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On Fields of Fury: From the Wilderness to the Crater: an Eyewitness History

On Fields of Fury: From the Wilderness to the Crater: an Eyewitness History

by Richard Wheeler

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The latest entry in Wheeler's Civil War history covers Grant's Virginia campaign against Lee from May 5 through July 30, 1864. Told largely through the memoirs and letters of participants, quotations are linked together in a smooth chronological narrative that vividly illuminates the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and the early phase of the siege of Petersburg. The book concludes with an account of the Crater fiasco, in which a tunnel was dug from Union to Confederate lines, packed with explosives and ignited. The Union command failed to exploit the resultant breach in the Southern lines and the war dragged on for eight more months. Wheeler ( Witness to Gettysburg ) explains well the strategy and tactics of the confrontation between the two great captains, but his emphasis throughout is on the human side of events. This includes not only military impressions but civilian as well, with poignant glimpses of slaves being liberated as the battle lines swept across the Virginia plantations. Illustrations. (Apr.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This book by a prolific writer of Civil War tomes ( Witness to Appomattox, LJ 4/1/89; Sword Over Richmond, LJ 4/1/86) follows the tested formula of ``eyewitness'' histories: lots of quotations from various participants strung into a chronological rendering with only a minimum of connective narrative tissue. The book is intended for general readers and will meet the needs of the vast majority well. Indeed, it is an excellent introduction for readers unfamiliar with the military events of the war. The campaign covered here--from May to July 1864--was dramatic, momentous, bloody, elements all in abundance in this book. The worm-eyed perspective inevitably resulting from the book's method will prove disappointing to some readers, however. Good for high school and public libraries where such books have proved popular.-- Thomas E. Schott, 17th Air Force, Office of History, Sembach AB, Germany
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
YA-- Another well-researched book that fills the gap between the author's Witness to Gettysburg (1987) and Witness to Appomattox (1989, both HarperCollins). By using regimental histories as well as individual accounts, Wheeler has personalized the war, enabling readers to become involved. The first chapters describe the events leading up to the campaign of 1864, which would eventually cripple the Army of Northern Virginia. The participants' own words and Wheeler's narration show how Grant and Lee best used the resources available to them. Maps, line-drawings, and battle diagrams clearly illustrate the use of strategy on both sides. A must for Civil War enthusiasts as well as those researchingthis period of the war. --Barry Williams, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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