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Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson
     

Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

4.4 25
by S. C. Gwynne
 

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From the author of the prize-winning New York Times bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon comes a thrilling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic American hero.

Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even

Overview

From the author of the prize-winning New York Times bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon comes a thrilling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic American hero.

Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future.

In April 1862 Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked—hope—and struck fear into the hearts of the Union.

Rebel Yell is written with the swiftly vivid narrative that is Gwynne’s hallmark and is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict between historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson’s brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 07/21/2014
Journalist Gwynne follows his bestselling Empire of the Summer Moon with a stimulating study of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson. Jackson today remains a figure of almost mythical proportions and embodies the more heroic elements of the Southern cause. Gwynne, in a primarily chronological narrative, reveals him to have been an early master of modern mobile warfare and a clear-eyed interpreter of what modern “pitiless war was all about.” In 1861, Jackson was “part of that great undifferentiated mass of second-rate humanity who weren’t going anywhere in life.” But underneath his efflorescent eccentricities, he was “highly perceptive and exquisitely sensitive,” as well as an “incisive and articulate observer.” In the spring of 1862 those qualities shaped the brilliant Shenandoah Valley campaign that reinvigorated a stagnant Confederate war effort and established him as the “most famous military figure in the Western world.” Exhaustion limited Jackson’s contributions to the Peninsular Campaign, but from Second Bull Run through Antietam to his mortal wounding at Chancellorsville, his achievements and his legend grew. Gwynne tells Jackson’s story without editorializing and readers are likely to agree that, without Jackson, Lee “would never again be quite so brilliant,” while even in the North Jackson was considered, rather than a rebel, a “gentleman and... fundamentally an American.” Maps and 16-page photo insert. (Oct.)
STARRED review Booklist
"Spry prose and cogent insight....Showing Jackson’s exploitation of speed and deception, Gwynne’s vivid account of his Civil War run, which ended with his death in the 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, is a riveting, cover-to-cover read for history buffs."

H. W. Brands
“With the reporter's eye for the revealing vignette and the story-teller’s ear for the rhythm of human striving, S. C. Gwynne gives us a beautifully penetrating account of the meteoric rise and tragic death of the most legendary of Civil War soldiers.”
Peter Cozzens
Rebel Yell is the best biography of Stonewall Jackson I have ever read. The scholarship is exemplary, the narrative riveting and richly textured. With a rare combination of unflinching objectivity and genuine compassion, Rebel Yell unraveled for me the enigma of Stonewall Jackson. A magnificent achievement, Rebel Yell represents a milestone in Civil War literature.”
John Hennessy
“The great tragedy of modern historiography is that more historians don’t write like S.C. Gwynne. In this book on Stonewall Jackson’s Civil War career, Gwynne has fashioned a fast-paced narrative of a man complex and enigmatic, awkward and exceptional. Gwynne has taken on a giant figure of quirks and brilliance who demands both restraint and a facile pen, and he delivers in vivid form.”
Hampton Sides
Rebel Yell breathes contemporary insight and fresh energy into the life of an authentic American legend. In this crackling narrative, S.C. Gwynne gives us the bold tactics, the eccentric thinking, and the wicked genius of one of history's most brilliant—and unconventional—military minds.”
Michael Duffy
“Powerfully told, richly detailed, but also deeply human in timeless ways, Rebel Yell unmasks Gen. Stonewall Jackson, one of American history's most enduring legends (and yet most private of men). This is history at its best.”
Bookpage
“It’s hard to imagine an author breaking newground with another Jackson biography. But S.C. Gwynne does just thatin Rebel Yell... Readers will come away from Rebel Yell withan understanding of the man that goes beyond his military exploits. Gwynne’s masterful storytelling makes Rebel Yell anabsorbing choice for general readersand Civil War buffs alike.”
The Raleigh News-Observer
"[Gwynne's contribution] lies in capturing Jackson’s character, personality and historical significance. He interprets Jackson as a discipline- and God-obsessed social bore, yet one of the fiercest fighters and most brilliant minds in American military history... a 'living myth'...Jackson ascended rapidly from nerdy artillery and physics professor at Virginia Military Institute to Lee’s audacious and seemingly invincible lieutenant."
Wall Street Journal
"In Rebel Yell, Mr. Gwynne's easy, loping style wraps itself effortlessly around the particulars of Stonewall Jackson's life, from his back-of-the-mountain upbringing to the outburst of military genius in the Civil War. The result is a narrative vivid with detail and insight."
Newsday
"In the magnificent Rebel Yell, one of the year's best biographies, writer S.C. Gwynne brings Jackson ferociously to life... His battle scenes are marvels of description and kinetic action. [He] brings a deep humanity to his portrayals of Jackson, his fellow Confederate generals and their Union adversaries... Gwynne's pages fly by, brimming with excitement and terror."
The Dallas Morning News
"Gwynne’s portrait of Jackson is comprehensive, stirring, compelling....This well-researched portrait of a well-studied figure of the Civil War defies the odds and measurably adds to the scholarship surrounding Jackson and the conflict that defined him... The book is hard to put down."
Chicago Tribune
"Profoundly enlightening...The difference in Rebel Yell is...the historical sweep, the small touches, and the quality and clarity of the writing... Those sorts of little touches, page after page after page, set this book apart....Gwynne's Rebel Yell delivers what readers want and deserve — a brave, headlong charge into American history."
Civil War Times
"S.C. Gwynne provides a comprehensive portrait of a complex man who triumphed on the battlefield--but remained an enigma... a joy to read."
New Yorker
“Gwynne stirringly recreates the bloody, error-plagued battles of the early war and argues that Jackson’s legend galvanized the South, outmanned and outgunned, to keep fighting.”
Huffington Post
"An engaging narrative with a pace that never flags... Gwynne accomplishes a great deal in his clear and highly readable book... If you read everything about the Civil War -- or if you have read very little about the Civil War -- Rebel Yell is an excellent addition to your reading list."
Huntington News
"I've reviewed many books on the Civil War, and this is far and away the best biography of a Civil War general that I've read... If you're a Civil War buff -- as I am -- or if you're just interested in wonderful biographies -- as I am -- Rebel Yell is a must-read book. It reads like a novel, but it's based on extensive beyond belief research."
Washington Independent Review of Books
"A worthy book that does much to present the general in a realistic, critical and evenhanded manner.... Gwynne writes with style... he creates vivid word pictures and descriptions that keep the reader engaged. Rebel Yell is a worthy addition to the shelves of those who study and read about the American Civil War."
Library Journal
05/01/2014
Because Gwynne did well with Empire of the Summer Moon, a New York Times best seller and Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle finalist, we can expect good things from this account of Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson's rise to prominence during the Civil War. With an eight-city tour.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-08-21
Wide-ranging biography of the larger-than-life Confederate leader, a "sobersided, regulation-bound general" who emerges as an ever stranger figure with the passage of years. Texas-based journalist and historian Gwynne, having documented the free-riding Comanches of the plains (Empire of the Summer Moon, 2010), turns to another famed cavalry culture: namely, that of the residents of the valley of Virginia at the time that sectional divisions broke into open civil war. Few cavalrymen were as farsighted and successful as Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (1824-1863), who carried a preternatural seriousness and piety with him at all times. As Gwynne writes, Jackson imagined as he was washing that he was cleansing himself in the blood of Christ and while dressing, might "pray to be cloaked in the Savior's righteousness." Jackson's relentless Christianity did not halt him in the least from assuming the role of avenging angel Robert E. Lee's right-hand man, whose death before Gettysburg deflated the Army of Northern Virginia and marked the beginning of the end of the Southern cause. By the author's account, Jackson was a caring yet hard, nearly tyrannical leader who pushed his men to the limit yet placed himself in every danger he subjected them to. He also habitually denied himself creature comforts in an effort to remain pure, though, as Gwynne points out, sometimes his explanations were less pious than all that. He did not partake of intoxicating drinks, he told a junior officer, "because I like the taste of them, and when I discovered that to be the case I made up my mind at once to do without them altogether." A satisfying biography though less exhaustive in its approach than Robert Krick's Conquering the Valley (1996) and somewhat less fluent than James Robertson's Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend (1997).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451673296
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
10/06/2015
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
688
Sales rank:
80,344
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author

S.C. Gwynne is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He spent most of his career as a journalist, including stints with Time as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor, and with Texas Monthly as executive editor. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife.

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Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
arc5 More than 1 year ago
FIrst: Folks, we all know you hate slavery and you're "NOT A RACIST!" You don't need to prove it here. It is always an error to judge the ethics and morality of one historical era with the standards of another. For example- In Jackson's time, one saw one's State as we might see the entire nation today. In that light, a "traitor" would be one who, as Lee said, would "draw his sword against his family and neighbors." On to the book: I can do no better than Peter Cozzens: “Rebel Yell is the best biography of Stonewall Jackson I have ever read. The scholarship is exemplary, the narrative riveting and richly textured. With a rare combination of unflinching objectivity and genuine compassion, Rebel Yell unraveled for me the enigma of Stonewall Jackson. A magnificent achievement, Rebel Yell represents a milestone in Civil War literature.”
MidCenturyMom More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC copy of this book, and my husband read it and absolutely loved it! Gwynne is an excellent descriptive storyteller. Jackson was a humble and idiosyncratic man, and this book tells how he found a real purpose in life as a battlefield General. Great gift idea for any history lover on your list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a clearly written and insightful biography of one of the most fascinating figures in American history. In addition, Gwynne's detailed descriptions of the battles place each one in the larger context of the events taking place in the war, and explain the troops' movements and their commanders' decisions clearly and concisely. This is the first book that I have read that clearly explains the Valley Campaign and Seven Days Campaign in an accessible way. Highly recommended.
ralph55 More than 1 year ago
Presents a complex personality in a way that is easy to understand. The historical information is presented in a way that is both entertaining and educational. Book presents a challenging and controversial time in American history and shows not only how "Stonewall" fit in, but also how he had a large part in shaping the events. Presents many details, but does not bog down intermixes action and detail which keeps the readers interest till the last page. A good read; enjoy.
HKshooter More than 1 year ago
Excellent biography of Jackson. I could not put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, so much so that I did not want it to end. This is the second book that I have read by Gwynne,and both have had the same effect on me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story of a man I knew nothing about. Well researched, detailed, and crafted in a readable compelling story.
Smith26 More than 1 year ago
It was a very interesting read about the first half of the Civil War and the battles of not just the South versus the North but of the generals.  One will learn a lot about Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and the generals on both sides.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read revealing the enigma that is Stonewall 
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brought Jackson to life in this book. Second book by this author that i gets high marks from me, very well done.
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This book started off very well then it slowed drastically. The author made it very ckear that Jackson was an extremely religious man and quirky and then continued to repeat it just about ever chapter. I find it good to hear Jackson's letters. I love history and I especially love when it is presented well. Unfortunately, this was not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She tosses a bullet casing up into the air, then catches it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Revisionist history at it worst. It glorifies a traitor. I had expected a balanced book, discussing Jackson's life and his military career, I hadn't expected his deification in print. The author is simply attempting to glorify an oathbreaker and defending the racist rebels, portraying those that fought to save slavery as being the "good guys"