To Gettysburg and Beyond: The Parallel Lives of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Edward Porter

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From Manassas to Appomattox, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Edward Porter Alexander fought in nearly every major eastern battle of the Civil War. Tested by the savagery of combat, Chamberlain mastered the soldier's art and rose to become one of the best of the Union's frontline infantry commanders. Alexander, artillerist and engineer, indispensable aide to Lee and Longstreet, built a reputation as one of the most brilliant officers of the Confederacy. Fast-paced, full of the feel and texture of battle, To ...
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Overview

From Manassas to Appomattox, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Edward Porter Alexander fought in nearly every major eastern battle of the Civil War. Tested by the savagery of combat, Chamberlain mastered the soldier's art and rose to become one of the best of the Union's frontline infantry commanders. Alexander, artillerist and engineer, indispensable aide to Lee and Longstreet, built a reputation as one of the most brilliant officers of the Confederacy. Fast-paced, full of the feel and texture of battle, To Gettysburg and Beyond is also very much a personal story of the two men. Chamberlain, from rustic Maine beginnings, is a nineteenth-century archetype: a romantic fighting the first of the world's modern wars while straining to interpret the carnage through the idiom of the knightly joust, ennobling and clean. Alexander, of the Georgia planter class, viewed war with a clear, cold eye, casting a long glance forward to our own dismal century. Their lives subsequent to the war are emblematic of the American society that emerged from the most deadly conflict in this nation's history.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Freelance journalist Golay's dual biography of two Civil War colonels, one Union, the other Confederate, dramatizes the differing styles of command of the opposing armies at middle-rank level. Chamberlain (1828-1914) was a gifted recruit who led the 20th Maine regiment and dreamed of personal glory; Alexander (1835-1910), a West Pointer from Georgia, was a practical professional who commanded the artillery in General Robert E. Lee's First Corps. Golay describes how each performed in battle, their actions directly affecting the outcome at Gettysburg (Chamberlain) and Fredericksburg (Alexander). Both enjoyed success in their postwar lives, Chamberlain as governor of Maine, Alexander as a railroad executive; but neither found his work as fulfilling as commanding men in battle. Golay's account of their visits to their former battlefields and their involvement in veterans' affairs offers an unusual perspective on the Civil War. In his analysis of their memoirs (both had ``something of a genius for fighting and the later remembering of it''), Golay compares Chamberlain's saccharine Victorian sensibilities with Alexander's pragmatic repudiation of Lost Cause sentimentality. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Chamberlain, a literature professor who framed his world in terms of honor and nobility, enlisted in the Union Army from boredom and quickly mastered the art of war. Alexander, a West Point-trained engineer, was a pragmatic problem solver who became, arguably, the ablest artillery officer of the Confederacy. Both men fought with distinction in many battles, and both have attracted recent biographers (Alice R. Trulock, In the Hands of Providence: Joshua L. Chamberlain and the American Civil War, LJ 6/1/92; Fighting for the Confederacy: Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander, LJ 9/1/89). Journalist Golay (The Civil War, Facts on File, 1992) combines their stories, arguing that both men found that the glories of war made their peacetime lives disappointing. He writes well, but though he has done his research (most of his footnotes are enlightening), few in his audience won't know the North and South had different names for battles. Furthermore, his thesis seems to fit Chamberlain better than Alexander. This title shouldn't replace biographies of either subject, but it should be considered for good Civil War collections.-Robert C. Moore, Dupont Merck Pharmaceutical Co. Information Svcs., N. Billerica, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517592854
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/8/1994
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416

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