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The Civil War Generals: Comrades, Peers, Rivals-In Their Own Words Hardcover – November 15, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Zenith Press (November 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760345163
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760345160
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Drawing from memoirs, diaries, letters and interviews, Robert Girardi offers a nuanced portrait of more than 400 generals and an occasional admiral and commander in chief, in the views of those who fought alongside and against them. You'll probably start by flipping to his entries on your favorites, but end up, as I did, reading from cover to cover." - Civil War Times

"In summary, Girardi's book is an excellent contribution to Civil War literature. The work lends itself to either being read straight through or reading quotes at random. The book will also serve as an excellent reference resource. Civil War buffs in particular will greatly enjoy this book." -

"The Civil War Generals is a fantastic addition to the libraries of Civil War scholars and casual readers alike. It offers an easy, one-volume, cross reference guide of the reputations, warts and all, of the generals who waged war with and against each other from 1861 to 1865." -

"Girardi provides an insightful look at 400 American Civil War generals as viewed by their contemporaries and prominent historical figures. While some of those profiled are well known, others are not, and the length of the entries reflects this. The text is divided into two sections, the Union and the Confederacy, and the generals are listed in alphabetical order. It might have been better advised to give Grant and Lee a separate section or to have put their entries at the top of their respective sections and perhaps have presented the better-known generals individually as well, rather than forcing readers to page through the book for the information they need. Included are 100 photographs of the generals that, along with the quotes, help to paint a more detailed picture of who these men were. Three excellent appendixes feature a list of the battles and generals involved, a general battle map and four battle-specific maps, and a "Contributors" listing indicating the source of the quotes. ­VERDICT A useful and easy-to-read resource for history buffs and general readers." - Library Journal

From the Author

The Civil War Generals is a unique look at more than 400 of the Union and Confederate generals who led the armies of the Civil War. Here, in their own words, are their impressions and assessments of each other. Whether they loved or hated each other, the generals were not shy about expressing their opinions of one another. The result is a multi-dimensional view of many of the war's most famous, and most obscure leaders. It is both fun to read as well as being a handy reference for those seeking to learn about the personalities of these men.

In compiling these quotations, I endeavored to provide the reader and researcher with some basic information about both the source and subject of the quotes. In every instance, I have provided the source and page number of the quotation. I wanted to make it easy for anyone seeking to read the full context to do so. More serious students will want to utilize the many splendid archival holdings of Civil War materials; for them, I hope this book will be a well-thumbed reference tool.

More About the Author

Robert I. Girardi has had a life long fascination with the Civil War. He has studied the war from all sides, and has tramped over many of the battlefields and related historic sites. He has collected artifacts and memorabilia and has read through thousands of documents and letters written by the war's participants. Robert is an author and historian and is a popular speaker and consultant on the American Civil War to audiences of all ages. He has addressed historical societies, libraries, and Civil War groups all over the United States. He is a well known authority on the subject in the Chicago area, where he has been interviewed on radio,television and in The Chicago Tribune.

Robert earned his M.A. in Public History at Loyola University of Chicago in 1991. He is a past president of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago and he belongs to three other Civil War round tables in the Chicago area. He is a fellow of the Company of Military Historians and is an associate member of the Sons of Union Veterans. He is on the Board of Directors of the Camp Douglas Restoration Society and the Illinois State Historical Society. He is also on the editorial review board of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, for which he edited 2011-2014 Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Issues. He has consulted for the Chicago Historical Society on its Civil War exhibits, and lectured at its teachers and docents seminars. He is the 2010 recipient of the Chicago Civil War Round Table's Nevins-Freeman Award for scholarship and service. In 2013 he was awarded a research grant by the Friends of Andersonville, for his work on the experience and memory of Illinois soldiers at Andersonville prison. In 2014 he was awarded the Milwaukee Civil War Round Table's Iron Brigade Association for Civil War scholarship.

Robert I. Girardi has authored or edited ten books:

The Soldiers' General: Major General Gouverneur K. Warren and the Civil War, Savas-Beatie, (2014)

The Civil War Generals: Comrades, Peers, Rivals, in Their Own Words, Zenith Press (2013)

Gettysburg in Art and Artifacts (2010)

The Civil War Art of Keith Rocco (2009)

Campaigning with Uncle Billy: The Civil War Memoirs of Sgt. Lyman S. Widney, 34th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (2008)

The Soldier's View: The Civil War Art of Keith Rocco (2004)

The New Annals of the Civil War (2004)

The Memoirs of Brigadier General William Passmore Carlin, U.S.A. (1999)

The Military Memoirs of General John Pope (1998)

Captain H.W. Chester: Recollections of the War of the Rebellion. (1996)

Robert has also written a number of book reviews for the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Robert I. Girardi lives and works in Chicago where he is employed as a homicide detective by the Chicago Police Department.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
I can't remember when I've enjoyed a Civil War book as much as I enjoyed THE CIVIL WAR GENERALS.
Michael OConnor
Snapshot photographs accompany most of the generals and aid in their recognition and there are maps and a detailed bibliography in the appendices.
Battlefield Balladeers
The remainder of each entry provides quotes of what other notable historical figures of the era had to say about the subject.
James D. Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Robert Girardi's THE CIVIL WAR GENERALS; COMRADES, PEERS, RIVALS - IN THEIR OWN WORDS takes a rather unique slant on Union and Southern generals and the result is one fascinating book.

Utilizing over 170 memoirs, diaries and letters, Girardi presents the inner feelings of various officers and civilians towards fellow Blue or Grey brass. One-hundred-and-sixty-seven pages are devoted to Union generals; 66 pages to their CSA counterparts. While it's interesting to read what people actually thought of U. S. Grant, John Fremont, Oliver Howard, Irvin McDowell, Braxton Bragg, Philip Sheridan, Patrick Cleburne, Herman Haupt, David Farragut, Leonidas Polk, James Longstreet and others, what's most fascinating is when a number of commentaries are given for one individual. Those varying viewpoints help create a multi-dimensional picture of that particular general whether it be Robert E. Lee, George Custer or George Meade.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book deal with Stonewall Jackson ("such a dry old stick") and George Custer ("looks like a circus rider gone mad").

I can't remember when I've enjoyed a Civil War book as much as I enjoyed THE CIVIL WAR GENERALS. It offers unvarnished, warts-and-all appraisals of over 400 generals by men who served with or under them. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Do you ever wonder what your friends, peers, rivals or your sworn enemies think about you? It is not an uncommon question of curiosity. Sometimes it can take years or even decades to find out such information. More often than not we go to our graves not knowing what many people thought of us.

Through contemporary newspaper articles, post-war memoirs and journal articles many generals who survived the fiery trial of the American Civil War discovered how great or poor their reputations were, but these public writings are only the tip of the humility iceberg. Most would die before collections of correspondence and diaries would be published with the whole unvarnished truth of what their friends and enemies said about them.

Do you think Major Daniel E. Sickles would care if he learned that Alpheus Williams said that he was “a hero without an heroic deed?” How would Confederate General John Bell Hood have done if he had known that Union Major General William T. Sherman thought “he is reckless of the lives of his men?” Would Major General George B. McClellan’s head swell with pride if he learned that George Armstrong Custer said he “would forsake everything and follow him to ends of the earth?”

Nearly one hundred and fifty years have passed since the guns fell silent over the battlefields of the Civil War. Both academically trained and amateur historians are still sifting through the voluminous detritus of the war in archives and libraries all across the country to reconstitute and reshape our historical past.

Historian, Robert I. Girardi, earned his Masters of Arts degree in Public History at Loyola University of Chicago in 1991, and has authored or edited ten books.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Battlefield Balladeers on October 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This very attractive book provides the Civil War History enthusiast with a valuable reference resource. The comments on the generals by their contemporaries are divided between complimentary and condemnatory and illustrate the hazards of being in a position of power in the back-biting world of the military.
Snapshot photographs accompany most of the generals and aid in their recognition and there are maps and a detailed bibliography in the appendices.
Sadly there is a dearth of Confederate entries ( not author Girardi's fault but of their fellow Confederates), but this is perhaps offset by the inclusion of seldom-recognized, more obscure Federal generals .
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