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Stonewall Jackson : The Man, the Soldier, the Legend Paperback – January, 1999

135 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

A distinguished Civil War historian unravels the complex character of the Confederacy's greatest general. Drawing on previously untapped manuscript sources, the author refutes such long-standing myths as Stonewall Jackson's obsessive eating of lemons and gives a three-dimensional account of the profound religious faith frequently caricatured as grim Calvinism. Though the author capably covers the battles that made Jackson a legend--Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, etc.--he emphasizes "the life story of an extraordinary man." The result is a biography that will fascinate even those allergic to military history. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Robertson (Jackson & Lee, Rutledge Hill, 1995) has put together an exhaustive account of the life of Stonewall Jackson from his early years as an orphan until his death after being accidentally shot by his own troops. Robertson describes Jackson as "a man of arms surrounded by the tenets of faith," and so he was. He was a devout, reticent man who surrendered himself to the will of God. Even the deaths of his first wife and his children and his own agonizingly slow death didn't shake his faith. Yet he was also a great military strategist and stern disciplinarian who inspired great loyalty in his troops. Lee considered him his best general and was shaken by his death. Extensively researched and well written, this compares well with Byron Farwell's masterly Stonewall: A Biography (LJ 9/1/92). Recommended for Civil War and American history collections.?Judy R. Reis, Cochise Cty. Lib. Dist., Bisbee, Ariz.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 950 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Library Reference; 1st Paperback Edition edition (January 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0028650646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0028650647
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is perhaps the finest work I have ever read on a single individual. The book itself is remarkable both for the amount of detail and for the care with which it is documented. Robertson debunks many previous Jackson myths, and seems to be able to explore the mind of the man with comfortable ease. You get the sense that he actually was aquainted with the great man. The story of Jackson is quite thorough, presenting not only Jackson the Confederate general, but also Jackson the schoolboy, the teacher, and the devout Presbyterian. Even without the Civil War sections, this book would still be fascinating reading, especially the years in which he taught at VMI. The Civil War years are chronicled well, but be warned, this is a book about Jackson, and covers only those engagements in which he had direct influence. This is not as distracting as it sounds, and in fact is somewhat practical, as it presents the battle from Jackson's front. The book is rather lengthy, but not monotonous, and it reads very well. The end is especially heartbreaking and emotional, and summarizes well the life of a remarkable man and his tragic death
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By todd j monroe on June 25, 2004
Format: Hardcover
One of the few accurate reads about this great American hero. "Old Jack," an orphan, grew up in Jackson Mills, the home and business of his uncle. What many would have used as an excuse for failure (orphaned, poor, very little standardized education, no gov't breast to succour, etc.), motivated "Old Jack" to make something of himself. Jackson worked hard to get an appointment to West Point, one of the greatest Engineering schools of its time. While at West Point, Jackson had to work twice as hard as his classmates often staying up into the early morning hours memorizing his previous day's lesson. Though he often struggled, his hard work and determination paid off. Jackson had great discipline. Recognized in the Mexican War for always following orders and never losing his cool. Although, he is often criticized for his ability to teach at VMI, a few things have to be mentioned. I have never known anyone personally nor heard of anyone who ever said they had it easy learning Physics. I am sure most student generated complaints concerning Jackson's teaching methods, etc. were mostly because: one, it was a hard class, and two, it required one's undivided attention. Secondly, if the faculty had concerns, they (their concerns) never amounted to much. The Civil War is often said where Jackson blossomed. I disagree. Jackson's greatness originated from inside. Nearly always, men are great because they are great men no matter what the outside circumstances and I believe this is the case with "Old Jack." The Civil War simply provided the theatre for Jackson to display his greatness. Jackson is one of the World's greatest military strategists. He is still studied across the world today. His movements were done with speed and stealth often moving nearly half of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Thomas J. Jackson is great example for all. Although, it has many pages it flows very well.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Candace Scott on February 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
James Robertson has produced the definitive look at Jackson, and unearthed some new material in the process. I was especially pleased that he focused on Jackson's private life, and he writes with particular finesse about Jackson's first marriage and the effect her early death had upon Stonewall's psyche. Equally interesting are the unintentionally hilarious stories of Jackson as a teacher at VMI and what a truly horrific instructor he was: boring, pedantic and one who droned on insufferably during lectures.
Robertson's thorough grasp of Jackson's military role in the civil war is exhaustively examined. The only criticism is that the book verges on hagiography, and little questionable or negative material appears in the book. Jackson's generalship should have been more critically examined, instead of making excuses for his mistakes in judgment and execution. Jackson's sometime troubled relationships with subordinates is also glossed over, or the advantage invariably given to Stonewall. Still, this biography is so readable and well-written that its faults are easily overlooked.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By JIM SHIVE on November 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
James Robertson has written an extensively researched life of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, acknowledged as one of the finest military tacticians of the Civil War on either side. He covers Jackson's ancestry, childhood, West Point career, early military service during the Mexican War and afterwards, his tenure at the Virginia Military Institute, his family life, and his Civil War service in the Shenandoah Valley, the Seven Day's Campaign, and in Northern Virginia/Antietam. He includes a short epilogue which discusses the conclusion of the War after Jackson's death at Chancellorsville, his legacy, and the subsequent lives of his family and fellow Confederates after the surrender at Appomattox.

Throughout the book, Robertson devotes much attention to Jackson's strong Christian faith both in his beliefs and in his actions. Some other reviewers have found fault with this emphasis but given the predominance of his faith in his daily life, Jackson's religious beliefs could no more be ignored than could an author ignore anti-semitism in a life of Hitler. Jackson's faith was not an ASPECT of his life, in many ways it WAS his life and everything else he did was incidental to his faith.

Contrary to some others, I don't think Robertson has glorified Jackson at all. Although a pious man and a military genius, all of Jackson's many shortcomings as a man and as a commander are brought out in the book. Jackson was a hypochondriac, a contentious subordinate, an incredibly boring and ineffective teacher and a man who saw everything in stark black and white.
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