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Shiloh, 1862 Hardcover – March 20, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Groom has given the Battle of Shiloh the mega attention that it deserves by writing a book with the storytelling appeal of fiction but solidly backed with fact.... This is a book that will stay with you for a very long time." The Washington Post

"Groom enhances his solid reputation as a writer of general audience military history with this narrative of the Civil War’s first major battle in the west." –Publisher's Weekly 

“This thrilling narrative account of Shiloh from the bestselling author of Forest Gump, is a vivid portrayal of key players and epic moments that changed America’s understanding of the war.”
Publishers Weekly Top 10: History and Military History

"Stirring Civil War history from the author of Forest Gump....The emphasis on the human element gives the book a power that sets it apart from most military histories." Kirkus [Starred Review]

"Including pertinent military detail about weapons and organization, Groom’s compositional acumen makes Shiloh move quickly, vividly, graphically, and perfectly for armchair buff and battlefield
visitor alike." Booklist 

“Groom’s gripping narrative is full of absorbing firsthand accounts from drummer boys, officers and enlisted men, nurses, and civilians…A provocatively rendered and persuasively argued study that demands a central place in Civil War historiography.” Library Journal (Starred Review)
 

About the Author

WINSTON GROOM is the author of fourteen previous books, including Patriotic FireShrouds of Glory, Forrest Gump, and Conversations with the Enemy (with Duncan Spencer), which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He lives with his wife and daughter in Point Clear, Alabama.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (March 20, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 142620874X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426208744
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #478,022 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
an extremely well written account of what was the bloodiest battle in American history, up to that point. More Americans died in that battle than in all of America's previous wars combined, and more than had died in the Civil War up to that point. Unfortunately, Antietam eventually took that honor, and remains the single bloodiest day in US history.

The book is intended for a general audience, rather than for died in the wool Civil War buffs. So, there's a great deal of effort into providing context to the battle and a very nice job introducing the main actors, along with a bevy of folks who were just there including some quite famous later on like Ambrose Bierce, Henry Stanley and Lew Wallace. However, there's plenty for Civil War buffs to sink their teeth into as well, and it's just a great read, regardless of your background. As noted, this wasn't Grant's shining hour as he didn't really expect fierce Southern resistance and absolutely failed to prepare for it. Neither did Sherman for that matter who steadfastly refused to accept repeated incoming reports of heavy Southern forces converging on Shiloh. But there was no shortage of poor preparation for the attack and very poor planning for the attack itself by the Southern commander Albert Sidney Johnston, largely regarded in the South as their single greatest commander up to his death in this battle. However, Grant refused to panic and gave all his attention to a massive counterattack on the second day, which was entirely unanticipated and knocked the Southern forces off the field. The battle also introduced Grant and Sherman and forged one of the greatest military relationships in history.

The battle scenes are extremely powerful and well done and retain the ability to affect the reader viscerally.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Books regarding the Civil War are typically written for the serious Civil War "buff"...then there is this book written for the "rest of us". Mr. Groom hits the correct balance of historical fact, battle detail and human interest--all without becoming mired down in tedium. A subtle element that adds to the book's appeal is Mr. Groom's use of language and word choice: He frequently chooses words that are uncommon today but were commonly used in the 1860s. The immediate experience of this 'good read' makes it a recommended choice--but its impact on my previously held opinions about the War and the people who were prominent in its playing out, make it notable. Mr. Groom's account altered my perception of this event in our American history--I truly felt the appalling toll & tragedy of our American Civil War. Yes, I loved this book...now reading his Vicksburg 1863.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I feel like I am an advanced student regarding the Battle of Shiloh. I have read all the major books detailing the action (Reed, Sword, Daniel, McCullogh, Cunningham) as well as some lesser known (Timothy Smith's book detailing the creation of the park is spectacular). This book, while not particularly scholarly, is enjoyable reading none-the-less. This book is obviously designed to appeal to the public at-large, not to the buff/historian. It would be something that a person with an interest in history, who enjoys non fiction would take on a vacation to the beach. It would not make a good battlefield guide. Maps are lacking, but again, even though it was vanilla, I for some reason found myself enjoying this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Shiloh was the first cataclysmic battle of the American Civil War. There were numerous battles during the twelve months since Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, but none compared to the horror and human carnage that occurred on the western bank of the Tennessee River on April 6th & 7th, 1862. More men fell as casualties during those two days of fighting at Shiloh than in all American wars combined up until that point.

Battles in the western theater are often over shadowed by those in its eastern theater, and Shiloh is no exception. When compared, the number of books written about Shiloh would equal but a small fraction to those written about Gettysburg. In the last four decades there have been a handful of scholarly books published about the Battle of Shiloh, by authors such as James Lee McDonough, Wiley Sword, Larry J. Daniel and O. Edward Cunningham (posthumously). Novelist and historian, Winston Groom, is the latest author to place his book upon that shelf.

Groom's book, "Shiloh 1862," is more a work of popular history than a detail oriented work of military history. It is not a minute by minute, blow by blow, military history. Rather Groom picked a few people to follow and their stories, combined, create a cohesive narrative which covers all parts of the battlefield from both the Union and Confederate sides. Into the mix Groom added diarists Elsie Duncan Hurt and Josie Underwood whose story arcs give a civilian impression of the battle from within and without.

Roughly, a little under the first half of Mr. Groom's narrative is prologue to the battle, covering the careers of Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Albert S. Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard up to the start of the battle.
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