Read more ›
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Shane Kastler on July 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Biography's of great historical figures are frequently given to exaggeration. Farwell set out to give an account of the "real" Stonewall Jackson, rather than an overly ballyhooed legend. In some respects he did that, painting Jackson as an oddball, eccentric, prude, who bordered on insanity. While the book succeeded in painting Jackson as being more human, I felt the overall tone of the book was far too critical and cynical. It seemed every good thing Jackson did was credited to other soldiers or blind luck...while every bad thing Jackson did was blamed upon his ignorance, stubborness, or lack of sleep. In all honesty, I came away from the book wondering if the author had and "ax to grind" against Stonewall Jackson. Overall the book was well written, and would provide a reality check to those who envison Jackson as being super-human. But just as there are numerous puff pieces on Jackson that make him better than he was...I feel this book to be somewhat of a debunking, which makes Jackson look much worse than he was. In reality, he was somewhere in between. He was a good and godly man who had an uncanny ability to lead men in battle. But he was hard to get along with and a little too bull-headed at times. For a much more accurate view, I would suggest "Stonewall Jackson: The Man, The Soldier, The Legend" By James I. Robertson
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Wetherell djwether@globalsite.net on August 20, 1998
Format: Paperback
I felt I knew a lot about Stonewall Jackson. When I started reading this book I would read parts of the chapters over for all the information. This book is by far the best biography out today. It makes me wish I could go back in time to meet Jackson myself!! You will know all the men who liked and disliked Jackson. This is one history book every Civil War buff should have!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I could not put this book down. Mr. Farwell can certainly write. The Stonewall of his book comes across as a real person, warts and all. Jackson's mistakes are here along with his many victories. The author explodes a few myths, but objectively, and in the end deepens our understanding of the man and the general. There were two nits I did see in the book: The CSS Merrimac (really the Virginia); and the 1862 date for Chancellorsville. But these are minor. Read this book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Farwell's biography is a good comprehensive read of one of the most famous Civil War figures and covers many events in his life.
Among the areas Farwell focuses on include:
1. Early childhood (and rough years they were)
2. West Point years(met many future Civil War generals there).
3. War with Mexico (many instances of bravery).
4. Prewar years at VMI (not well-liked by the cadets).
5. Marriages and family life (tragic yet happy years).
6. Religious faith (strong Christian).
7. Early Civil War service (mainly successful)
8. Emergence as a brilliant general (2nd Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, etc.).
While Farwell is sympathetic to his subject, he pulls no punches when describing Jackson's weaknesses (uncommunicative to fellow generals, willingness to hold on to grudges, sometimes cold-hearted).
All in all, a fair and objective biography of a brilliant leader.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Pritchett on February 25, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Other reviewers have said just about all you need to know about this book, so I'll give my rating and a bullet list of my pros and cons

Pros:
Lots of well researched information
well written
Adequate number of maps

Cons:
Overly critical of the man in an attempt at objectivity
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