John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General

John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General

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by Stephen M. Hood
     
 

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WINNER of the 2014 ALBERT CASTEL BOOK AWARD and the 2014 WALT WHITMAN AWARD
John Bell Hood was one of the Confederacy’s most successful—and enigmatic—generals. He died at 48 after a brief illness in August of 1879, leaving behind the first draft of his memoirs Advance and Retreat: Personal Experiences in the United States and Confederate States

Overview

WINNER of the 2014 ALBERT CASTEL BOOK AWARD and the 2014 WALT WHITMAN AWARD
John Bell Hood was one of the Confederacy’s most successful—and enigmatic—generals. He died at 48 after a brief illness in August of 1879, leaving behind the first draft of his memoirs Advance and Retreat: Personal Experiences in the United States and Confederate States Armies. Published posthumously the following year, the memoirs immediately became as controversial as their author. A careful and balanced examination of these “controversies,” however, coupled with the recent discovery of Hood’s personal papers (which were long considered lost) finally sets the record straight in John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General.

Outlived by most of his critics, Hood’s published version of many of the major events and controversies of his Confederate military career were met with scorn and skepticism. Some described his memoirs as nothing more than a polemic against his arch-rival Joseph E. Johnston. These unflattering opinions persisted throughout the decades and reached their nadir in 1992, when an influential author described Hood’s memoirs as “merely a bitter, misleading, and highly distorted treatise” replete with “distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsifications.” Without any personal papers to contradict them, many historians and writers portrayed Hood as an inept and dishonest opium addict and a conniving, vindictive cripple of a man. One writer went so far as to brand him “a fool with a license to kill his own men.” What most readers don’t know is that nearly all of these authors misused sources, ignored contrary evidence, and/or suppressed facts sympathetic to Hood.

Stephen M. “Sam” Hood, a distant relative of the general, embarked on a meticulous forensic study of the common perceptions and controversies of his famous kinsman. His careful examination of the original sources utilized to create the broadly accepted “facts” about John Bell Hood uncovered startlingly poor scholarship by some of the most well-known and influential historians of the 20th and 21st centuries. These discoveries, coupled with his access to a large cache of recently discovered Hood papers—many penned by generals and other officers who served with Hood—confirm Hood’s account that originally appeared in his memoir and resolve, for the first time, some of the most controversial aspects of Hood’s long career.

“Blindly accepting historical ‘truths’ without vigorous challenge,” cautions one historian, “is a perilous path to understanding real history.” The shocking revelations in John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General will forever change our perceptions of Hood as both a man and a general, and those who set out to shape his legacy.

REVIEWS

“The time is right for Sam Hood’s book. Another way of looking at it is, my, what we have learned since the Civil War’s Centennial fifty years ago.” - Stephen Davis, Civil War author

“John Bell Hood was one of few Confederate generals who held important commands in both Virginia and the Confederate West. Given command of the defense of Atlanta, Hood fought to hold the city but failed. He later led the army in the unsuccessful Tennessee Campaign, where he was unable to cut off Schofield’s Union army at Spring Hill, was bloodily repulsed the next day at Franklin, and routed two weeks later at Nashville. Historians and writers since then have denied Hood his day in court, thus shaping a very negative opinion of the general. But Sam Hood’s scholarship in John Bell Hood has shown that contemporary views of Hood were often much different from the perpetuated stereotypes. His study demonstrates anew the complexity of history and the importance of impartiality by those who write it.” - Brandon H. Beck, Professor Emeritus, McCormick Civil War Institute, Shenandoah University

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611211405
Publisher:
Savas Beatie
Publication date:
08/02/2013
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,321,099
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

Brandon H. Beck

John Bell Hood was one of few Confederate generals who held important commands in both Virginia and the Confederate West. Given command of the defense of Atlanta, Hood fought to hold the city but failed. He later led the army in the unsuccessful Tennessee Campaign, where he was unable to cut off Schofield's Union army at Spring Hill, was bloodily repulsed the next day at Franklin, and routed two weeks later at Nashville. Historians and writers since then have denied Hood his day in court, thus shaping a very negative opinion of the general. But Sam Hood's scholarship in John Bell Hood has shown that contemporary views of Hood were often much different from the perpetuated stereotypes. His study demonstrates anew the complexity of history and the importance of impartiality by those who write it.
— Brandon H. Beck, Professor Emeritus, McCormick Civil War Institute, Shenandoah University

Stephen Davis

The time is right for Sam Hood's book. Another way of looking at it is, my, what we have learned since the Civil War's Centennial fifty years ago.
— Stephen Davis, Civil War author

Meet the Author

Stephen M. “Sam” Hood is a graduate of Kentucky Military Institute, Marshall University (bachelor of arts, 1976), and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

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John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
DavidMarshall More than 1 year ago
John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General is an attempt by a second cousin to the general to provide many examples of factual errors, inaccurate and misleading paraphrasing of primary sources, and the apparent concealment of historical facts by numerous 19th and 20th century leading authors and influential historians. Stephen M. Hood points out that writer mistakes have often occurred after using secondary sources that misrepresent John Hood’s supporters in and out of the Confederate army during the 19th century. He points out throughout the manuscript that the views of influential Northern and Southern Generals have been taken out of context at times due to bias and selective disclosure of historical evidence. Mr. Hood has written an important new book that some will call a revisionist biography with a prejudiced point of view on an important Southern general that some characterize as one of the top ten best and worst generals that fought in the American Civil War. One of this book’s purposes is to portray many Civil War sites such as Rippavilla Plantation in Spring Hill, the Carter House and Carnton Plantation in Franklin and Traveller’s Rest Nashville as portraying Hood in a negative and inconsistent characterization. This writer has attempted to show that this universal conclusion is illogical and wrong. While this study is critical of the historiography of many living and dead historians, Sam Hood fails to accept anything that is derogative to his famous ancestor. He is extremely judgmental of scholarship that he deems undisciplined and dishonest. While this writers purpose is his alone as he indicated in the narrative, it seems at times to goes way beyond what most research accepts as professional and can be viewed at times as having an extremely slanted portrayal of the general’s critics. This author mentioned that he supports using first person accounts and primary source documents such as the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion in order to demonstrate the correct portrayal of his ancestor but yet he readily admits to relying on secondary source articles and essays written by other individuals. He writes that he has tried to be fair and objective in any criticism of any author but seems at times to be extremely judgmental is his conclusions. This 334 page easy to read volume was published by Savas Beatie in 2013. This exciting, worthwhile and well researched title has bottom of page endnotes, photos and maps located throughout the book, and an index. The bibliography includes information from newspapers, periodicals, newsletters, manuscripts and collections, films, the internet and many books. Additionally, this work has used recently discovered personal papers of General Hood which he demonstrates are most revealing. Helpful to readers are three appendices; Excerpts from Advance and retreat by John Bell Hood, “An Eloquent Tribute to the Memory of the Late Gen. J. B. Hood” and Jefferson Davis on Joe Johnston: Excerpt to the Confederate Congress. This is a worth while written account that can be utilized by scholars, serious students and read by armchair casual novices. Hood has written a new approach and revealing study of this important and patriotic American who commanded troops in both the Eastern and Western theaters during this important period of history. This reviewer highly recommends this book to be added to the knap sack of any Civil War buff.