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Posted May 16, 2001
Groom's exploration of Hood's march into Tennessee of 1864 is a fair, but not good, analysis of the last major offensive operation by the Confederate army in the western theater.<P> The reader is initially bogged-down in an excessive summary of prior battles of the Civil War. The author spends too much time reviewing Vicksburg, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville (where neither Sherman nor Hood were involved), etc., with more time spent in this background than is necessary to 'set the stage' for the main topic. <P> There also exists some editing failures such as at the beginning of Chapter 10, describing Stephen Lee's artillery being 4 miles to the east of Hood's pontoon bridge, where actually Hood's flanking force was itself east of Columbia with S. Lee's artillery facing the town.<P> Groom also spends a rather tiresome interlude describing Hood's quest for the hand of an indecisive flirt in Richmond (Buck Preston). The tangible effects of this courtship on, and its contribution to, the Nashville Campaign of 1864, I have yet to surmise. Groom in a number of places in the book pursues a literary style invoking 'flashbacks' to prior events while describing the current topic that, while adding color to a fictional novel, serves to confuse and needlessly distract a history reader's attention to detail.<P> The Nashville Campaign of 1864 is a story that needs telling, but would be better told by an experienced history author.
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