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Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and…
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Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson (original 2014; edition 2015)

by S. C. Gwynne (Author)

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6291237,470 (4.41)16
Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country's greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson's strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged. He was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future. In April 1862, Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked -- hope -- and struck fear into the hearts of the Union. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson's private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson's brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.… (more)
Member:MINUSMASC
Title:Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson
Authors:S. C. Gwynne (Author)
Info:Scribner (2015), Edition: Reprint, 688 pages
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Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne (2014)

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Kindle is ok
  ianhastings | Jan 8, 2023 |
First off, let me say that I absolutely love anything and everything to do with The Civil War (even going so far as to marrying a man who grew up outside Gettysburg). That said, I was excited to read this book, and I must say that I was not disappointed.

This is truly an exceptional book about an exceptional human being. Mr. Gwynne does an excellent job of detailing not only the life of General Jackson, but also the lives of the people around him; the events that shaped his life; and the events of this sad, but necessary, war.

I did not know the sad circumstances surrounding General Jackson's early life: his father passing when he was but a child, his mother's remarriage and subsequent death, and his being "farmed out" to relatives. He was at least lucky enough to be welcomed into a family that truly loved him. He had an early marriage to Ellen, which ended abruptly when she died after giving birth to a stillborn son; but he was fortunate enough to find love again and from all appearances and letters which have survived to this day, they truly loved one another, eventually having a daughter, Julia - of which the general was indeed fond.

He was a professor of physics at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), from which he left to continue his military career; and extremely religious, which he carried with him in his day-to-day life: when his first wife Ellen passed away, he was comforted in the knowledge that she was with God, but it did not, in turn, keep him from deep grief. Yet he never let his beliefs keep him from what he thought was his military duty: he was a stern officer and rigorous commander, unpredictable; yet at the same time, he could be extremely caring toward his men. He was thoughtful, kind, tender and sensitive toward his family and friends; and while he kept to himself, he also was a loving and gentle husband when he was with Anna (his second wife). He believed himself ill quite often, keeping to a rigorous diet of stale bread and water, very little meat; never even to have been known to drink tea or coffee.

It is a testament to Jackson that when he was mortally wounded his troops refused to leave him behind. He was hit three times, and when the battle was still raging, his aide covered Jackson with his own body to protect him. It could not, however, save him. His wife was sent for, and on May 10, 1863, the country lost one of the greatest generals that ever lived.

The descriptions of campaigns and troop movements are done beautifully; Mr. Gwynne has definitely given us images of what once occurred during those dark times, and the lives that were lost; the well-known battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Second Bull Run, and his unfortunate death. Southern general he was, but a brilliant one nevertheless. Had he lived, there might have been more deaths for the northern fighters. He was widely known due to his exceptional performance at the Valley Campaign.

I have always been fascinated with General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson; not only for his prowess in battle, but for the man he was, his clear eyes showing everything. I am a firm believer that the eyes truly are the windows to the soul; and his reveal everything that has been shown here in this narrative. I do not know what more I can say except to stress that this book is indeed worth reading. Highly recommended for anyone who is interested in the Civil War and/or its commanders. ( )
  joannefm2 | Jun 1, 2020 |
This was a great non-fiction book about the esteemed general. It shows his life, thinking, personality, and courage amidst a series of institutions in the south that challenged the very face of what he believed in. The battles were a bit complex to follow, but ultimately the book shows the man behind the legend, the glass behind the mirror. A worthwhile book and one that I am glad that I read.

4 stars! ( )
  DanielSTJ | May 31, 2019 |
I read a lot of biographies. As a student of history, I have found that biographies, many times, are the best way to assess historical events. I am in the midst of reading a string of biographies, some of which are too scholarly for my taste while others read a little too simple. This biography of Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson struck exactly the right chord with me. It was well researched and presented, while at the same time, being captivating and intriguing.

I was a student at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, so was well aware of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and the legacy of both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Both men spent time in Lexington and are interred there.

Jackson was an exceptionally strange man. He suffered from a number of personal and professional quirks. However, there has seldom been a man more suited for the historical events that confronted him than Jackson. Winston Churchill comes to mind as a similar figure in that respect. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, Jackson went from being an absolute failure as a college professor at VMI, to the most celebrated military figure in the world at the conclusion of his brilliant Valley Campaign.

Though a prickly figure who had extremely poor interpersonal skills, Jackson somehow motivated the men under his command to accomplish near impossible feats of military maneuver and tactic while most other generals, in both armies, failed miserably in that regard. His flanking maneuver at Chancellorsville, which ultimately led to his death, was one of the seminal tactical maneuvers in American military history. Many surmise that Jackson’s presence on the Gettysburg battlefield would have almost certainly led to a different military result.

This book follows Jackson from childhood to his death, soon after the Battle of Chancellorsville, but it includes an appendix that documents the events that followed as well as the historical figures that played a role in his life. It is not a comprehensive treatment of the Civil War itself, only those battles in which Jackson participated, and how they impacted the bigger strategic outlook of the conflict. ( )
  santhony | Mar 1, 2018 |
Gwynne is a good writer, and this is an engaging account of Stonewall Jackson's life and career. It is not done in a linear fashion. It is mainly an account of his career in the Civil War with flashbacks to his early life, his cadetship at West Point, his exploits in the US-Mexican War, his career at VMI, his personal life, his religious life. Etc.

Gwynne's account is not hagiographic, but definitely heroic. Gwynne does not shy away from mentioning Jackson the slaveowner, Jackson the hypochondriac, Jackson the moralizing drudge, Jackson the stubborn disciplinarian, etc. But Gwynne's Jackson is still a great man, a flawed man like us all, but a great man. How this might go over in the academic-political-journalism complex, I can only guess. (Jackson the slave driver, Jackson the Confederate, Jackson the religious nut, Jackson the traitor, Jackson the butcher, etc.) But Gwynne, though a journalist, is writing a good, old-fashioned narrative biography for the general readership. The type of book that used to be standard, but is now looked down upon.

So, take that into account. This is a good, readable, engaging narrative biography of Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson.

4.5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  tuckerresearch | Jan 21, 2018 |
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Epigraph
And yet the only man of those men who pass With a strange, secretive grain of harsh poetry Hidden so deep in the stony sides of his heart That it shines by flashes only and then is gone, It glitters in his last words.   - Stephen Vincent Benet, "John Brown's Body"
He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under his feet. . . . He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. - Psalm 18
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For my wife, Katie, and my daughter. Maizie
First words
(Prologue) On the brilliantly clear afternoon of June 19, 1862, in the second year of the great Civil War, a well-dressed, bespectacled Confederate congressman with a trim beard named Alexander Robinson Boteler stood on a platform at the train station in Charlottesville, Virginia.
For Thomas J Jackson the war started precisely at 12:30 p.m. on the afternoon of April 21, 1861, in the small Shenandoah Valley town of Lexington, Virginia.
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Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country's greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson's strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged. He was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future. In April 1862, Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked -- hope -- and struck fear into the hearts of the Union. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson's private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson's brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.

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