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Bayonet! Forward My Civil War Reminiscences Limited 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1879664210
ISBN-10: 1879664216
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Stan Clark Military Books; Limited 1st edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879664216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879664210
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you want to learn more about Joshua L. Chamberlain, what better way to do it than to read his first hand accounts and speeches. This book is a compilation of several articles he wrote for a magazine and a number of speeches he gave after the war. Bear in mind that the magazine articles were heavily edited by the editor of the magazine, much to the chagrin of Chamberlain, who was quite angry! One of his speeches at the dedication of the Gettysburg monuments very succinctly outlines his reasons for volunteering for the Union Army and the ideology that kept him going back to the field, even after a horrible wound that should have killed him. Chamberlain wrote very eloquently about his experiences and his speeches are extremely moving. A must read for any Chamberlain fan!
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Format: Hardcover
As an avid reader of Civil War history, I found the book interesting, but not quite as exciting as I would have suspected. Chamberlain's description of battles are a little heavy and confusing; some of which, no doubt, has to do with 19th century semantics and the fact that he had been a professor of rhetoric, oratory and modern language (not to mention that I am not an infantryman!). His descriptions, however, bear the special benefit of this hero's personal experiences in battle and are probably made more humble than they should be judging by the man's character.
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Format: Hardcover
These United States of America have more pretenders to the title than genuine heroes. Revisionist historians often inform us that our idols have feet of clay. George Washington, the "father of our country," was too proud to shake the hand of ordinary American citizens. Thomas Jefferson, "author of the Declaration of Independence," held others in servitude. Abraham Lincoln was subject to deep bouts of depression. George Patton was a bully incapable of showing compassion for psychologically wounded soldiers. It is even whispered that "Ike," the very symbol of 1950s family stability, may have had an affair during WWII, while Mamie patiently waited at home for the return of her soldier. The list goes on.
That on-going litany of real world disappointments is what makes Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain so important to the American story. In Chamberlain, we find one of the few genuine heroes, so far revealed in our short, national history.
In this volume, we read Chamberlain's (mostly) post-war speechs and reports on some of the most critical actions of the Civil War. Despite his meteoric rise from Lieutenant Colonel to Major General in four, awful years, Chamberlain does not turn the spot light upon himself. Despite being awarded the Medal of Honor, Chamberlain does not see himself as special. Instead, in speech after speech, Chamberlain gives credit (by name) to his soldiers and to his God. Like Alvin York, another American hero who would follow him 50 years later, Chamberlain was truly humble, and in his humility could be found the seeds of his heroism.
This book, like Chamberlain's other writings is a magnificent primer for those who would seek to give selfless service to their nation, their God, or both.
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Format: Hardcover
I received this as a gift from my Dad several years ago but it went unread until I became interested in the Civil War this past summer. After reading a couple of lengthy secondary histories I wanted to read some primary texts from actual participants and dug this out of the pile.

Chamberlain is a talented writer- of his time. The reader should be prepared to endure some hefty dependent clauses. At times the prose is so purple as to be a little nauseating. In these dark moments it's worth remembering two things: one, Chamberlain wrote in the style of his century, and two, he nearly died several times in defense of his country, so, deal with it.

Once acclimated, however, the reader is treated to some fascinating stuff. Chamberlain's "Bivouac with the Dead" - his description of the horrifying night he spent in front of Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, where he and his men stacked the bodies of their dead comrades up in piles to act as barricades against Confederate bullets - is unforgettable.

His descriptions of the Battle of Five Forks are similarly vivid. Chamberlain describes leading a near-suicidal charge against a heavily fortified Confederate position with a good eye for detail. After being seriously wounded and left for dead by his own men Chamberlain observed the battle prone, belly up, and relates the curious view of men charging past him, guidons flapping, then staggering back, whipped and bloodied, all within his constrained window of vision. If for nothing else, the book should be read for these portions.

Of course most of the book's readers will be looking for Chamberlain's account of the 20th Maine's heroic defense of Little Round Top, and only the most voracious Civil War buffs will find the effort unsatisfying.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a mixed bag. The book is NOT a true autobiography. It is a collection of writings and/or speeches he gave about his experiences. As a result the story is sort of chopped up. There are also huge blocks of time in the story that are not talked about at all. Other things in history are skipped over but he talks about at length.

This book is a must for the die hard civil war fan. There is nothing quite like hearing it from someone who was there. Also, Joshua Chamberlain was a College Professor. He was a very smart man. As a result his writings are very advanced. The flow is slow at times. He talks about things that don't seem to relate. However this is history. It is like talking to a person of the past.

The pieces give you a perspective that can't be remade elsewhere. You get a taste of what is going through his head, what moved him, what stood out to him. You get a sense of the emotion of the moment no third party source can get. This angle helps you not only learn about the event but to feel the event.

You also get a day to day feel. This book goes over things that are insignificant in the grand scheme of things. This attack or that attack happens, people die but the war didn't end. Then the same thing happens again. Through that you see how war was an every day thing. Soldiers did not see a future through those things. You also see what they think is big then. He goes over in some detail about the Battle of Five Forks. That is the final battle that pushes out Lee from Petersburg. History gives it a quick pass. There you can catch how history sees things differently.

This is a good reference book for serious students. This isn't an entertaining read though.
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