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Wert (The Sword of Lincoln) adds to his status as a top-ranking Civil War scholar in this excellent biography of the Confederacy's best-known cavalry general. Jeb Stuart's reputation has faded somewhat in recent years, particularly for his alleged failures during the Gettysburg campaign. Wert integrates comprehensive archival and printed sources to describe a man shaped by a zest for life, religious faith and devotion to duty, who from his youth sought achievement and recognition. Soldiering promised both. The initial dominance of Confederate cavalry in the east during the Civil War was a product of Stuart's skills as leader and organizer, trainer and tactician. Above all he was a master at reconnaissance and screening. His decision at Gettysburg to ride around the Union army instead of rejoining Robert E. Lee was a mistake. But its serious consequences were in good part due to Lee's dependence on his now-absent source of reconnaissance, and the Union cavalry's ability to learn from repeated defeat at Stuart's hands. Wert's biography goes far in restoring Stuart's claim to be "the greatest cavalry officer ever foaled in America." 8 pages of b&w photos; maps. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.