Never Call Retreat

( 19 )

Overview

The New York Times bestselling authors of Gettysburg continue their inventive series with this remarkable answer to the great "what-if" of the American Civil War:

After his great victories at Gettysburg and Union Mills, General Robert E. Lee's attempt to bring the war to an end by attacking Washington, D.C., fails. However, in securing Washington, the remnants of the valiant Union Army of the Potomac are trapped and destroyed. For Lincoln, ...

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Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling authors of Gettysburg continue their inventive series with this remarkable answer to the great "what-if" of the American Civil War:

After his great victories at Gettysburg and Union Mills, General Robert E. Lee's attempt to bring the war to an end by attacking Washington, D.C., fails. However, in securing Washington, the remnants of the valiant Union Army of the Potomac are trapped and destroyed. For Lincoln, there is only one hope left, that General Ulysses S. Grant can save the Union cause.

It is August 22, 1863. Pursuing the Union troops up to the banks of the Susquehanna, Lee is caught off balance when news arrives that Grant, in command of over seventy thousand men, has crossed that same river. The two armies finally collide in Central Maryland and a bloody weeklong battle ensues along the banks of Monocacy Creek. This must be the "final" battle for both sides.

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  • Never Call Retreat
    Never Call Retreat  

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With each book in their ongoing alternate history cycle, Gingrich and Forstchen have gone from strength to strength as storytellers."—William Trotter, The Charlotte Observer

"The authors' research is impeccable…the reader is left believing it could really have happened this way."—Booklist

The Charlotte Observer William Trotter

With each book in their ongoing alternate history cycle, Gingrich and Forstchen have gone from strength to strength as storytellers.
Booklist

The authors' research is impeccable…the reader is left believing it could really have happened this way.
Kirkus Reviews
What if the Civil War had ended in the summer of 1863? Those who suspect that former Speaker of the House Gingrich's politics hinge on getting even for Appomattox may be surprised to read in the pages of this tome, the third volume in his conscripted Civil War trilogy (Gettysburg, 2003; Grant Comes East, 2004), that the North's superiority lay in the unified power of the federal government: "That is the paradox and the curse of their system even more than ours, states' rights," says Union politico Elihu Washburne, though that may just be co-author Forstchen talking. The premise is this: on the third day of Gettysburg, Lee realizes that it would be a waste to send Pickett's men against the well-protected foe, orders a wheeling action, and carries the day. As this installment picks up, the rebels threaten to torch Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania. The Yankees, spurred by U.S. Grant, are gathering strength; Sickles's boys beat up on Pickett's division, poor lads, but Sickles falls; and Lee's forces turn to the foot of Maryland's Catoctin Mountains to face down McPherson's opposing army. In the ensuing bloodbath, George Custer is felled by an exploding railcar ("Damn rotten place to die, he thought. Out in the open, after a damn good charge. That's how I wanted it, Custer's Last Charge"), lots of Billy Yanks and Johnny Rebs die, and the contending armies drain each other's veins. And yet, and yet, the North has reserves and industry, the South now nothing, and in August 1863, there at Monocracy Junction, Lee realizes that he has nothing left to fight with. With Grant's generous surrender terms in hand-among them a promise that, with Southerners back in office, the unified federal governmentwill resume come January 1864-Lee makes his way back to Richmond, and the U.S. lives happily ever after. Reasonably well-written and plausible, with excellent period photographs as a bonus. Still, there's so much good Civil War history to read that this what-if exercise seems more than a touch unnecessary.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312949310
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/3/2007
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 339,816
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.69 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Newt Gingrich

NEWT GINGRICH, former Speaker of the House, is the author of several bestselling books, including Gettysburg and Grant Comes East. He is a member of the Defense Policy Board and co-chair of the UN Task Force, is the longest-serving teacher of the Joint War Fighting course for Major Generals, served in Congress for twenty years, and was Time magazine's 1995 "Man of the Year." He is also the founder of the Center for Health Transformation. He resides in Virginia with his wife, Callista. The Gingrich family includes two daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren.


WILLIAM R. FORSTCHEN, Ph.D.,
is a Faculty Fellow at Montreat College in Montreat, North Carolina. He received his doctorate from Purdue University and specialized in the American Civil War. He is the author of more than forty books, including the award-winning We Look Like Men of War, a young-adult novel about an African-American regiment that fought at the Battle of the Crater; which is based upon his doctoral dissertation. William is a pilot and currently restoring a replica of a P-51 Mustang. He resides near Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Sharon, and daughter, Meghan.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 19 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    Excellent!

    Although I deplore Mr. Gingrich's politics and had real reservations about buying this book and the two that came before it because I thought that the subject wouldn't be treated in a calm, reasoned manner, I am very happy to admit that I was completely surprised and pleased with the whole trilogy. I literally lost sleep because I couldn't put them down.

    Some of the dialog seemed a little forced, but not enough to detract from the overall work at all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2006

    Excellent read, fast paced, believable

    I enjoyed all three books in the trilogy and found the stategic and political situation very believable. Differences in men and material do not play as significant a role as they did in the actual conflict. In this alternative history, the armies are more evenly matched. Both strategic planning and transportation limitations become key factors in the end. Lee stayed in Maryland because having won several major victories he could not retreat from Grant with the possibility of a final victory at hand. In addition, Sherman was destroying Bragg and the South was being gutted, a final victory in the north and the occupation of Washington D.C. were critical to the southern cause. Considering the scope of the novel, the characters are well developed and consistent with their historical personas. This is a well written alternative history.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2006

    What a sorry book

    Newt and William will be writing a new book. It will be an Alternate History of the Revolutionary War. In in the Colonies will win. Then their next book will be an Alternate History of World War I. In it the Allies will win. Then they will write a stirring novel about World War II, where the Germans win the Battle of the Bulge but lose the war. What I may ask is the point?

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2005

    Fabulous. Couldn't put it down

    This book was one of the best, and probably, the most exciting book I ever read. As a history buff, and a fan of alternate history, I have read a great deal about the Civil War. The authors show a great knowledge about both, the events and the people involved in the War. The authors in this book, have constructed an extremely plausable scenario of how the War could've taken a very different turn. I started the book and just could not put it down. In the last 150 pages, I was on the edge of my seat. (And this was after I already knew the ending. I peaked). In fiction of this kind, there is generally an effort to portray both adversaries evenly. It almost becomes the author's version of a mutual admiration society. In addition, there is usually no clear winner. In Never Call Retreat, the primary protagonists are portrayed acurately, warts and all. And there is very definately a clear winner and loser. Take my advice. Pick this one up at your bookstore. You won't be able to put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2005

    Great Read for Civil War Fans

    I read the first two of Newt's series and enjoyed the second far more than the first. I'm biased in that I thank the Lord that the North won. Anyways, the ending of the third book is what I had expected. There are side episodes for PC. Although for actual command behavior of U.S. Grant, I recommend that folks read Keegan's 'The Mask of Command'. Grant is IMHO America's greatest military commander... Great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2005

    Best of the Trilogy

    Posted for Bill Greenbaum: Never Call Retreat is the third volume of the Civil War trilogy written by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen. I read this book over a two day weekend. I could not put it down. It is a great read. The book continues an alternative scenario that started in the first volume with the clash of forward elements of the opposing armies at Gettysburg. This book continues the saga to its climax. The book is overwhelming in its detailed battle descriptions. Small unit tactics and strategic deployments are handled with equal finesse. The reader can easily transport himself back a century and a half and visualize the combatants in their glory and tragedy. The book is extremely well written. It is understandable to the civilian and satisfying to the enthusiast. It will fill the reader with emotions in a positive way. Don¿t miss it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2012

    Great book.

    I did not read the 1st in the Trilogy, Gettysburg, but read the second and third. (Grant Moves East is number two)) I really enjoyed the writing style and the authors found a great balance between history and fiction.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    History told differently

    This series (there are 3 books) tells of how history may of turned if Lee had acted on Longstreet's suggestions of going around the Union army during the Gettysburg campaign. This books starts with the actual history and then statrs the turn down the other possible track. If you are interested in a good story that could have shown a different road to the civil war then this is the series for you

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    Excellent writing

    I am a devoted fan now of the Gingrich/Forstchen historical novels. They are easy reading and make the reader feel as though they are there. It is easy to see that they are researched very well and the characters come alive. Great mixture of facts and fiction.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2007

    Preposterous

    After a nice buildup in the first 2 books of the series, the events in the last book are absurd. The series attempts to be a serious look at a realistic alternative history and then goes off base in the concluding novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2006

    Union Favoritism

    I enjoyed this book except for the fact that it was always obvious who was the favored side in the story.Grant is seen as a genius who can't do a wrong while Lee has trouble with troops and supplies.The battle scenes are descriptive though and the story is good.I liked the fist two books better because they had more suspense.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2006

    Awesome

    Great, the series shows how one decision can save and kill thousands. Good take and insight on History. Only plausable ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2006

    Forstchen loves Grant

    The title says it. Grant comes East and suddenly the Union can do nothing wrong, and the Confederates become bumblers. Lee knew the war would require a political end - the Union had far more men and material. The entire point of the 1863 campaign was to tire the Union's people of the war. In the REAL war, Grant lost more men at Wilderness and Spotsylvania in 1864 than Lee had in his entire army ! Lee had no need to remain in Maryland if he'd already destroyed the AOP (twice) - and securing his route of retreat was one of the hallmarks of his command, so assuming he'd be trapped at Monocacy is puerile. The fiction of moving Grant's entire army east in a matter of weeks needs examination, also. Do the authors expect us to believe the confederacy had no army in the west at this time ? If the Army of Tennessee moves east (and so doing, uses up all rail transport), sure, they can fight Lee - while Bragg might well have ended up in Chicago. You can't have an army facing Bragg in eastern Tennessee while also moving it to fight Lee in Maryland. Overall, the first two books of this series were far better, though if a flanking maneuver at Gettysburg was what they wanted, a better mechanism would have been for Lee to have died at Chancellorsville instead of Jackson. I had hoped for something a bit more nuanced from Gingrich, but I guess Forstchen's Grant bias had to come through sometime.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    DO Note the Difference Between Critic and Reader!

    Is it only me, or do I detect a rather strong, negative bias on the part of our (predicably)liberal critics against these books, simply because they are written by a pair of conservatives? Oh me, oh no, liberals wouldn't show unfair bias, would they? No more than you would find them working in a real job, either, for such 'work' as literacy criticism is forever populated by light weights of vindictive bent. In any event, if you love Civil War alternative history, you will love this trilogy! Why? Precisely because, for once, the confederate forces are not particularly more noble and they do NOT win in the end. My problem with more revisionists from Harry Turtledove to Harold Coyle to Bernard Cromwell, is they always seem to gravitate to the 'southern cause', which we should see as ignoble at best, twisted at mean, and racist en extremis. Too often we read books too inclined to be sympathetic to the confederate with a complete glossing over of the very fact that in order to enjoy the protagonist, you must ignore the fact he is fighting to preserve one of the most godless abominations of humankind, slavery. These are good reads and better 'listens'! Try 'em on tape!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2005

    Predictable Patriotism

    It was very clear from the first novel in this trilogy, that the purpose of these books was to pit a Lee, (still with troops and a prayer) against a Grant who 'might' have lost. The frustration of all union sympathizers has always been that the South had better generals and the North more or less won by weight of numbers. The South could have won about three times, twice during the Penninsular campaign, and following the first major battle outside of Washington City. None of these times are included in the series. It is obvious from the beginning where the author's sympathies lie. They give the North more characters, sympathetically portrayed,and paint the usual picture of Lincoln the saint,and Davis an unsympathetic dilletante,(untrue by the way). There is no question today that slavery is a great evil, but at the time of the Civil War defacto slavery existed in the North and toa greater or lesser degree disfigures our nation today. Is the USA better off as a huge country where Democracy is almost impossible, than in a cluster of small nations? Lee , at least, fought for his state, not slavery, and many others felt the same. It is rather disengenuous to decry slavery in the South without at least acknowledging the defacto slavery in the North. What would the Northern factory owners have done had Southern Congressmen suggested sharing factory profits with the employees? The worst thing about these books is the lack of anything original, and the overwhelming waving of the flag.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2005

    Best of the Three

    At times when waiting for the final installment to a trilogy or multi-part classic the ending sometimes is a let down. Let me say this Gingrich and Forstchen DID NOT let their readers down, by far this was the best of the three, the three being - Gettysburg, Grant Comes East and this one Never Call Retreat. How Gingrich and Forstchen keep the story going, connecting 'all the dots' was fabulous. From the opening page the reader is drawn in, the excellent descriptions of the battles, the compassion from both Grant & Lee, and Mr Lincoln's servant - Mr Jim Bartlett's insights. You feel all the tension and anxiety of each confrontation, the rush against time to be there ahead of your foes. I especially enjoyed the parts with General Custer, but he's not the only player, - Lee, Grant, Longstreet, Sheridan, Hood and all the participants in the Civil War are brought to life. The pages fly by, the pictures throughout the book are great, and what an eye-catching cover. Any Civil War buff will thoroughly enjoy this Novel.

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    Posted January 28, 2011

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    Posted December 4, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2011

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    Posted November 11, 2008

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