From the Publisher
“Davis' exceptional biography of Stonewall Jackson breathes new life into the Civil War legend and his Foot Cavalry. Davis deftly reveals the relevance today of the man who created a textbook on tactics by accomplishing so much, so often, with so little.” Jack Coughlin, Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (Ret.), and New York Times bestselling author of SHOOTER: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper
“Davis, whose diverse background includes experience in almost every phase of publishing as well as a profound knowledge of military history, brings to Stonewall a deft touch that makes this compelling subject new, exciting and exceptionally readable. The result is an enthralling portrayal of the man many believe may have been the top military strategist of his time.” Ken Englade, author of The Tony Hillerman's Frontier series.
“A brilliant masterpiece. Former CIA Director Allen Dulles once said, 'truth has a hard time once legends are established to appease our thirst for heroes.' Don Davis has captured the truth about General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson. In this book, readers will find precious lessons in strategy, tactics, character and honor -- traits and skill sets that never disappear.” Fred Burton, Vice-President, STRATFOR and former U.S. Counterterrorism agent
“Confederate General Thomas Jackson inspired the best nickname of the Civil War. Condensing everything about Stonewall into this brief biography, Davis ensures inclusion of sections of Jackson's career in command that are not regarded, as his campaign of 1862 in the Shenandoah Valley universally is, as militarily brilliant. . . . This rapid read ably introduces the famous warrior.” Booklist
“A brisk entry in Palgrave's Great Generals series spotlights the battle prowess of Dixie's warrior-saint...a handy introduction to the military genius.” Kirkus
“[Davis] offers insightful analyses of Jackson's tendencies and behavior.” Matthew J. Wayman, Library Journal
“Davis...reveals how it was Jackson's tactical superiority that made him such an exceptional military leader.” Tuscon Citizen
This reverential biography of Jackson is the latest in Palgrave's Great Generals series, but it's not as concise as its slim volume might suggest. An obscureinstructor at Virginia Military Institute, Jackson was approaching middle age when he joined Confederate forces at the outbreak of the Civil War. He acquired his nickname, Stonewall, after an admirable stand at the first Battle of Bull Run. Transferred to nearby Shenandoah Valley, he made headlines as far away as Europe with a brilliant, fast-moving campaign that befuddled far larger Union forces. He returned to the main body of Lee's command, where his crushing assault was a crucial victory in the second Battle of Bull Run, followed by his legendary flank attack that routed Union forces at Chancellorsville. Author Davis (Lightning Strike) dutifully relates Jackson's unlegendary generalship on the Peninsula and at Fredericksburg, but like many Confederate hero biographers, his unrestrained admiration leads to purple prose ("The blue eyes of Stonewall Jackson again blazed with excitement"). Those seeking more insight into Jackson will find Byron Farwell's 1992 biography longer, but more rewarding. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson (1824-63) remains an enigma. He was often brilliant on the battlefield, leading the Army of Northern Virginia in the Civil War, but at times bewilderingly distant and unresponsive. He could show great initiative and capitalize on strategic advantages, yet he slept during engagements and allowed great opportunities to pass him by. He could be maddeningly stubborn, butting heads with several subordinate generals, but he obeyed orders unquestioningly. These facets and more of the mysterious man are described by Davis (Lightning Strike: The Secret Mission To Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor), who offers insightful analyses of Jackson's tendencies and behavior. Taking an evenhanded approach, he presents differing schools of thought about Jackson's legacy and questions whether Jackson would succeed in today's politically influenced military. Davis intensifies his subject's relevance by interjecting several allusions to the current war in Iraq. While these references may at first seem awkward, they do add valid points of comparison. The book's only drawback is the lack of maps, which would have greatly helped to explain Jackson's strategic maneuvers. An excellent little book nonetheless; recommended for public and academic libraries.
Matthew J. Wayman
Brisk entry in Palgrave's Great Generals series spotlights the battle prowess of Dixie's warrior-saint. With the possible exception of Patton, America has never produced a fighting general as outrageously eccentric or gloriously successful as Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (1824-63). Orphaned young and only spottily educated, he graduated in the top third of his class at West Point, where fellow cadets remarked upon his rustic and taciturn manner, his queer health notions, bizarre dietary practices, iron discipline, punctilious observance of rules and powers of trance-like concentration. After serving with distinction as an artillery officer in the Mexican War, Jackson endured years in a variety of obscure army posts, then resigned his commission to teach at Virginia Military Institute. There he married, became a devout Presbyterian and subjected a generation of students to awkward, dull lectures and constant, repetitious drills. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he sided with Virginia and delivered a badly needed series of Southern victories, beginning at Bull Run-where his steadfastness under fire earned him his nickname-through his death by friendly fire at Chancellorsville in 1863. Davis (Lightning Strike: The Secret Mission to Kill Admiral Yamamoto and Avenge Pearl Harbor, 2005, etc.) demonstrates how war transformed this silent, humble, shabbily dressed, deeply religious man into a killing machine. Notwithstanding his penchants for secrecy, constant quarrelling with fellow officers and driving himself to the point of useless exhaustion, Jackson became a symbol for the glorious cause second only to Lee. Davis ably distills his battle tactics. Beginning with a comprehensive knowledge ofthe terrain and well-placed artillery, the general sought to mystify, mislead and surprise, hurling his usually smaller forces against the weaker part of his foe, never letting up until they crushed the enemy. Speed, endurance and boldness characterized the rigorously trained troops who helped carry Jackson into legend. A handy introduction to the military genius whose philosophy of war was "draw your swords and throw away the scabbard!"First printing of 50,000