Born to Battle: Grant and Forrest--Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga

Born to Battle: Grant and Forrest--Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga

by Jack Hurst
     
 

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From the author of the acclaimed Men of Fire, the next stage of the clash between Union general Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate hero Nathan Bedford Forrest, following these opposing giants through the brutal twenty months that decided the Civil WaSee more details below

Overview


From the author of the acclaimed Men of Fire, the next stage of the clash between Union general Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate hero Nathan Bedford Forrest, following these opposing giants through the brutal twenty months that decided the Civil Wa

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hurst (Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography) juxtaposes Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan Bedford Forrest during the period when each began demonstrating the abilities that made them respected opponents. They first faced each other at Shiloh in April 1862. By the summer of 1863, Forrest had developed a reputation as the western Confederacy’s “wizard of the saddle,” master of the lightning strike and the long-distance raid. Grant was established as an artist of maneuver. His feints and slashes had confounded his opponents and culminated in the capture of Vicksburg. At Chattanooga he showed he could fight and win a head-to-head battle as well. Making sophisticated use of archival and printed sources, Hurst maintains that the marginalization of Forrest, a blacksmith’s son, by a Confederacy insisting on “blue-blood leadership” was “a chief cause of the Confederacy’s death.” The Union, by contrast, made effective use of the equally lowborn and unpolished Grant. Both, Hurst asserts, exemplified the common men who did most of the war’s dying. Both understood what soldiers could do in particular situations. And both were accustomed by peacetime hardship to the fears and anxieties of wartime command. The comparison, if not entirely convincing, is original and provocative. Photos. Agent: Deborah Grosvenor, Grosvenor Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher

Ernest B. Furgurson, author of Chancellorsville 1863 and Not War But Murder: Cold Harbor 1864
“In a finely wrought battle narrative and character study, Jack Hurst shows how two men seemingly so different—one flamboyant and daring, the other solid and determined—became great soldiers by struggling not only against their enemies, but against their own inner demons.”

Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country
“It is rare indeed to have a writer like Jack Hurst, both a careful and meticulous historian and a first-rate storyteller. Born to Battle is what Jack Hurst does best. Drawing on many years of examination and research, Hurst has laid out the details of history as if he were crafting an epic myth. Grant and Forrest come alive as they take on the roles of the very human giants of the war, battling through the western campaign in what would be the death knell of the Confederacy. Hurst’s epic tale of history gives us a better understanding of why the war would be won or lost far from borders of Virginia.”

Gordon C. Rhea, author of Carrying the Flag
“Jack Hurst’s Born to Battle brings the American Civil War’s Western Theater alive through dramatic portraits of Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan B. Forrest. The product of working-class backgrounds, each general approached warfare with a uniquely American blend of cunning, resourcefulness, and resolve—traits that both contributed to their successes and baffled their superiors. Masterfully recounted, this gripping tale will enthrall seasoned Civil War buffs and history novices alike.”

John F. Marszalek, Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Mississippi State University, and Executive Director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association
“Not all readers will agree with everything Jack Hurst says, but they will find the argument intriguing that a commoner won the Civil War because his side gave him the chance, while the Confederacy lost because it kept its most talented commoner at arms length.”

Publishers Weekly
“Making sophisticated use of archival and printed sources, Hurst maintains that the marginalization of Forrest, a blacksmith’s son, by a Confederacy insisting on ‘blue-blood leadership’ was ‘a chief cause of the Confederacy’s death.’ The Union, by contrast, made effective use of the equally lowborn and unpolished Grant. Both, Hurst asserts, exemplified the common men who did most of the war’s dying. Both understood what soldiers could do in particular situations. And both were accustomed by peacetime hardship to the fears and anxieties of wartime command. The comparison…is original and provocative.”

American History
“[A] well-told take on a great face-off.”

Kirkus Reviews
“A lively narrative of the Civil War’s Western theatre, too often overshadowed by the better known armies and battles in the East.... Hurst amply illustrates the misery visited upon Tennessee and Mississippi as the armies moved back and forth across the land, along with the backbiting, blunders and inflated egos that abounded in both armies.”

Star-Ledger
Born to Battle is smoothly readable, packed with details of battles from contemporary sources.... It makes clear that much of the difference between [Grant and Forrest] was the smooth way Grant got past bad supervision and rivals, and the dyspeptic bad temper that kept Forrest from rising higher.”

Charleston Post & Courier
“Hurst’s writing style has an easy story like quality to it.... Readers will appreciate the work. They also will appreciate that it is a subject treated with a unique perspective on these two soldiers and their rise to prominence in the western theater of the Civil War.”

Kirkus Reviews
A lively narrative of the Civil War's Western theatre, too often overshadowed by the better known armies and battles in the East. Historian Hurst (Men of Fire: Grant, Forrest, and the Campaign That Decided the Civil War, 2007, etc.) continues the work he began in Men of Fire, following the careers of Ulysses S. Grant and Nathan Bedford Forrest from Shiloh to the defense of Chattanooga. These biographies appear together in support of his thesis that both generals were of working-class origin but "Northern inclusiveness permitted the rise of Grant...while Southern insularity predestined the Confederacy to squander the brilliance of Forrest, whose fertile brain and vicious valor might have helped fashion an opposite outcome." This appears to be a stretch, however; it is not clear that given greater command, Forrest could have done more to turn the Union tide. Further, Grant was a West Point graduate, while Forrest was a nearly unlettered former slave trader who spoke "primitive English." These differences would have been significant in any officer class, but Forrest nevertheless achieved the rank of major general. He appears here as a brilliant, determined, crude and insubordinate warrior, chafing under snubs from the aristocratic Gen. Braxton Bragg, who considered him "nothing more than a good raider" despite his spectacular exploits against superior forces. Grant, the stolid but surprisingly resourceful commander, suffered under similar prejudices on the part of his superior, Gen. Henry Halleck, but ultimately brought Halleck around through battlefield success and their shared opposition to the scheming politician Gen. John McClernand. Hurst amply illuminates the misery visited upon Tennessee and Mississippi as the armies moved back and forth across the land, along with the backbiting, blunders and inflated egos that abounded in both armies. Particularly recommended for fans of the controversial Forrest.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465020188
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
05/29/2012
Pages:
512
Sales rank:
662,770
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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