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Whirlwind of War [Hardcover]

Stephen B. Oates
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 864 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st Edition edition (31 Dec 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006017580X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060175801
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,376,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The second book in the historian's trilogy continues his account of the Civil War years from a first person perspective, as he takes on the personas of eleven major players from the time period.

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The Sunday morning headlines screamed with the latest news from Charleston harbor: Fort Sumter had fallen after a two-day bombardment by rebel shore batteries. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By A Customer
A good addition to the corpus of historical literature about America's most horrendous war and tragedy.
Oates' treatment of Lee, Longstreet, et al, at Gettysburg is solid and well-documented. To consider as a "popular Civil War myth" Longstreet's sulking, insubordinate, and ultimately devastating performance at Gettysburg, as another reviewer does, is an opinion, and an innacurate one at that--and if Glenn Tucker believes as such, he is misguided as well.
Our day is replete with "historians" who amass selective mountains of facts and figures to arrive at the pre-ordained, and often incorrect, conclusions they desire. Glenn Tucker, Alan Nolan, and Michael Shaara notwithstanding, "Old Pete" Longstreet demonstrated an obstinate lack of cooperation with and support for his commanding officer's orders at Gettysburg, as well as a half-hearted effort at positioning his First Corps for battle on the second day of that engagement--all the while urging Lee on to Longstreet's own course of action that Lee wisely considered and rejected.
Lee wanted an early morning attack on the second day--not the third. His mistake was in placing similar trust in lesser corps commanders like Longstreet and Ewell as he had in Stonewall Jackson. On the evening of the first day at Gettysburg, Lee said, with Longstreet present, "If the enemy is there in the morning, I mean to attack him." The enemy was there, Longstreet had abundant time to get his men there, and Stonewall Jackson would not have needed a picture drawn for him (Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, etc.)--nor would he have rebelled against the authority over him.
The Confederates came within an eyelash of overruning the Federals on the second day at Gettysburg. Without the eight hours or so of additional preparation time provided Meade's army by Longstreet's foot-dragging, what do you think would have been the result?
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By A Customer
Mr. Oates' first volume in his new and unique Civil War saga was well written and well researched. Although I enjoyed the second volume well enough, I was disappointed to find that he gave credibility to some popular Civil War myths, namely in the case of the Longstreet Gettysburg controversy. Mr. Oates would have done well to consult the most complete and exhaustive work on the subject - Glenn Tucker's "Lee and Longstreet at Gettysburg". Recent research like that of Glenn Tucker's proves that Longstreet acted with vigor and professionalism in coordinating the attacks on the second day at Gettysburg, although he differed with Lee on where the attack should be made. As for Lee ordering an attack at dawn on the third day, it just didn't happen. Mr. Oates has written a decent book, but his treatment of the Gettysburg campaign was flawed, and that is unfortunate. Longstreet deserves much of the credit for creating the only bright spots of that camaign for the Confederate side. I would recommend Mr. Tucker's book for anyone interested in truth rather than controversy. The only other point that I disliked was the treatment of Sherman. I feel he comes off rather simple and shallow. Truth is, Sherman was a military genius and our popular opinion of him is colored by how he was portrayed by the press during the war. He was extremely articulate, immensely thorough and perhaps the most professional and clear minded general the North produced. He was well ahead of his time and many of his controversial opinions have been proven correct and accurate in the generations since the war.
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By A Customer
This brilliant book is a real standout in Civil War literature. Oates swings for the fences, and hits the ball way out of the park. With this unique interweaving of first person narratives, he puts the reader in the shoes of Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Lee and others. One is left understanding the war from different viewpoints as never before. Highly recommended.
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By A Customer
Oates succeeds in recreating eleven distinctive voices who by turns tell the story of the Civil War. In doing so, he brings us into empathy with each of them: we may disagree with them, even despise what they do, but we see the struggle as they saw it, and feel what they felt. Oates has attempted the nearly impossible here -- and achieved it! It is a feat other writers will be hard pressed to match.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an amazing book 1 Mar 2001
By A Customer
I bought this book in Singapore Airport because I had some local currency left over, and because I am a bit of a Civil War buff. The book does give a very good overview of the Civil War, particularly to those who have some background on the subject, but I was really struck by two other aspects of the book: (1) Oates writes in the first person from the viewpoint of many different characters (Grant,Lee, Lincoln, Davis etc). His ability to capture peoples infinite capacity for self justification is incredible. In one sequence, when Sherman is burning Georgia, the juxtaposition of Shermans viewpoint and that of Jefferson Davis is fascinating. Any student of human nature will enjoy this aspect of the book. (2)As a businessman I would recommend this book as one of the best books on Management that I have ever read. Pay attention to the way Lincoln and Davis (Corporate headquarters) try to get their Generals (field offices) to act with urgency and despatch. And note how the Generals continually ask for more men and supplies and have numerous excuses for not attacking. If you are a businessman you will know how accurately this captures real life. A great book on several levels.
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