The last novel in Shaara’s four novel series on the Western Theater of the U.S. Civil War, started as a surprise. I thought for sure Shaara would open this novel with Sherman’s taking, and subsequent burning of Atlanta. But that was not to be. Shaara felt that was not the story that needed to be told. Instead, he focused on what happened after Atlanta – General Sherman’s march to the sea, and the ultimate end of the Civil War.
As usual with Shaara’s novels, there is a lot of fascinating information packed into these pages. He presents General Sherman as pragmatic, but not barbarous. In spite of his army laying waste to the city of Atlanta, he shows how magnanimous Sherman was to the City of Savannah, and how the burning of Columbia could be laid at the feet of Wade Hampton’s Confederate Calvary.
I enjoyed the perspective of some of the lesser officers, and also of a black aide de camp, Franklin, picked up along Sherman’s march through Georgia. The fact that Shaara collects these stories through the memoirs and journals of these real life Civil War veterans, makes his books even more memorable. I like the fact that the stories of these men are now told, and made available to a wide audience.
Another wonderful novel from a master of wartime fiction.
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2015