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Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J.E.B. Stuart [With Earbuds] (Playaway Adult Nonfiction)
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"One of those rare, too often overlooked figures in the Civil War pantheon, Jeb Stuart was as irresistible as he was colorful, as contentious as he was fascinating. In this endlessly absorbing biography, Jeffry Wert does him justice and then some. This richly detailed study belongs on the bookshelf of every Civil War buff, right next to the dog-eared volumes on Lincoln, Lee, Jackson, and Grant. Bravo!" -- Jay Winik, author of April 1865: The Month That Saved America and The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800
"Jeffry D. Wert adds to his considerable reputation as a military historian of the Civil War with this engaging biography of the Confederacy's best and most famous cavalry officer. Jeb Stuart figured prominently in most of the Army of Northern Virginia's storied operations, and Wert does full justice to his striking successes while also exploring with a critical eye his controversial conduct during the Gettysburg Campaign. This book is the obvious place to begin any exploration of Stuart's life and career." -- Gary W. Gallagher, Nau Professor of History, University of Virginia, and author of Lee and His Army in Confederate History
"This fresh look at the Confederacy's premier cavalryman offers a fast-paced and sure-footed narrative of Stuart's campaigns combined with fascinating information about the man and his family. Cavalryman of the Lost Cause is now the Jeb Stuart biography." -- George C. Rable, Charles Summersell Chair in Southern History, University of Alabama, and author of Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg!, winner of the Lincoln Prize
"One of the Civil War's most popular historians has tackled one of its most memorable figures. Scrupulously avoiding the pitfalls of either blind worship or reckless iconoclasm, Jeffry Wert recounts the successes and failures of this remarkable soldier in a masterful study that combines diligent research and fresh analysis with the prose of a gripping novel. A must for any bookshelf -- Blue or Gray." -- Joseph Pierro, editor of The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Ezra A. Carman's Definitive Study of the Union and Confederate Armies at Antietam --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Jeffry D. Wert is the author of seven previous books on Civil War topics, most recently The Sword of Lincoln. He lives in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, about an hour from the battlefield at Gettysburg. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
It is a wonderful story of the military life of a great strategist and tactician, and does a superb job of describing this very complex man; with all of his human defects and strength. Since childhood he has been my favorite Civil War character, but I have always thought of him as pure and virtuous in all things. Wert paints a realistic picture of the man, and while
I found myself being disappointed with some of his actions regarding colleagues I concluded that, at only 30 years of age, he had to be a genius tactician with a natural intuition regarding movement and placement of his forces to bring about the best result. There is no doubt of the extent of research done by Wert, its tremendous, but at the same time,
you are easily reading a novel-like story of Stuart's life. I haven't read the other biographies on Stuart, but after this one, I do not feel the need to. Congratulations Mr. Wert. I couldn't recommend this work any more. Read it.
Wert has produced a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining biography, weaving into one story, occasional humor and amusing tidbits with the tragic stories of brother fighting brother, father-in-law fighting son-in-law, a deep faith in God and at the same time bitter hatred produced by differing loyalties. Some books make me impatient to get on with the story when the author chases a rabbit, but Wert has gently taken this reader by the hand while he examines short descriptions of other important leaders and seemingly unrelated details, and provides insightful observations into military life and the nature of men and war.
Wert is an entirely sympathetic biographer for Stuart, and yet he does not hesitate to point out errors in judgment, or lapses in attentiveness to his job, such as just prior to and at Antietam, and Gettysburg, thereby gaining credibility as a historian. He also reveals and explores the irony of a man with deep faith in God and traditional morality who could be so unforgiving to those, even of his family, who thought otherwise than he did or who opposed his plans in the field. Stuart was a man who loved the "society" of beautiful women as is pointed out often, but without implying that he was unfaithful to his wife, or denying the possibility that he might have been. At the same time, he was revealed to be a man devoted to his wife and children. He was also a man with a very strong and assertive ego, eager for and needing recognition, revealing frustration and disappointment when he did not get it. Yet, after all, for all his high ideals, he was still a man and one whom Wert neither glorifies nor overly scorns.
Wert also is convincing in presenting Stuart as probably the best cavalry officer the world ever knew. He was duly acclaimed as such both during his service, and especially after his death in May, 1864. And, as all strong-willed leaders will be from time to time, he was reviled by subordinates who didn't like his leadership methods or orders, and by a handful of other generals, some because of their own egos and some because of conflicting leadership styles. In the end, only one of James Ewell Brown Stuart's detractors, Thomas Rosser, did not seem devastated by his death. Wert captured his final days and hours well. I knew what was coming, yet I found myself in tears when it arrived. He (Wert) played my sympathies well. Stuart was a great man and a strong patriot on the losing side of history. He could not win, but neither did I want him to lose. I like the summary Wert used:
"Stuart had been the Confederacy's knight-errant, the bold and dashing cavalier, attired in a resplendent uniform, plumed hat and cape. Amid a slaughterhouse, he had embodied chivalry, clinging to the pageantry of a long-gone warrior. He crafted the image carefully, and the image befitted him. He saw himself as the Southern people envisaged him. They needed a knight; he needed to be that knight."
I was also entertained on a purely personal level by what I refer to as my spell checker mind and the occasional glitches that show up in today's electronic products because of the quirks of "Spell Check". The following sentence was at first confusing then laughable: "With only a few hours left before down, Lee and Jackson lay dawn to sleep amid a grove of pine trees." (page 221, 2nd paragraph) What some people find annoying, I often find entertaining. It was the only glitch of any sort that I found in this wonderful book. I highly recommend it.
Five Stars for excellence of story telling and balance.
Stuart received criticism for his performance at Gettysburg, but much of that actually belongs to Gen. R. Lee who made the decision - against his better judgment - to stand and fight on those three days in July 1863.
As one who has been researching JEB Stuart I found this book to be a valuable resource and to give a different perspective on the young Virginian who led the Confederate cavalry for two busy years before his untimely death at Yellow Tavern.
I love learning about the Southern generals and view them in the highest respect. I read some of the other reviews and they indicate that several books give praise and can find no fault in Stuart (which I happen to like in my own little world), Wert doesn't paint Stuart as a God like other authors do, he is very respectful in how he handles situations. He puts the facts out there and lets you determine his character, which still remains in a positive light. He shares the good, the neutral and some of the negative about Stuart and his character. As far as I am concerned, he doesn't have any bias towards or against Stuart. Its a very clean and clear-cut book. Not a lot of fluff, but plenty of information and interesting facts.
Jeffrey Wert is one of the better Civil War historians around these days. When he first wrote books on the Civil War, he was (if memory serves correctly) teaching high school in Pennsylvania. He's become very prominent for his accounts of various battles and campaigns, mostly in the Eastern theater. He's also written the occasional biography, and this current book is one of those. It adds considerably to our understanding of Stuart and his relationships with those under his command.
Stuart was, as I said above, a very good light cavalry officer, one who understood the art of gleaning information from scouting reports and interpreting partial information into clear conclusions. He was the first senior officer of cavalry in the Confederate army defending Richmond (Johnston called it the Army of the Potomac; Robert E. Lee preferred the name Army of Northern Virginia) and he served in that capacity, with one short temporary interruption, until his death in the spring of 1864. For most of that period he served intelligently and very competently. The two exceptions are his temporary service as head of the 2nd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, which occurred after Stonewall Jackson's death, and A.P. Hill's wounding, at the battle of Chancellorsville. Stuart competently and skilfully deployed his regiments, and led them in battle very well. It's often been speculated what would have happened at Gettysburg if Jackson had survived his wound at Chancellorsville; another interesting alternative would be Stuart getting command of Jackson's Corps, and leading it at Gettysburg. Would Stuart have balked at attacking Cemetery Hill on the night of July 1? We'll never know...
This book has a great many interesting information in it, and does a good job of recounting the various battles and campaigns that Stuart's cavalry were involved in. The author spends a great deal of time discussing various issues involving the Army of Northern Virginia's cavalry. Command disputes tended to center on Stuart's favoritism towards various soldiers from Virginia, and especially towards Lee's family. Wert says that while most thought the general's son Rooney was a decent cavalry general, there was considerable negative opinion regarding Fitz Lee, the general's nephew. Wert also outlines the disputes between Stuart and Wade Hampton, W.E. "Grumble" Jones, and Thomas Rosser, with Rosser coming out by far the worst of the three men.
The author also devotes considerable attention to his subject's private life; you learn a lot about the general's wife, and something about their children (mostly in the last chapter, which takes you beyond Stuart's death). There's a lengthy discussion of Stuart's father-in-law (who stayed loyal to the Union, in spite of being from Virginia, and served in the Union army during much of the war), and of the family relations during the war and after.
This is quite a good book, full of new information, well-written and informative. I would recommend it to most any Civil War buff, or historian.