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Knoxville 1863 Paperback – February 20, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"I've long considered Michael and Jeff Shaara's Civil War trilogy to be one of the benchmarks for Civil War historical fiction. Knoxville 1863 came very close to that mark." --Jim Chambers for Red Adept Reviews --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

About the Author

Dick Stanley has been writing short fiction, poetry and journalism since he was a child. "Knoxville 1863" is his debut novel. He is a lifelong student of the Civil War and a retired, award-winning daily newspaper staff writer in Austin, TX. He has a BA in English from the University of Maryland and did postgraduate work in Journalism at Marshall University in West Virginia. A native of Sumter, South Carolina, Dick grew up throughout the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. He is a former Army captain and an infantry combat veteran of the Vietnam war. He is also the author of "Leaving The Alamo, Texas Stories After Vietnam." His current project is a non-fiction book on the Texas origins of weather radar.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (February 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451580312
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451580310
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,082,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Claude Cooper on May 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm a retired Army officer who has always been very interested in the civil war. I think I can say that I've read extensively about it. I've taught at the Army's Command and General Staff College and at the University level as a Professor of Military Science. I've also served two combat tours. To my knowlege, there has been very little written about the role Knoxville played in the war, nor about the battle at Fort Sanders. Stanley has certainly filled that gap with this book,and done so in fine style. Though little is known about the confrontation at Fort Sanders between the troops under Longstreet and Burnside, the battle was certainly not insignificant. Many lives were lost, and it would make an excellent example in any study of leadership. Stanley has obviously done a great deal of research in developing this story. He has shown that he is a knowlegeable historian as well as an effective story-teller. I found nothing to question from the historical perspective. He uses a few fictional characters to narrate the story, but the leaders and key figures are historical. Through the narration and dialogue, he gives the reader, in my view (as one who has seen situations in which I was not sure if I would see the next day), realistic insights into the minds of soldiers anticipating the big battle, each man believing that his side would be victorious but knowing that he could die within the next few hours. Stanley's use of the various dialects in the narrations and conversations is interesting and adds realism. Other writers and historians have touched on this battle, but I'm not aware of any who have addressed it in this depth. For that reason, and because it is well written, I believe that this is an important novel that will be appreciated by civil war buffs and enjoyed by anyone.
Well done, Dick Stanley.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Dick Stanley has crafted a well-written, well-researched book about the Battle of Knoxville, Tennessee, one of the lesser known battles of the American Civil War.
This is not a novel for the faint-hearted as the battle is described accurately in vivid, brutal, and graphic detail, which to this reviewer, is welcome, as the American Civil War was fought in the backyards, main streets and side alleys of our country, not on staged battlefields.The preparations for conflict, memories of former battles, and the sufferings, starvation, personal losses of the Confederate and Union troops are told by well-drawn characters such as Bird Clark of the Mississippi Confederate Army and by Private Burton Laing, a Scottish immigrant, fighting for the Union with the Cameron Highlanders. A Confederate widow, Leila Ellis, who is actually a Union sympathizer, plays a convincing role throughout the novel. This book is a must-read for all who consider themselves interested in the tragic history of the American Civil War.
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Format: Paperback
By late November 1863 the fate of East Tennessee was held in the balance. A detachment from the Army of Northern Virginia under Lieutenant General James Longstreet was sent to Knoxville to prevent the Union Army of the Ohio under Ambrose Burnside from moving to support the Union forces at Chattanooga who were besieged by Braxton Bragg's Confederate Army of Tennessee.

Union Engineers constructed several bastioned earthwork fortifications around Knoxville. One of these was Fort Sanders. Directly west of town, it was a salient in the line of earthworks which surrounded Knoxville on three sides. The fort was protected by a ditch that was twelve feet wide and eight feet deep with a vertical wall of red clay that rose nearly fifteen feet above the ditch.

It is during this time and at this place that Dick Stanley has set his second book, the appropriately named novel, "Knoxville 1863." Mr. Stanley has taken a unique approach to telling the story of Longstreet's failed attack on Fort Sanders. His narrative follows the linear chronology of the attack on and defense of the fort, but the story is told from several different view points: inside and outside the fort, civilian and soldier, from both the Union and Confederate points of view. This method of storytelling is both the novel's greatest asset, as well as its greatest weakness, as it gives Mr. Stanley's readers a multilayered understanding of what is happening at all points, but there is no one central character to follow through the narrative, which can overwhelm and loose its reader.

In his afterward, Mr. Stanley, takes the time to point out the real historical characters and summarizes what became of them. He also includes a brief discussion of the sources he used in researching the novel. Mr. Stanley has certainly done his homework; his novel rests on a solid foundation of historical facts. It is well written & a joy to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mr. Stanley seems to have done a great deal of research in writing this historical novel about the siege of Knoxville during the Civil War. The details are so vivid and the dialogue so real that I could almost imagine myself standing beside the soldiers.

The book is written in short sections told in first person by various characters, including a Confederate widow who favors the North. While I liked seeing the siege and the battle from different viewpoints, I sometimes had trouble keeping the characters straight and would have liked one strong main character--in addition to the others--to tie the story together.

The battle itself, taking place after a siege of the city, is terrible, especially for the Confederates. Confederate General Longstreet was lured into attacking Fort Sanders at a point that looked weak and easy to breach. However, the Union soldiers had built a trap consisting of tree stumps, wires, and a deep ditch the Confederates couldn't climb out of. Then the Union side attacked with a variety of deadly weapons. Hundred of southern soldiers were killed in the ensuing battle.

The description of the siege and the battle are graphic. The scene describing the burial of the dead Confederate soldiers is the most sad and memorable. Other details, even the small ones, help the reader to understand the hardships during the Civil War and bring an appreciation for what a horror it is to fight in a war. Exposure to all weather conditions, hunger and thirst, infestation by insects, lack of adequate clothing, exhaustion, no shoes, poor leadership, poor sanitary facilities, primitive medical care, and horrific weapons are vividly described by the author and help bring the story to life.

I totally enjoyed this book and will read more of this author's work.
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