Rebel yell book review


Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S.C. Gwynne. Scribner, 2014. Cloth, ISBN: 978-1451673289. $35.00.

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Let me get appropriate to the point: exceptionally few readers of TheCivil War Monitor must bother to read this book. It is not intended for you.S.C. Gwynne’s a lot publicized biography of Thomas J. “Stonewall" Jacksonis a beautifully (if periodically melodramatically) created rehash of the portrait painted by previous students of Jackson’s military projects. Gwynne neither adds to nor revises the traditional wisdom concerning this legendary figure of Confedeprice background. Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson is rooted nearly solely in publimelted sources—many prominently James I. Robertson’s definitive biography from 1997—and also the ideal project research studies created by the current generation of historians.For the a lot of component, Gwynne manages to digest and also regurgitate what these authors created through accuracy and also verve. Rebel Yell is much better construed, in fact, as not simply a biography, however a primer on the military conmessage in which Jackboy operated throughout the initially two years of the Civil War. Gwynne’s protagonist disappears for pperiods at a time in extended contextual passperiods that are plainly aimed at an audience whose depth of expertise is also more shallow than the author’s—and also that, sadly, is saying somepoint.Readers of The Civil War Monitor, who are well-versed in the subject matter, will be attacked by many factual errors—virtually every one of them tiny, but cumulatively causing the inescapable conclusion that Mr. Gwynne created while only one or 2 informational procedures ahead of the novice audience at which this book is aimed. Gwynne bungles Eastern Theater geography frequently, characterizing Old and New Cold Harbor as towns, implying that the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal linked Washington with the Cumberland River, and also failing to understand also that moving north via the Shenandoah Valley does not constitute going “up” that beautiful vale. Other niggling mistakes include .59 caliber Minie balls whizzing via the air, marching with George Sears at Antietam, and also dating A.

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P. Hill’s fatality to the Third Battle of Petersburg—whatever in the human being that might have been! Gap does not allow anypoint like offering a complete inventory of these sorts of blunders, yet my notes contain dozens.It bears repeating, however, that Gwynne’s significant picture of Jackson and his military human being rings true and will certainly strike the majority of students of Stonewall’s career as fundamentally sound. Tbelow is valuable little—in fact nearly nothing—fresh or revisionist amid a book that runs even more than 6 hundred pages. Stonewall Jackboy emerges as the aggressive, quirky, beloved officer that we have come to recognize from the majority of previous biographies. Thomas Jackboy remains a devout eccentric whose inherent strength of character allowed him to carve out an embraced location in Lexington, Virginia, society and also a domestic life more loving and tender than his passionless expert demeanor would certainly indicate. Professor Jackson at the Virginia Military Institute is still a dreadful teacher in Gwynne’s estimation, however his kindness toward the regional Afrihave the right to Americans sof10s his modern picture.This traditional interpretation of Jackkid the guy and the soldier can hardly have been different seeing that Gwynne’s “research” was virtually entirely confined to secondary resources and the most well-worn published memoirs. In this at leastern, Gwynne has liked well. In addition to Robertson’s masterful biography, Gwynne offers the best of the recent campaign studies—consisting of works by Stephen Sears, Peter Cozzens, John Hennessy, and also Robert Krick—to administer the grist for his fight summaries. Robert Lewis Dabney, Henry Kyd Douglas, Edward Porter Alexander, and also Mary Anna Jackboy frequently lfinish their voices to Gwynne’s tale. One can virtually tick off each and also eincredibly acquainted Jackkid anecdote and quotation as Gwynne leads us dvery own his much traveled route.There are a couple of instances wbelow the author’s conclusions concerning Jackchild or his army campaigns can raise eyebrows. I’m not sure many kind of would certainly agree that Thomas Jackkid was “quintbasically Virginian” (20), or that Jackson “cared bit around the opinion of others” (39), or that he possessed “an excellent eye for talent” as soon as it pertained to choosing his staff—think Dabney. Couple of would certainly agree that Jackson’s mounties before Winchester in May 1862 was “preternormally aggressive” (292), or that the Iron Brigade was one of “a couple of western brigades fighting eastern of the Mississippi,” (427), or that Joe Hooker pulled earlier to the Chancellorsville crossroads on May 1, 1863, primarily because he learned that his adversary was none other than the fearsome Stonewall.Gwynne has a variety of explanatory passeras that plainly betray the nature of his book’s intended audience. He gives an explacountry of straggling, enumerates the size of a Civil War brigade, and defines terms such canister and limber—expositions that can otherwise be thought about unnecessary. Without question, Scribner has actually targeted a readership that knows essentially nopoint about the Amerihave the right to Civil War; for these readers, Rebel Yell will certainly probably succeed splendidly.In brief, if you are trying to find a lively review that will present Civil War history to that liteprice cousin of yours that has actually always wondered about your fascicountry via the 1860s, S.C. Gwynne’s Rebel Yell might just be the ticket. But if your library already contains Jackchild biographies written by “Bud” Robertson, Lenoir Chambers, or Frank Vandiver, you are ideal advised to put ameans your crmodify card.

A. Wilson Greene is the Executive Director of Pamplin Historical Park and also the author of Whatever You Resettle to Be: Esclaims on Stonewall Jackboy (2005).