Joshua L. Chamberlain: The Life in Letters of a Great Leader of the American Civil War

Joshua L. Chamberlain: The Life in Letters of a Great Leader of the American Civil War

by Thomas Desjardin, The National Civil War Museum
     
 

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His life is a remarkable story of perseverance, tragedy and triumph. From an insecure young man with a considerable stutter who grew up in a small town in eastern Maine, Joshua Chamberlain rose to become a major general, recipient of the Medal of Honor, Governor of Maine and President of Bowdoin College. His writings are among the most oft-quoted of all Civil War

Overview

His life is a remarkable story of perseverance, tragedy and triumph. From an insecure young man with a considerable stutter who grew up in a small town in eastern Maine, Joshua Chamberlain rose to become a major general, recipient of the Medal of Honor, Governor of Maine and President of Bowdoin College. His writings are among the most oft-quoted of all Civil War memoirs, and he has become a legendary, even mythical historical figure. In 1995, the National Civil War Museum acquired a collection of approximately three hundred letters written by or sent to Chamberlain from his college years in 1852 to his death in 1914. Author Thomas Desjardin puts Chamberlain's words in contemporary and historical context and uses this extraordinary collection of letters to reveal - for the first time - the full and remarkable life of Joshua Chamberlain

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Numnerous bookshave been written about this American hero, but few have revealed his more human qualities than this collection of letters from his personal correspondence.” —Bill Bushnell, New Maine Times (January 30, 2013)

“Joshua Chamberlain (1828-1914) may be Maine's most recognized historical figure and for good reason -- he was a selfless man of honor, loyalty, courage and compassion. And his personal correspondence clearly reflects those laudable qualities in this revealing book sponsored by the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.” —Bill Bushnell, Kennebec Journal (January 17, 2013)

“Tom Desjardin has accomplished something remarkable, excavating afresh treasures from the heavily mined Chamberlain archive. Scholars, fans, aficionados--indeed, anyone interested in the Civil War--will learn much about one of Maine's favorite sons and a hero to many Americans. The Chamberlain uncovered in these pages is no stereotype, but a complex man, whose virtues and failings vastly enrich our portrait of him. With sensitivity and wit, Desjardin offers us a new Chamberlain--perhaps less heroic than the one we know, but ultimately far more human. In the process, he adds much to our understanding not just of the Civil War, but of American life in the Victorian era.” —Patrick Rael, Professor of History, Bowdoin College

“The bayonet brought Joshua Chamberlain lasting fame, but his pen is why he should be remembered. His beautifully crafted letters convey a deep and resilient love for Union that sustained him in the ranks. While soldiers on both sides succumbed to the brutal indifference of military life, ideas shielded Chamberlain's soul, preventing him from becoming a cold and callous veteran. The exceptional correspondence contained in Joshua L. Chamberlain: A Life in Letters brings us down from the hero-worshiping altar of Little Round Top to the ground level of war where the Civil War's most famous Union colonel managed to find higher meaning in the daily struggles of trying to survive a bloody Civil War.” —Peter S. Carmichael, Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director, Civil War Institute

“Many know Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, the 'hero of Little Round Top' and icon of Gettysburg, well, but relatively little about the life of the real Joshua Chamberlain. This marvelous collection of letters reveals to us the person concealed behind the myth and legend. They do not diminish his stature; rather they enhance it. Chamberlain was a remarkable man and lived an eventful, fascinating life. Enjoy the letters and meet the man.” —D. Scott Hartwig, Historian, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

“Given that the past twenty-five years have seen Joshua L. Chamberlain rise in popularity to almost mythic proportions, this wonderful collection of his previously unknown and unpublished personal letters will be essential reading for his fans. They reveal more of the inner man than anything to come to print to date, and his letters immediately after the battles at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg will be pored over by scholars. A first-rate contribution to the literature of the war.” —William C. Davis, Professor of History, Virginia Tech University, and author of Battle of Bull Run and Lone Star Rising

“This compilation of letters may just be the most important book published on Chamberlain in recent memory.” —Robert Grandchamp, Blue & Gray Magazine

“A valuable volume, primarily for those who wish to know more about Joshua Chamberlain than just his iconic performance at Gettysburg.” —Judkin Browning, Civil War Book Review

“...[a] timely addition to the literature of the Civil War, appearing as it does on the 150th anniversary of Joshua Chamberlain's entry into the Union Army.” —Michael Burlingame, author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life, in a review for The Wall Street Journal (July 22, 2012)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780964263
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
05/20/2012
Series:
General Military
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
692,840
File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Thomas Desjardin currently serves as an adjunct professor of History, University of Maine at Augusta, and as historian, Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands. Previously, he was a Gilder Lehrman Fellow in American History, archivist/historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, and historian for Greystone Communications,an Emmy Award-winning company that produces historical books, films, and videos. Desjardin also served as historical advisor to actor Jeff Daniels for his role as Joshua Chamberlain in the Turner Pictures feature film Gettysburg. The National Civil War Museum is the largest museum in the world dedicated solely to the American Civil War. The Museum offers a variety of educational offerings each year to the public including living histories, presentations, dinner lectures, book signings, displays, new exhibits, period music performance, an intern program, and a children's summer camp. www.nationalcivilwarmuseum.org.

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