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The passing of the armies: An account of the final campaign of the Army of the Potomac, based upon personal reminiscences of the Fifth Army Corps (Civil War heritage series) [Unknown Binding]

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Morningside Press (1992)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00072HEPK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
It was a dreamy camp along the lines investing Peters-burg in the winter following the "all-summer" campaign of 1864,-that never-to-be-forgotten, most dismal of years. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A deeply moving experience - a real insight 19 Nov 1998
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
It was after being shown the film "Gettysburg" in August 1997 I first heard of Joshua Lawrence Chamnberlain and the 20 Maine. I found the film very moving, and the serious, very human and very sensitive character of Chamberlain (played by Jeff Daniels) a very appealing figure - a true leader, a man who could inspire the best from others, a man of courage and integrity.
I wanted to find out more, to discover the real Joshua Chamberlain. To my delight, I found he had written a personal account of his life with the Army of the Potomac. Unbelievably - "The Passing of the Armies" was now available in the UK.
I was overwhelmed by this book, a poem in prose, a beautiful command of language and emotion, sensitive and deeply felt. It helped me understand a little of what the American Civil War did mean and how men could endure such agony and danger.
The book is an incredibly personal account of the last days before Appomattox, followed by a almost mystical account of the last review of the battered but triumphant Army of the Potomac. The language is very romantic, very foreign to twentieth century ears, but Joshua Chamberlain was there, he risked everything, valued people, he saw the deaths and felt the loss. Wounded six times, he was once given up for dead after being shot through both hips by a musket ball while leading a charge at Petersburg in 1864.
He was a good man, an inspiring man, with a wonderful self-deprecating humour, as shown when he describes falling in a muddy river along with his horse.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring account with a minor flaw. 13 Feb 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
The Passing of the Armies offers readers the opportunity to experience the trials and triumphs of the Civil War through the personal recollections of an authentic American hero. However, it is my opinion that the introduction by Brooks D. Simpson serves to disrupt the first hand experiences of Joshua Chamberlain by calling into question Chamberlain's accuracy of events and his personal motives. Passing of the Armies should stand as one man's first hand account of his life, leaving his critics to write their own book.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There can be little doubt about it; this book is a 300 page poem. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the school teacher from Maine who rose to Brevet Major-General, wounded six times in battle, and commanded the surrender ceremony at Appomattox, effortlessly composed, in the waning years of his life, one of the most beautifully-written Civil War reminicenses ever written. You will feel every emotion Chamberlain felt, because it cannot be helped- his writing is irresistable, it is as understated and dignified as he was, both in battle and in life. It is truly wonderful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine book 14 Mar 2007
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a "classic" truly deserving of the name. Having been brought up in Maine I have always had great admiration for Joshua L Chamberlain, who is something of a cult hero (indeed perhaps our only widely-recognised historical figure) and reading this book made me realise what a greatly admirable man he was. And as a first-hand account it is priceless. There are genuinely moving moments here, for instance the hard as nails General Sheridan moving among the campfires after the battle of Five Forks to seek forgiveness from his officers for his ruthless and driving behaviour during the fight. And Chamberlain's essential fairness and keen mind shine through, for instance in his analysis of General Warren's removal from command by that same General Sheridan (despite Chamberlain being an open partisan of Warren's case). One would expect fine writing from a professor of rhetoric such as Chamberlain was, and indeed there are many rhetorical flourishes as was the fashion of the time: but the writing clearly comes from the heart and gives a wonderfully evocative picture of experiences such as we now can (thankfully) hardly imagine.

This is a truly remarkable book - its only fault is that it is not longer.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written and informative 26 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
For any student of the Civil War north or south this is a must read! It is well written and informative. And to top it all off it was written by a person who was there. This is not a second hand account.
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