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Winfield Scott Hancock: A Soldier's Life Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; Reprint edition (November 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253210585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253210586
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #517,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

DAVID M. JORDAN is a practicing attorney and author of A Tiger in His Time: Hal Newhouser and the Burden of Wartime Ball and Roscoe Conkling of New York: Voice in the Senate, considered the definitive biography of that major figure of the post-Civil War era. Jordan has also appeared on the Arts & Entertainment Network’s Civil War Journal in a program about Winfield Scott Hancock.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Phillips on July 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
There is little doubt that Winfield Scott Hancock should get far more press than he gets. In reading about the Civil War in the east one time and again runs into the name Hancock. He was there for most of the major battles and he and his men could almost always be counted on when most of the rest of the army could not be. Between the movie "Gettysburg" and this fine book maybe Hancock will get some of the credit that should be his.
David Jordan has put together a book that is both informative and very easy to read. In fact, I would call it a real page turner.
Since Hancock's politics without a doubt held him back both during and after the war Jordan handles that early on by introducing the reader to Hancock's father, an avid Democrat. Hancock's views were set early on and he stuck by his beliefs in spite of Republican domination of both the government and the army. The reader is led through hancock's life and is also treated to many funny stories about Hancock many of which include his close friend Harry Heath who would lead his Confederates toward Gettysburg and kick off the great battle. We also find out that Hancock was one of the best cursers in the Union army and that he and General Zook could be counted on to lighten the mood of the second corps every so often with a heated exchange of some of the finest swear words known to man.
Jordan does a good job of recounting Hancock's performance in battle without getting to stuck in the mire of names and regiment numbers. He also manages to handle Hancock's political campaigns both for the Democratic Presidential nomination and as his party's candidate without getting his reader lost in the jungle of politicans most of which the average reader would not have heard of.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 21, 1997
Format: Paperback
I heartily agree with the above reviews. Jordan has written a masterpiece, extensively researched and extremely well written. The author's admiration for Hancock is obvious, but understandable: the reader - if he/she had not known it before - soon comes to realize that Hancock was an extraordinary soldier and person....My two complaints: that the book did not cover the Civil War in more depth (but that would have required many more pages in an already lengthy work); and that the more personal side of Hancock was not revealed more fully (but, then again, Hancock's wife burned all of Hancock's correspondence after writing her own book on her husband).....On the whole, Jordan treated Hancock and others - including Hancock's rivals - very fairly, something rarely done in such research-intensive biographies......I highly recommend the book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Haschka TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"On each of the three days of the (Gettysburg) battle (Hancock) played a significant role - rallying the beaten forces on July 1 and selecting the battlefield, redressing the Sickles blunder the next day and saving the left wing of the army, and finally beating back the last and greatest assault of the Army of Northern Virginia. ... Gettysburg was Hancock's field." - author David Jordan

It was these three days in July, 1863 that established Winfield Scott Hancock as perhaps the best corps commander to serve in the Army of the Potomac. Yet, his career of loyal service to his superior officers, his Commanders-in Chief, and his country extended for a multitude of years on either side of his command of the Second Corps, which encompassed the relatively brief period from June of 1863 to November 1864, and which included the battles at Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and skirmishes around the Petersburg entrenchments.

Hancock's Civil War generalship earned him the affection of his troops and the country's citizenry and the respect of his fellow officers, all of which were sustained and flourished during his post-war career as a Reconstruction military administrator, a Great Plains Indian overseer, commander of the Military Division of the Atlantic (states), during which time he earned the gratitude of the nation in quelling labor violence, and, finally, as a three-time seeker of the Democratic nomination for President (1868, 1872, 1880) and his party's nominee for that office in the 1880 election.

David Jordan's WINFIELD SCOTT HANCOCK is an extensively referenced, solid, immensely readable biography and work of popular history. Jordan obviously thinks highly of the man.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Taylor TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Jordan's book is an excellent biography of an overlooked and almost forgotten general of the Civil War. While Hancock was an excellent fighter and tactician, he is often overlooked in favor of Lee, Grant, Sherman, and Jackson. Thankfully, Hancock's important contributions to the Union are chronicled in Jordan's interesting text.
The book is full of interesting anecdotes of the following periods of Hancock's life:
1. Early childhood and life leading up to West Point.
2. West Point years.
3. Service in the Mexican War and just before the Civil War.
4. Excellent leadership at the Civil War battles of Antietam, Williamsburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg.
5. Role during the Reconstruction Period.
6. Political aspirations and almost presidency.
7. Final years.
As I read Jordan's book, I came to appreciate Hancock more and more. Jordan is able to keep the reader's interest throughout the text. For instance, while I was much more interested in Hancock's Civil War service instead of his politics, Jordan was able to keep me interested in Hancock's run for the presidency.
The only reason I did not give the book 5 stars is because the maps were few and of mediocre quality. When reading a Civil War book, I like several maps to enable me to better understand troop movements. Adding more high-quality maps would have done much to better clarify Hancock's movements during a certain battle.
Despite this minor complaint, I highly recommend this book as the definitive biography of and excellent leader!
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