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That devil Forrest;: Life of General Nathan Bedford Forrest Hardcover – 1959


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 614 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Brothers (1959)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007DK5AK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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I read 3-4 Civil War books per year on my lunch hours & this book was fantastic.
Buccofan
A self made millionaire, most definitely an entrepreneur by today's standards, he was a maverick in every facet of his life.
Michael E. Fitzgerald
If you havent read this book your knowledge of Nathan Bedford Forrest is incomplete.
Dale Roberts

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Fitzgerald on August 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Nathan Bedford Forrest was one interesting character. A self made millionaire, most definitely an entrepreneur by today's standards, he was a maverick in every facet of his life. Shelby Foote called him the only genius, other than Abraham Lincoln, that the Civil War produced: High praise indeed.
It is easy, with the benefit of hindsight, to paint him with the brush of evil and dismiss him. Slave trader, first Grand Dragon of the Klu Klux Klan, the Ft. Pillow massacre, these are not the calling cards of sainthood. But if we try to view life as he saw it, if we can empathize with him enough to where we can react to his environment, during his times and with his skill set, then maybe we can come close to understanding Mr. Foot's comment.
The Southern High Command did not develop senior generals well. They anointed 8 at the start of hostilities. Without exception, those that weren't killed or injured were still in charge of things at the end of the war. Forrest was one of the few who earned the right to fill the ranks of those who fell.
Independent, devoted to the cause and goal driven he pounds his way to the top. One of his key adversaries, William Tecumseh Sherman, gives him his finest accolade with the words 'that Devil Forrest'. He is a tenacious fighter and good at his job. Judge for yourself, but no one on either side fought under greater hardship, with fewer resources, while amassing a string of truly pivotal victories than he did. No Lost Cause apologia here, Forrest is the genuine article, a true Confederate war hero. You may not wind up liking him but you will wind up respecting him.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Weegee on February 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I'm torn on this review. I'm a new student to the ACW, but new enough to still know that NBF is one of the more intriquing characters of the war. I thought I did my research well and picked the right book to read about him by choosing "That Devil Forrest."
Well, I'm a little disappointed. Not because the book is bad, but more because it wasn't what I quite expected and mostly because I read it out of place (more later on this). The focus is 95% on the military side, which is not all bad. After all, that's what makes him the wizard of the saddle. But the problem is I found the account very dry at times. Much of it is rehashing Official Records and what others have said in their memoirs. I never got the feeling of being there, in the middle of the battle, with bullets zipping by my ear. The only way I can describe it is a very nuts and bolts reading of what troops went where and what troops did what, with a little bit of prose thrown in. Certain chapters are handled better than others, but from time to time I found myself drifting away from engagement to engagement because there wasn't much to make it unique.
Now, I realize not every one can write like Catton or Foote, but considering Wyeth did ride in Forrest's cavalry, I was hoping for a little more from that POV.
As far as the details of the engagements, they are extremely well done. Clearly you will walk away from this book understanding how many casualties he infliced, what companies and who their leaders were who rode on particular missions, etc. It is truly a micro history and if you are unfamiliar with the bigger battles that may have intiated NBF's specific participation (i.e. Shiloh, Murfressboro, etc.) you might get a little lost in the details.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book, written by a Civil War veteran, gives great insight into one of the most interesting military commanders ever. It should appeal to anyone with an interest in the effects a strong personality can have on history. Forrest's ability to quickly assess a difficult situation and act efficiently and dramatically is astounding. Also of great interest is the extremely difficult circumstances endured by soldiers and civilians alike during this terrible period. While the book is written by a Southerner, the author's perspective is one of a diligent historian and deals frankly with the controversies that surrounded General Forrest. Anyone who reads this book should find their time extremely well spent.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Potter on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the first Civil War books I've read. It's hard to imagine I'll ever find a more thrilling one! Forrest is a hero beyond compare. It's amazing how Wyeth's dry, barebones delivery so clearly lets one read the amazing human spirit between the lines. These bare facts alone tell a tale more thrilling than any I've come across to date. Of course, sometimes our good doctor tips his hand with feeling and fervor about honor and good work, but he never seems biased, nor overloading our hero with praise. He relies heavily on clippings of official reports from both sides. I would say the Northern leadership appreciated him more than the Southern leaders. The "unlettered soldier" sure seems to have been screwed over by the old boy's network many times in response to his victories and saves. There's frustration, but also a sufficiency of comeuppance and a steady faith in virtue as its own reward. Forrest's occasion for nearly throttling Bragg was unforgettable: "If you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my path it will be at the peril of your life." Forrest was big, strong, scary and his men loved him. He raised multiple armies from nothing and equiped them by way of victory, only to have them taken away, re-officered and such. He was quick to temper and just as quick to apologize if need be. God's own democrat, as they say. A rare general who fought at the front every time. Killed 30 himself. An early innovator in guerilla war. Used flying batteries at the front. Used rumor and deception. He did much of his own reconnaisance behind the lines. When charged, he never took a charge but charged back, saying he believed a charging man was worth 3 standing.Read more ›
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