War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta

War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta

4.2 13
by Russell S. Bonds
     
 

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“One of the finest Civil War books in years.”—Mobile Press-Register

“Excellent. . . . a memorable and moving portrait of a besieged city.”—Booklist

“An absolute pleasure to read.”—Civil War News

“Mr. Bonds correctly notes that recent revisionist historians have

Overview

“One of the finest Civil War books in years.”—Mobile Press-Register

“Excellent. . . . a memorable and moving portrait of a besieged city.”—Booklist

“An absolute pleasure to read.”—Civil War News

“Mr. Bonds correctly notes that recent revisionist historians have tried to play down or even deny Sherman’s role in the burning.”—Winston Groom in the Wall Street Journal

“The freshness of the writing style, the pace of the story, and the handling of an entire campaign is as compelling as Bruce Catton’s landmark Army of the Potomac trilogy.”—Civil War Librarian

“Well-researched and well-written. . . . excellent character sketches. . . vivid and moving. . . . maps and diagrams of the battles are outstanding.”—Bowling Green Daily News

“Magnificent.”—Civil War Notebook

“Russell S. Bonds has an impressive ability to combine combat narrative with shrewd analyses of commanders’ performances.”—James M. McPherson, author of Tried by War

“Using his skills as both historian and storyteller, Russell S. Bonds has given us what might have seemed impossible—a fresh, new look back at Atlanta.”—Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South

A masterpiece of prose and research, the definitive history of the struggle for Atlanta during the Civil War, an episode immortalized by the novel Gone with the Wind.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Excellent. . . Bonds provides the reader with a memorable and moving portrait of a besieged city.
Mobile Press-Register
For all Atlanta's passion and fiery agony in that long ago time, one must now consult history books, and there is none better than 'War Like the Thunderbolt.'
—John Sledge

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594165023
Publisher:
Westholme Publishing
Publication date:
09/02/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
571,226
File size:
4 MB

What People are saying about this

James M. McPherson
"This gripping story of the battles for Atlanta in 1864 provides new insights on a campaign that ensured Lincoln's reelection and the ultimate destruction of the Confederacy. Russell S. Bonds has an impressive ability to combine combat narrative with shrewd analyses of commanders' performances."--(James M. McPherson, author of Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief)
Robert Hicks
"Through the power of Margaret Mitchell's words and the film they inspired, the struggle for Atlanta became all that most folks needed to know about our nation's four-year bloodbath. In War Like the Thunderbolt, using his skills as both historian and storyteller, Russell S. Bonds has given us what might have seemed impossible-a fresh, new look back at Atlanta."--(Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South)

Meet the Author

Russell S. Bonds is an attorney in Atlanta and author of Stealing the General, also available from Westholme Publishing.

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War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
James_Durney More than 1 year ago
This is not the book I expected. My expectations were 544 pages of front, flank & feints dealing with Sherman's maneuvers around the city. My expectations were a book long on battle details, Confederate army politics and the election of 1864. The Preface of my book could not start with filming the burning of Atlanta for "Gone With the Wind"! My expectations for this book and the author's insights are why one of us writes reviews and the other writes books! Russell S. Bonds, the author of the excellent "Stealing the General", turns a military campaign into a history of Atlanta from the arrival of Sherman's armies to when they abandon the city. By placing the city in this critical role, he emphasizes how important Atlanta is in the Fall of 1864. Sherman vs. Hood or Hood vs. Johnston is not the major story. The major story is Atlanta trying to survive as part of the Confederacy, then as an occupied city and last as a desolate ruined shell. Starting with "Gone With the Wind", ties the popular understanding to the real events in 1864 and how we see them now. This is a complete history of Atlanta from July to October 1864. The first 90 pages are a summary of the campaign coupled with an excellent introduction of Sherman, Johnston and Hood. This introduction is followed by about 260 pages of solid history that never losses Atlanta as the central character. The presentation of battles is on the division level, which works very well in this type of history. Each battle is covered, with maps in the proper places. The assessment of the results is fair to all parties. The problems of terrain, subordinate commanders exceeding orders or failing to follow orders, the wearing down of the men and refusal to properly plan are detailed. The reader must judge as the author refuses to fall into the Crazy Bill or Old Wooden Head trap. The heart of this book is the city and the civilians. The constant thread is what is happening inside the city to the people and the physical structure. We cheer armies marching to battle, watch the sad parade of wounded, bury the dead and suffer the bombardment. After the city falls, we endure the occupation, the expulsion of the people and the "Burning of Atlanta" as Sherman leaves. This emphasis makes this unique book such a fine history. The city is the focus and the author never allows us to lose our focus. In doing so, the reader comes to understand the importance of Atlanta as a symbol in 1864. The chapter "Resurgens" tells the story of Atlanta's recovery to about 1886. These twenty pages is a look at how the South recovers from the war and the process of reconciliation. This is complemented by an excellent Afterword covering the major players and how we came to view their actions. The author includes a "guide" to the lost battlefields, always a sad part of any book. Atlanta did little to preserve the battlefields but the author gives us an idea of where they are and their present condition. This is a fully footnoted indexed book with many illustrations, campaign and battle maps. The footnotes expand the text and are worth reading. This may not be the definitive book on the battle and burning of Atlanta but it is one that needs to be read. It is a valuable addition to my Atlanta Campaign books and will stay in my library.
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"Good."
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This piece of authorship is a compelling and engrossing work on the not too of-written about battles that occurred around Atlanta as Sherman and Hood attempted to waltz around each other's armies. The author balances nicely the details of the battle action and the turmoil that ensued within the city itself as the citizens fiercely struggled to hang on to what semblence of normal life still existed around them. The photos don't include anything that isn't already published elsewhere but the biographical accounts open our eyes to the thoughts, fears, and anxieties of the soldier's (on both sides) and the inhabitants who were subjected to both the terrifying and unnerving fire of Union guns as well as the unknown intentions of the Union army and it's unyielding commander. This book will easily keep you between the covers from the title page to the last note.
TOverton More than 1 year ago
This is absolutely a fine new addition for Civil War buffs. I'm not yet one but four or my last five books have been about this war. It would not bother me to keep going but my style is to cover different periods of history and biographies. Having just finished this history yesterday I have begun my next, TR by H. W. Brands and it looks to be another great read. Here however, author Russell S. Bonds manages to transcend the reader back to 1864 Atlanta. The atmosphere is so well set and the mystery of Union General W. T. Sherman's mind nearly seems alive present tense that between battles around Atlanta make you wonder what he will do next. You will become involved almost metaphysically. From one stage to the next every move Sherman takes systematically weakens the graycoats as well as the city. Understanding that control of his supply line and the decimation of his enemy's will achieve his goal, the city of Atlanta, the South's most centralized producer of war material was the key to strangling the South's secessionist. And that is exactly what he did. Fighting, killing, agony, pain and fire, war is hell. It is not clean and it is not polite. The fall of Atlanta was paramount to ending the war. Bonds supplies the reader with helpful maps. Photographs and images help the movement of the book. Bonds writes with apparent dedication about his subject. The book does not go overboard graphically regarding the misery of death by war but you get the picture that it is a bad business. Southern General John Bell Hood must have been beside himself lost to know what to do. He did put up a valiant fight however futile. Readers, do pick up this book. Learn about the battles and burning of Atlanta. Thank you Bonds, I am ready for your next.
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