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1862: A Novel by [Conroy, Robert]
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1862: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Conroy is a semi-retired business and economic history teacher living in suburban Detroit.

Product Details

  • File Size: 971 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (December 18, 2007)
  • Publication Date: December 18, 2007
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUBD3K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,159 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Hobson on September 9, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In 1862, the Union was not winning the Civil War. In 1862, the incompetent John Pope lost the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, which forced Lincoln to reappoint the timid George McClellan to command of the Army of the Potomac. Later the same year, the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg was fought. So why does Conroy think that the Union could defeat both the Confederacy and the world's largest industrial and naval power?

As a previous reviewer has pointed out, in 1862 Britain was the preeminent industrial power. Just as the Union was industrially dominant over the Confederacy, Britain was industrially dominant over the Union. True, the British Army was small and not well led. That's because the Royal Navy was the major British military force. Just as the Union blockade of the South was effective, a British blockade of the North would have brought the Union to a standstill. And if anyone claims that the Union's ironclads would have defeated the Royal Navy, the first British ironclad ship was HMS Warrior, built in 1860. The British were quite aware of the value of ironclads, which is why they stopped building wooden battleships and frigates in 1860. Also, with the exception of USS New Ironsides, American ironclads were not ocean going ships. The British ironclads could safely cross the Atlantic.

I have other complaints about this book. I found the love/sex story to be quite unnecessary (although I did get a chuckle from the mental picture of Allan Pinkerton being found naked, painted red, and chained to a post in a Washington street). To say that the characters are wooden is to give them more subtlety than Conroy portrays. At one point early in the book, HMS Gorgon defeats USS St. Lawrence in a battle. Gorgon is described as a "steam frigate" mounting 74 guns.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
(1) Winfield Scott was in eclipse not merely because of McClellan or Cameron. He was extremely old and infirm; he was a stuffy, formal, and arrogant person; and he was a former Presidential candidate.

(2) There is no evidence that Patrick Cleburne was a Fenian; considering he came from middle-class stock (his father was a physician), it's highly unlikely. It's DOUBLY unlikely that anyone in the North would have paid him any attention, since he had fought in not a single battle as of the first mention of him in the book.

(3) Lesbianism was just -not- spoken about- and any American woman of the period would have been scandalized at the very mention of it.

(4) As mentioned, British land forces were nothing like as weak as depicted. The vast inferiority of British leadership is believable; its numerical and material inferiority is NOT.

Finally, the factor that more than anything else spoils the book for me:

(5) Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, is depicted in this book as eager for a war and blithely ignorant or dismissive of American power. This is absolutely the opposite of the historical Lord Pam, who was determined to avoid war with the United States if at all possible. In this book, Palmerston calls for war despite Lincoln backing down, apologizing, even groveling and releasing the Confederate diplomats Mason and Slidell. It just stretches belief too far, for a student of the Civil War, to accept this uncharacteristic action.

I questioned 1901's quick war; I utterly reject virtually every aspect of 1862's war, and the characters and historical figures portrayed in it. I strongly regret buying this book, and I hope other people will read this review and AVOID, AVOID, AVOID.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In 1862: A Novel author Robert Conroy demonstrates two things and two things very clearly. The first is that he's no Harry Turtledove and the second, that he isn't the first. That's too bad because had he used even a little more imagination and didn't stretch credulity as much as he did (in an effort to finish this book it seems), he might have given the grand master of alternative history a run for his money.

That said "1862: A Novel" isn't a bad book per se, it's just not a very credible book, even for a "what if" novel. By the end of 1861 the Union was only just beginning to realize the scope of the task before it as it attempted to subdue the Southern states in the US Civil War. It had (barely) survived the debacle of Bull Run while trying to keep Missouri, Maryland and Kentucky from joining the fledgling Confederacy.

The blockade of Southern ports was slowly taking effect while the Army of the Potomac was gathering itself for General McClellan's springtime campaign in Virginia. Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Phil Sheridan, Joshua L. Chamberlain and a host of other later-famous leaders were still largely undiscovered and in the backwaters of the Union's war effort.

Into this mess the real-life Trent Affair took place when Union Captain Charles Wilkes, commanding the United States ship, San Jacinto, forced the British ship, the RMS Trent, carrying two Confederate officials enroute to Europe, to stop at the point of his cannons. He then boarded the ship and kidnapped James M. Mason and John Slidell and sailed back to the US where Wilkes was feted as a hero for capturing the Rebel representatives.

Britain, however, was enraged and demanded an apology, as well as the release of the Confederate envoys.
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