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The Smoke at Dawn: A Novel of the Civil War (Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater series Book 3) Kindle Edition

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Length: 546 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Shaara’s third installment of a four-volume set, taking place in the often neglected western theater of the Civil War, continues to shine a light on a number of the grittiest campaigns and battles of that horrendous conflict. The dramatic events taking place around Chattanooga in the fall of 1863 are chronicled through the eyes of both historical and fictional characters involved in the planning and execution of a series of pivotal martial maneuvers. Under siege at Chattanooga, several Federal armies under the brilliant leadership of the recently promoted Ulysses S. Grant combine in an effort to break the Confederate stranglehold on their critical supply lines, as the fates of both the Union and the Confederacy hang in the balance. Shaara’s mastery of military tactics, his intimate grasp of history, and his ability to interweave several supporting narratives into a cohesive and digestible whole as he revisits a catastrophic period in U.S. history will appeal to a broad range of historical- and military-fiction fans. --Margaret Flanagan


Praise for Jeff Shaara’s new Civil War series

The Smoke at Dawn
The Smoke at Dawn is a beautifully written novel about a battle usually ignored. The historical details and the personal examinations fuse perfectly—with the raw power of the battle meshed hand-in-hand with the inner struggle of the men who determine the fates of others and of nations. Shaara once again elevates history from mere rote fact to explosive and engaging drama.”Bookreporter
“Shaara’s mastery of military tactics, his intimate grasp of history, and his ability to interweave several supporting narratives into a cohesive and digestible whole as he revisits a catastrophic period in U.S. history will appeal to a broad range of historical- and military-fiction fans.”Booklist
“Blending historical detail with vivid depictions of battle, Jeff Shaara immerses readers in the world of commanders and common soldiers, civilians and statesmen. . . . The Smoke at Dawn vividly recreates the climactic months of the war in the West, when the fate of a divided nation truly hangs in the balance.”Huntington News

A Blaze of Glory
“Brilliant . . . riveting . . . a work to be embraced.”Bookreporter
“[An] exciting read . . . This novel is meticulously researched and brings a vivid reality to the historical events depicted.”Library Journal
“Dynamic portrayals [of] Johnston, Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.”—The Wall Street Journal
A Chain of Thunder
“[A] riveting fictional narrative.”Booklist
“Shaara continues to draw powerful novels from the bloody history of the Civil War. . . . [He] aptly reveals the main actors: Grant, stoic, driven, not given to micromanagement; Sherman, anxious, high-strung, engaged even when doubting Grant’s strategy. . . . Worth a Civil War buff’s attention.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Shaara’s historical accuracy is faultless, and he tells a good story. . . . The voices of these people come across to the reader as poignantly clear as they did 150 years ago.”—Historical Novels Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 5923 KB
  • Print Length: 546 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 3, 2014)
  • Publication Date: June 3, 2014
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,079 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure-two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father's Pulitzer Prize--winning classic The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Gettysburg.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 30 people found the following review helpful By plane on June 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the third book by Shaara about the Civil War in the west. I feel that it is the best so far, reading almost like a novel rather than a dry history of battles fought by people long ago. Shaara has come up with descriptions of factual events that he imparts interpretations to making them come alive to the reader. The Union army of the Cumberland under the command of William Rosecrans captures the rail hub at Chattanooga. Pursuing the fleeing Confederates Rosecrans loses control and is beaten at Chickamauga Creek causing him to retreat back to to Chattanooga. The Confederate commander Braxton Bragg is confident of destroying the Union forces but is shown as a major cause of dissension among his subordinate officers.
Abraham Lincoln has become disgusted with Rosecrans and removes him from command appointing Ulysses S Grant to become the officer in charge of the entire Union army. Grant, in turn, puts General George Thomas in charge of the forces at Chattanooga, and orders troops commanded by William Sherman and Joseph Hooker to meet up with the army at Chattanooga creating a huge force poised against the Confederates.
Backed by historians studying the period Shaara describes Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy as a man devoid of ability to properly evaluate the people reporting to him and one of the possible causes of the south losing the war. For example there is documentation of officers under Bragg writing to Davis requesting change in the position of the General commanding; that is Braxton Bragg due to his inability to plan proper military operations. Davis does not listen and leaves Bragg in command setting the stage for a northern victory at Chattanooga.
The descriptions of the battles fought is, as always, done very well by Shaara.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ryan J. Dejonghe TOP 500 REVIEWER on June 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Jeff Shaara is gifted. He has an idiosyncratic ability to enliven history, both in the lessons and especially in the personalization. His story telling ability is lively and emotional. In his latest THE SMOKE AT DAWN, not only does he maintain this tradition, but he may have improved upon it.

My first Shaara reading was his GODS AND GENERALS. After all these years, I can still mentally picture Stonewall Jackson sucking on a lemon, strategizing the consequences of his imminent future. While Shaara paints his historically accurate images, he weaves in the familial relationships and conversations.

In THE SMOKE AT DAWN, those connections have strengthened or weakened to new levels. Fathers have lost their sons; brothers have drawn blood from one another; former war friends are laying siege on each other. While one side may declare a victory, neither side feel they have truly won.

Helpful are the maps, as always before. In his more recent novels, included are small such things as chapter-heading flags to help guide the reader to know which “side” they are reading about. It all weaves together into an easy to understand format that’s quick to be absorbed.

On a related note, as the author mentions in his introduction, if you have the opportunity to visit one of the Civil War battlefields, do so. After reading Shaara’s other works, my visit to Gettysburg was awe-inspiring.

Whether you have read his previous works or if THE SMOKE AT DAWN is your first introduction, you would be remiss to pass along Shaara’s writing. Not only will you learn, but you will be touched.

Thank you! to Ballantine and Random House for providing an electronic review copy of this book. The galley I received did not have the maps yet, but I was able to see the first map in the preview; they appear just as helpful in understanding as his other books.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel of the Western Campaign in the Civil War is not as good as "The Killer Angel" series, but it is OK. The storyline meanders and plods along in an almost pointless fashion. The story mainly focuses on the majority view of historians that Confederate General Braxton Bragg was a political intriguer who was genuinely paranoid about being stabbed in the back by this subordinates. There is some lost potential here because the interaction between Generals Grant and Thomas on the Union side must have been genuinely fascinating in real life, because both of these men were fine generals. This novel only somewhat explores this theme. Overall the storyline here meanders around and takes a long time to get to the point, which indeed is what this campaign was actually like. A good read if not one of the great ones. RJB.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Look, I keep buying the books, so what do I know. But this is another Shaara effort filled with noble characters thinking noble thoughts and saying noble things. None of them ever feel particularly like flesh and blood. Each character is a saintly model of restraint and restrained, polite stream of conscious thought. Again, each general has a loyal staff of eager men that live just to be loyal and eager. We are reminded often of how dedicated these loyal staff men are, so pure in their pursuit of dedicated loyalty. There's always the description of an officer caught in...rain. And thinking only of And reflecting on noble...things. Sometimes there's a battle, and even then, we get the stock phrases to describe the action: "bloody holes punched in the line". I have no evidence to back this up, but Shaara might use that expression 17 times per novel. The dialogue between the Union infantrymen is especially painful this time around, written in broad, cringe-inducing, hayseed prose: "Looky here, Dutchie, you need to use your brain more." "This is a pile of horse manure, boy. Never heard of nothing like this!" "Well, heckfire, Yank. We been holdin' a swap out here right regular." Yeeeesh.

I don't know. On one hand, I have to respect Shaara's dedication in continuing to rolls these books out. On the other hand, I don't think I can pay for them anymore. Next time around, I'll wait for the library to get a copy.
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