- Paperback: 624 pages
- Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (October 15, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080613187X
- ISBN-13: 978-0806131870
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 49 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas Paperback – October 15, 1999
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"This comprehensively researched, well-written book represents the definitive account of Robert E. Leeâs triumph over Union leader John Pope in the summer of 1862. . . . Leeâs strategic skills, and the capabilities of his principal subordinates James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson, brought the Confederates onto the field of Second Manassas at the right places and times against a Union army that knew how to fight, but not yet how to win."-Publishers Weekly
"The deepest, most comprehensive, and most definitive work on this Civil War campaign, by the unchallenged authority."-James I. Robertson Jr., author of Stonewall Jackson
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4 out of 5: Technically brilliant in detailed brigade and regimental combat. Gritty, in your face. Could be overwhelming for new readers. Would suggest to a person who is an avid fan of the Civil War.
I am a very frequent visitor to the Battlefield as I do not live far away. I dare say I have explored more of that Battlefield than most people ever have - to include getting off the paths and trekking through woods and over fields. With Hennessy's books under my belt I can now actually imagine having been there on both occasions (minus the personal danger of course). And my respect level for the soldiers of both sides has gone up immensely.
Of Lee's battles in the early Civil War, Second Bull Run likely gets the least amount of attention. Sandwiched between the Peninsula Campaign and Antietam it is simply overlooked. Hennessy however in Return to Bull Run shows not only why the battle may be one of Lee's finest but also how the battle severely hurt Lee's campaign into Maryland.
One of the things I like about this book is Hennessy tackles some of the big myths surrounding the battle with solid research. He does a great job from going from the big picture with discussing the overall strategy down to the tactical with interesting stories of the experiences of individual soldiers.
Also Hennessy really impressed me with his writing skills. I wish every Civil War author had Hennessy's talent for keeping the narrative going without getting bogged down once they get into the battle itself. To often authors get so stuck in describing the Xs and Os of the regimental movements that they forget the men involved but Hennessy keeps the story flowing nicely all the way through.
This is a book that any Civil War buff will greatly enjoy reading and will be the definitive book on the battle for a long time to come.
Hennessey does get pretty much everything else right, though, so I gave it 4 stars, It's well worth reading!
With apologies to Chancellorsville, if you want to discover the battle in which Robert E. Lee ACTUALLY came closest to destroying a Union army, then read Return to Bull Run.
While a Southerner, I respect and admire leaders of both sides South - Lee, Cleburne, Jackson, A.P. Hill, Longstreet, Johnston; North - Grant, Thomas, Sherman, Chamberlain, Sheridan). However, I can honestly say that the blundering John Pope of the Northern army got his just due. Pompous (bragged about his military "exploits" in the West), foul-mouthed (used the Lord's name in vain when referring to McDowell), and impatient (Phil Kearney, an able Northern general, tired of Pope's orders for impetuous and fruitless marches that only served to tire the troops).
Hennessy is fair with leaders, both North and South and his narrative is excellent - while, he is obviously a learned man with a deep knowlege of the battle, the author does not bore the reader with tedious details and dry narrative.
The only complaint I have with the book are the maps. While they are of good quality, there could have been more (the book contains about 15 maps and could have had at least 5 more). Additionally, some of the maps only went to the brigade level and in some cases made following troop dispositions difficult when describing specific regiments.
Complaint aside, this book is one of the best Civil War titles I have read and is the definitive resource for the events of August 1862.
Easy reading and detailed in content!