REBEL YELL                                                S.C. GWYNNE
Posted:  April 23, 2015

Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall JacksonFrom the author of the prizewinning New York Times bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon comes a thrilling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic American hero.

Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future.

In April 1862 Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked—hope—and struck fear into the hearts of the Union.

Rebel Yell is written with the swiftly vivid narrative that is Gwynne’s hallmark and is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict between historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson’s brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.

Rebel Yell, is an in depth look into the life of Stone Wall Jackson. The author takes you from his childhood up to his graduation from West Point, to being stationed in Florida during the Seminole wars and then asking to be released from commission to take a teaching position at the Virginia Military Institute, where he was a Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and an Instructor of Artillery. Jackson was an unpopular teacher and did not like that students would come to him after class to ask questions. If one did this twice he was looked at as an insubordinate and was punished. Behind his back the students had different names for him and would try to play practical jokes on him. What he is remembered for his battle field decisions and being able to defeat an enemy that always outnumbered him by a large margin. His famous “Stonewall Brigade”, was the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd, Virginia, where Jackson and these units were from in the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia. He rose to fame and earned his nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. He extended his line and demonstrating the discipline he instilled in his troops formed a stonewall. The South had a victory and a leader who would become popular in the North as well as in the South. The book then goes into his Valley campaign and looks at each battle and how with less men than the North he still defeats them by gun placements and when he knows his men are through they leave in order to rest to fight another day. The same men who talked behind his back at the college now would follow him anywhere. The author takes you through his ideas on attacking the North in a similar fashion that Sherman would do years later to the South and he is looked upon as a war monger, but Lee, agrees with him. General Lee can give him an order and it is followed through at the time it is to be carried out, not like Gettysburg where Generals either disobey or just take too long to follow through. Makes you wonder what might have happen if he had not been killed if the fighting would have gone on or not? He is still highly regarded in military circles for his battle skills. This book has much, much more information but is too much to put in a review. What you need to know is that it is an excellent book. I got this book from net galley.  I give this 5 stars.

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