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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]

Jeff Shaara
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (318 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $28.00
Kindle Price: $11.84
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows so well, with the latest novel in the series that started with A Blaze of Glory and A Chain of Thunder. In The Smoke at Dawn, the last great push of the Army of the Cumberland sets the stage for a decisive confrontation at Chattanooga that could determine the outcome of the war.
 
Summer, 1863. The Federal triumph at Vicksburg has secured complete control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy, cementing the reputation of Ulysses S. Grant. Farther east, the Federal army under the command of William Rosecrans captures the crucial rail hub at Chattanooga. But Rosecrans is careless, and while pursuing the Confederates, the Federal forces are routed in north Georgia at Chickamauga Creek. Retreating in a panic back to Chattanooga, Rosecrans is pursued by the Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg. Penned up, with their supply lines severed, the Federal army seems doomed to the same kind of defeat that plagued the Confederates at Vicksburg. But a disgusted Abraham Lincoln has seen enough of General Rosecrans. Ulysses Grant is elevated to command of the entire theater of the war, and immediately replaces Rosecrans with General George Thomas. Grant gathers an enormous force, including armies commanded by Joseph Hooker and Grant’s friend, William T. Sherman. Grant’s mission is clear: Break the Confederate siege and destroy Bragg’s army.  Meanwhile, Bragg wages war as much with his own subordinates as he does with the Federals, creating dissension and disharmony in the Southern ranks, erasing the Confederate army’s superiority at exactly the wrong time.
 
Blending evocative historical detail with searing depictions of battle, Jeff Shaara immerses readers in the world of commanders and common soldiers, civilians and statesmen. From the Union side come the voices of Generals Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and George Thomas—the vaunted “Rock of Chickamauga”—as well as the young private Fritz “Dutchie” Bauer. From the Rebel ranks come Generals Bragg, Patrick Cleburne, and James Longstreet, as well as the legendary cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest. A tale of history played out on a human scale in the grand Shaara tradition, 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.
 
Praise for 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


From the Hardcover edition.


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

Review

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: 3587 KB
  • Print Length: 529 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (June 3, 2014)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GQABWFK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,538 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By plane
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Slow July 8, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the third novel in a series that follows the western campaign of the Civil War. This particular book focuses around Chattanooga.

I've read every book that Jeff has written and I found this one slow at times. His recent books have added a minor character to the mix that I'm not sure I enjoy. In his eastern Civil War novels he basically focuses on the big generals and discussions among them. For me I just found the minor character to be lacking in depth and did not add much to the story. Also, the main generals in this book seem to brood a lot and have no meaningful conversations about the situation they find themselves in.

That being said, still a solid book from Shaara with great detail on the battle and the people who fought it. Anyone interested in the Civil War would be hard pressed to find a more readable account of the action and the people who were there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow and meandering, but OK 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
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great book
Published 6 hours ago by Donnie
4.0 out of 5 stars and this book is a great example of his masterful story telling
I have been a Jeff Shaara fan for a long time, and this book is a great example of his masterful story telling. Extremely well researched and compelling history. Read more
Published 14 hours ago by Jim & Betty Ballengee
4.0 out of 5 stars great prose.
well done... factual and creative, great prose.
Published 1 day ago by D. Little
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not his best, but a very good read.
Published 1 day ago by Gregory G.
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Good
This third entry is really good. It was sad at the end and I was unclear as to whether there would be a fourth book in the series, but it was very satisfying. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Craig Conover
5.0 out of 5 stars Best books about the Civil War are from Jeff Shaara
Excellent. All his books on the Civil War are the best.Should be required reading for everyone. Great way to learn history of our country.Love his books. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Sandra M Shiflett
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A bit of a sloe=wer read. Dragged on in spots
Published 1 day ago by Bill Maroney
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is a good one. Much better than chain of thunder.
Published 1 day ago by James V.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Once again Jeff Sharra comes through with another great book. I didn't want to put it down.
Published 2 days ago by Michael B. Coleman
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Writer
I love every Shaara book I have read!!!
Published 2 days ago by chs1955
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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.



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