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The Last Camel Charge: The Untold Story of America's Desert Military Experiment

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Overview

In the mid-nineteenth century, the U.S. Army would employ a weapon that had never before been seen on its native soil. From the Middle East came a cavalry mount that would fare better than both mules and horses in the American Southwest. Against the Mojave in the Arizona Territory...against the Mormons in Utah Territory...during the early stages of the Civil War, the camel would become one of America's great military experiements, and a nearly forgotten chapter of Americana.

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The Last Camel Charge: The Untold Story of America's Desert Military Experiment

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Overview

In the mid-nineteenth century, the U.S. Army would employ a weapon that had never before been seen on its native soil. From the Middle East came a cavalry mount that would fare better than both mules and horses in the American Southwest. Against the Mojave in the Arizona Territory...against the Mormons in Utah Territory...during the early stages of the Civil War, the camel would become one of America's great military experiements, and a nearly forgotten chapter of Americana.

The Last Camel Charge is the first book to tell the complete story and document in detail the military's experiment with camels. At the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, a need emerged for control of-and transportation through-the country's vast new western territories. The hostile environment proved a challenge to the Army's traditional mounts, and in a radical move, the War Department ordered a Navy ship and its captain to the Mid-East to purchase camels and deliver them to an Army post in Texas.

The mission brought together an extraordinary group of people: innovative rancher Samuel A. Bishop, whose desperation over the Mojave gave birth to the idea; Mexican War hero Lt. Edward F. Beale, placed in command of the newly arrived beasts, who would forge a wagon trail westward. At the same time, Colonel Albert S. Johnston was leading troops against the Mormons and Hadji "Hi Jolly" Ali, who accompanied the great beasts overseas, would become known as one of America's first Muslim immigrants.

Reaching speeds up to forty miles an hour, traveling days without water, and able to carry three times the weight of a mule, camels helped to subdue enemies, reach new frontiers, and unite a nation. And now, The Last Camel Charge gives them their due as a vital piece of American history.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“A fascinating portrait of the American West during its formative and most exciting period…Johnson reaches deep into the essence of how America came to be.”—Bevin Alexander, author of Sun Tzu at Gettysburg
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425253502
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 800,692
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Forrest Bryant Johnson was born in Louisville, Ky. and graduated from the University of Louisville. He served nine years with the U.S. Army, rising from the rank of Private to Captain. This background proved valuable for researching his latest historical nonfiction, The Last Camel Charge. Johnson, a resident of the southwest for thirty years, is an experienced explorer and conducts scenic off-road desert tours. He reports with authority on the history of the Mojave Desert and the plants and animals surviving in its harsh environment. He lives in Las Vegas and is the author of Hour of Redemption and Phantom Warrior.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 7, 2012

    Every so often an author creates a sold book chock full of excit

    Every so often an author creates a sold book chock full of excitement, suspense and an almost romantic view of history. Books that come to mind are The Killer Angels and The Red Badge of Courage. What makes them classics is that they approach history from the personal touch, not from the historical. It would be wrong to classify The Last Camel Charge as mesmerizing, suspenseful, catastrophic or a page-tuner, a can't-put-it-down book. Better to let the reader immerse himself in something special, the love of men for camels, their entrance into the Southwest, their superiority over horses and mules, and their moment of greatness.

    Read The Last Camel Charge and all of these terms will present themselves. There will be but one sadness as you read it. That will come when the book is ended and there is finally no more to enjoy. Your adventure into history will have ended and there will be sorrow the Charge is done. And that is when you will again life Forrest Johnson's monumental work and read it again, for it is that kind of book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 7, 2013

    Outstanding Book and Excellent Reading Format What more can be s

    Outstanding Book and Excellent Reading Format
    What more can be said about this book other than one should purchase it as soon as possible and read it. I found myself completely engrosed into the book, it characters and of course, the camels. This book contains information seldom taught or mentioned in our countires history. In addition, it shows just how the experiment in using camels in our American Southwest almost became a reality, if not for the Civil War. I would recommend this book to anyone, not only to those interested in Military History or Western History. I agree with the previous readers comments regarding the books attributes and its comparison to several of the hits in American Literature. The only problems I found with the book is that it came to an end AND it makes me want to go out and purchase a camel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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