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
“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. First, Davis seeks to combat traits of the general--imperturbability and relentlessness--in the boy growing up. Naturally taciturn and accustomed to premature deaths in the family, the hard-studying Jackson presented a brusque face to the world and made enemies more easily than friends. But the moment met the man in July 1861, as the slave-owning Jackson saved the day for the South and acquired his moniker at the Battle of Bull Run. In narrating Jackson's succession of victories, Davis criticizes his performance at the Seven Days battles of 1862 but not that at 1863's Battle of Chancellorsville, in which he was killed by accident by his men, beginning undying speculation on how the South might have won had he lived. 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