A high quality Chain of Thunder: lowest A Novel of the Siege of Vicksburg (the Civil War in the West) outlet sale

A high quality Chain of Thunder: lowest A Novel of the Siege of Vicksburg (the Civil War in the West) outlet sale

A high quality Chain of Thunder: lowest A Novel of the Siege of Vicksburg (the Civil War in the West) outlet sale
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Continuing the series that began with A Blaze of Glory, Jeff Shaara returns to chronicle another decisive chapter in America’s long and bloody Civil War. In A Chain of Thunder, the action shifts to the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. There, in the vaunted “Gibraltar of the Confederacy,” a siege for the ages will cement the reputation of one Union general—and all but seal the fate of the rebel cause.
 
In May 1863, after months of hard and bitter combat, Union troops under the command of Major General Ulysses S. Grant at long last successfully cross the Mississippi River. They force the remnants of Confederate Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton’s army to retreat to Vicksburg, burning the bridges over the Big Black River in its path. But after sustaining heavy casualties in two failed assaults against the rebels, Union soldiers are losing confidence and morale is low. Grant reluctantly decides to lay siege to the city, trapping soldiers and civilians alike inside an iron ring of Federal entrenchments. Six weeks later, the starving and destitute Southerners finally surrender, yielding command of the Mississippi River to the Union forces on July 4—Independence Day—and marking a crucial turning point in the Civil War.
 
Drawing on comprehensive research and his own intimate knowledge of the Vicksburg Campaign, Jeff Shaara once again weaves brilliant fiction out of the ragged cloth of historical fact. From the command tents where generals plot strategy to the ruined mansions where beleaguered citizens huddle for safety, this is a panoramic portrait of men and women whose lives are forever altered by the siege. On one side stand the emerging legend Grant, his irascible second William T. Sherman, and the youthful “grunt” Private Fritz Bauer; on the other, the Confederate commanders Pemberton and Joseph Johnston, as well as nineteen-year-old Lucy Spence, a civilian doing her best to survive in the besieged city. By giving voice to their experiences at Vicksburg, A Chain of Thunder vividly evokes a battle whose outcome still reverberates more than 150 years after the cannons fell silent.

Praise for A Chain of Thunder
 
“[Jeff] Shaara continues to draw powerful novels from the bloody history of the Civil War. . . . The dialogue intrigues. Shaara aptly reveals the main actors: Grant, stoic, driven, not given to micromanagement; Sherman, anxious, high-strung, engaged even when doubting Grant’s strategy. . . . Worth a Civil War buff’s attention.” Kirkus Reviews
 
“Searing . . . Shaara seamlessly interweaves multiple points of view, as the plot is driven by a stellar cast of real-life and fictional characters coping with the pivotal crisis. . . . [A] riveting fictional narrative.” Booklist

“Shaara’s historical accuracy is faultless, and he tells a good story. . . . The voices of these people come across to the reader as poignantly as they did 150 years ago.” —Historical Novels Review

“The writing is picturesque and vibrant. . . . [an] engrossing tale.” —Bookreporter

Review

Praise for A Chain of Thunder
 
“[Jeff] Shaara continues to draw powerful novels from the bloody history of the Civil War. . . . The dialogue intrigues. Shaara aptly reveals the main actors: Grant, stoic, driven, not given to micromanagement; Sherman, anxious, high-strung, engaged even when doubting Grant’s strategy. . . . Worth a Civil War buff’s attention.” Kirkus Reviews
 
“Searing . . . Shaara seamlessly interweaves multiple points of view, as the plot is driven by a stellar cast of real-life and fictional characters coping with the pivotal crisis. . . . [A] riveting fictional narrative.” Booklist

“Shaara’s historical accuracy is faultless, and he tells a good story. . . . The voices of these people come across to the reader as poignantly as they did 150 years ago.” —Historical Novels Review

“The writing is picturesque and vibrant. . . . [an] engrossing tale.” —Bookreporter

About the Author

Jeff Shaara is the  New York Times bestselling author of  A Chain of Thunder,  A Blaze of Glory,  The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and  Gone for Soldiers, as well as  Gods and Generals and  The Last Full Measure—two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize–winning classic,  The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Gettysburg.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI
APRIL 16, 1863
 
The ball was a glorious affair, the Confederate officers in their finest gray, adorned with plumed hats and sashes at their waists. There was dancing and a feast of every kind of local fare, even the wine flowing with no one’s disapproval. By ten o’clock, most of the older citizens had retired, the senior officers gone as well, offering the reasonable excuse that there were duties to perform, an early morning that would come too soon. Those who remained were the young and the unmarried, no one among them objecting to that. The music continued, more lively now, the quartet of violinists respecting the youth in the room, waltzes that brought the officers closer to the young women, hands extended, those girls who had caught the eye, whose furtive glances spoke of flirtation, the daring willingness to accept the invitation of a young man who had the courage or the skills to lead a dance.
 
As the night wore on, and the matrons drifted away, Lucy had allowed herself a single dance, had caught a beaming smile from a young lieutenant, one of the Louisiana regiments. She knew nothing of a soldier’s life, what authority he carried, but the face was handsome, a firm jaw and bright blue eyes, clean-shaven, the young man’s hand extended toward her with smiling optimism, hinting of hope. She knew he had been watching her for most of the evening, and she had smiled at him once, was immediately embarrassed by that, quick glances to be certain that none of the others noticed. But now, as the energy of the ball rose with the youthfulness of those who remained, so too did her courage. And, apparently, his.
 
The waltz they danced to had been familiar, the violins doing admirable service with a pleasing rhythm that seemed to intoxicate her, the young officer admirably graceful. The couple was one of a half dozen who moved with elegance across the floor, but it ended too soon. With visible regret, the lieutenant had done what was required, had properly escorted her back to one side of the room, where the ladies sat, the officers returning to their own station, closer to where the wine flowed.
 
She sat, maneuvering the wide hoops of her finest gown, still glancing at the other girls, the rivalry they all observed. Such occasions were rare now. The welcome invitation had come from Major Watt, the officer spreading word that a gala was well deserved. But many stayed away, a gloomy acceptance that perhaps this kind of frivolity was not yet appropriate, not with the Yankees so close. For months now, the citizens had endured shellfire, Federal gunboats with the audacity to throw their projectiles into the city itself. Most of those boats were anchored far upriver, and the officers in the town boasted of that, that Federal sailors knew they could not match the enormous power of the guns dug into the hillsides across the riverfront. But still the shells came, and many of the civilians had heeded the advice of the army’s senior commanders, had begun to move out of their homes, digging themselves into caves and caverns, most dug by the labor of Negroes.
 
The first serious violence had come close to Christmas, and the customary Christmas ball had been rudely preempted by one of “the first great assaults, what so many of the townspeople described as the barbarity of the Yankees, their utter disregard for simple courtesy, for the sacred observance of Christmas ritual. Major Watt seemed to recognize that as well, and with the warmer weather came the army’s gift to the town, driven by the kindness of this one major, who seemed to understand that the civilians would be buoyed by a party, a show of defiance toward the ever-present gunboats. Though the attendance was not as large as the major had hoped, the air of protest was there still, and like the others who attended the ball, the young Miss Spence thought it entirely appropriate that the townspeople make some effort to improve their own morale. Since Christmas, most of the people had gone about their business as though nothing were really happening upriver, as if the Yankees were there just for show, a protest of their own. Businesses continued to operate, the markets mostly able to stock their shelves, citizens freely traveling to the countryside. Even the occasional bombardments were part of the routine, and for the most part the damage had been minimal, the shelling more random than targeted. Like Lucy, most of her neighbors had sought the protection of Providence, that if a shell was to find them, it would be the hand of God and not the unfortunate aim of some devilish Yankee gunner. After all, the people of Vicksburg had done nothing to deserve such violence.
 
She watched her young lieutenant across the room, was disappointed to see a glance at a pocket watch. The music began to slow, and the atmosphere in the grand room was growing heavy with shared sleepiness. It was, after all, near ten o’clock, far beyond the bedtime of even the young.
 
Lucy felt the same weariness, suppressed a yawn, heard the talk around her, much as it had been all evening. The young women spoke of those things Lucy had kept mostly to herself: who among the men in their gray finery were the best dancers, the most handsome, who had embarrassed himself by enjoying a bit too much wine. She held quietly to the warm glow that came from the single dance with her lieutenant, that it was her young man who outshone them all. She wondered about Louisiana, not the swamps that spread out for miles across the river, but down south, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, sophisticated places she could only imagine. Surely he was from the cities, she thought, a cultured man, familiar with music and libraries, perhaps from a military academy. Her imagination was fed by the sleepiness, and she blinked hard, fought to keep anyone from noticing that, saw him glance at his watch again, a scowl on his face. Then he glanced toward her, and she looked away, then back, wanted to smile, held it, scolded herself. He was speaking to another officer now, a captain, both men showing regret that this one beacon of color and gaiety had to come to an end. He began to move toward her, and her heart jumped, a blend of hope and alarm that he might ask to escort her home. She felt a slight shiver, and he seemed to hesitate, gathering courage of his own.
 
And now came a large thump of thunder, a jolt in the floor beneath her feet, the chandelier quivering, the entire room suddenly motionless. Another rumble came, but it was not close. She saw the lieutenant looking past her and realized he was staring toward the river, where the army had anchored its largest guns. Now the firing thundered closer, the officers speaking up, calming voices, that it was their own guns, not the enemy. To one side a door burst open, an older officer moving in quickly, searching, finding Major Watt, a quick word between them. Watt turned to them all and gained their attention.
 
“I regret,” he said, “this ball has concluded. The Yankee boats are coming downriver, and you must retire to your shelters. Do not hesitate. Officers, report immediately to your posts.”
 
There was authority in his words, and the men were quick to move, filing toward the wide entranceway, already disappearing into the darkness. She caught sight of the lieutenant, but he did not look back, and she pushed that from her mind, rose up with the other women, some of the officers lingering, standing to one side, allowing them to pass. There were questions, but no panic, so many of the civilians having experienced all of this before. Major Watt stood by the door, still their host, and offered a smile, pleasantries to the women, with the slight edge of firmness.
 
“Go on home, now. We shall deal with the Yankees. This has been a most pleasant evening. It shall be still, if our artillerymen have their way.”
 
She passed the major, was outside now, a cool night, no moon, a hint of lantern light from the homes that lined the street. But quickly those grew dark, the usual caution, no needless targets offered to any Yankee gunner who might be telescoping this very place. She stepped onto the hard dirt, being careful to avoid the ruts from wagon wheels, and heard the talk around her in hushed excitement. She felt it as well, that there was something different about this assault. She looked in every direction, still no shells coming into the town, the sounds all toward the river. The soldiers were mostly gone, with only a few, the usual guards drifting past, offering assistance if any was required. Lucy saw a cluster of women moving uphill, not toward their homes, but toward the magnificent vantage point, what they all called Sky Parlor Hill. It was the highest point in the city, a knob of land the width of two city blocks, and during the daytime it was the most popular place for couples to gather, for picnics and courtship.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Jamie J.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
What is was "like" to be there!
Reviewed in the United States on August 23, 2018
This is the third I have read in Shaara''s series on the western theater of the Civil War, which has been neglected in favor of the eastern theater, where Grand and Lee commanded. Shaara''s books are not like other history books in that he narrates the perspective of the... See more
This is the third I have read in Shaara''s series on the western theater of the Civil War, which has been neglected in favor of the eastern theater, where Grand and Lee commanded. Shaara''s books are not like other history books in that he narrates the perspective of the soldiers as well as commanders, trying to "get into their head" using his imagination as a writer and the historic information available. Some of what Shaara writes is conjecture, other material is based on reports of those involved. His method brings history to "life". This is an interesting series for those of us who are Civil War buffs. The series helps us imagine what it might have been like to be there.
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Paul Solenick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Shaara''s best work to date.
Reviewed in the United States on April 23, 2017
Having just returned from a visit to Vicksburg, this book by Shaara was a terrific primer on the subject. Shaara has developed into a first class writer of historical novels about the civil War. He is able to give you the facts while also developing story lines about the... See more
Having just returned from a visit to Vicksburg, this book by Shaara was a terrific primer on the subject. Shaara has developed into a first class writer of historical novels about the civil War. He is able to give you the facts while also developing story lines about the major characters as well as some what I assume to be are fictional foot soldiers and members of the effected civilian population. I like the fact that he carries over one or two of the soldiers from his previous books and further develops their characters. I think this novel is his best work to date.But the reader needs to go to Vicksburg to see the battelfield and city first hand to really have an appreciation of Shaaras work. It really brings Shaara''s story into perspective. His description of the battlefield, the people, and the city of Vicksburg are first rate. I recommend this historical novel very highly.
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Mr. Joe
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Grant''s pick and shovel work
Reviewed in the United States on May 13, 2015
"Grant pushed the horse forward, moved slowly toward (General) Logan, the man turning to him, a salute, and then a tip of the hat. Grant could see now that Logan had tears on his face ... A breeze rose now, soft and warm, and between the ragged lines of rebel soldiers,... See more
"Grant pushed the horse forward, moved slowly toward (General) Logan, the man turning to him, a salute, and then a tip of the hat. Grant could see now that Logan had tears on his face ... A breeze rose now, soft and warm, and between the ragged lines of rebel soldiers, Grant saw what Logan had already seen. Along the crest of the defensive works, scattered between the men, there was a fluttering of white flags." ‒ from A CHAIN OF THUNDER

A CHAIN OF THUNDER by Jeff Shaara is his second historical novel on the progress of the American Civil War in its western theater, the first in the series being A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh (the Civil War in the West) . This second book is about the Siege of Vicksburg in the spring/summer of 1863.

A CHAIN OF THUNDER is a series of chapters from the points of view of Major General Ulysses Grant (Commanding General of the Union''s Army of the Tennessee), Major General William Sherman (commanding the Union''s XV Corps), Union Private Fritz Bauer (a sniper in the 17th Wisconsin, Sixth Division, XVII Corps), General Joseph Johnston (commanding the Confederate Department of the West), Lt. General John Pemberton (commanding the Confederate Army of Vicksburg, aka Army of Mississippi), and Lucy Spence (a civilian 19-year old resident of Vicksburg).

The book begins with Grant''s successful crossing of his army from the western to eastern shore of the Mississippi River below Vicksburg after months of futile attempts to take the city from the north, then proceeds to adequately summarize the capture of Mississippi''s capital, Jackson, and the decisive pre-siege Battle of Champion Hill (most excellently described in Timothy Smith''s Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg ).

The core of A CHAIN OF THUNDER revolves around Grant''s siege of Vicksburg and its effect on the city''s military defenders and civilian population.

The excellence of Jeff Shaara''s writing skills need no additional adulation from me. His various historical novels based on America''s Civil War (and other wars) are held in the highest esteem. The value, at least to me, of this particular volume lies in its description of the siege assault on Vicksburg''s fortifications, which is so different in nature and pace from other major battles of the Civil War that raged in furious movement over the terrain of the moment and lasted perhaps two or three days at most. Grant''s pick and shovel attack on Vicksburg, necessary after failed frontal strikes, is a gritty and brutal affair for both sides that is, for the reader, illustrative of the tactic. It presages Grant''s nine months of trench warfare against the Virginia city of Petersburg in 1864-1865 (described as part of Shaara''s novel The Last Full Measure: A Novel of the Civil War (Civil War Trilogy) ).

A CHAIN OF THUNDER includes fourteen eminently useful maps (though none are as good as the best Civil War battle maps I''ve ever come across, those in the aforementioned CHAMPION HILL).

This series on the western war concludes with The Smoke at Dawn: A Novel of the Civil War (the Civil War in the West) and The Fateful Lightning: A Novel of the Civil War . I''m all in for both.
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Fred P.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Good read not quite on a level with others by the same author
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2014
I am a great fan of this entire series of books and this was another enjoyable read. That said, I felt the book came up a bit short in real substance. The story follows a mere 5 characters and the three (Sherman, Grant, and Pemberton) that are major historical figures are... See more
I am a great fan of this entire series of books and this was another enjoyable read. That said, I felt the book came up a bit short in real substance. The story follows a mere 5 characters and the three (Sherman, Grant, and Pemberton) that are major historical figures are given the exact standard textbook historical stance with no unusual wrinkles at all. Sherman is plagued by doubts, Pemberton can’t make up his mind, and Grant is the steady and systematic man in charge. There are some real missed opportunities here. The points of view of Porter and other naval personnel, some of the confederate officers like Loring or Bowen, or Johnston’s cavalry would have added other dimensions to the story. More could have been made out of Mexican War flashbacks. I still miss the antics of the spy Harrison from Killer Angels, and a similar character could have been inserted here where smuggling through the siege blockade was such an important issue. This is a historical novel after all, and a spy could be made up even if a handy historical figure was not actually available. Probably the single biggest character with a potential point of view that goes unexplored is Dana. Here is a guy embedded in the politics of Washington sent to spy on Grant and actually makes his mind up on the basis of what he sees. It would have been fascinating to see how this political animal reacted to the events as they transpired. Medical history shows that the severe stresses of the Civil War resulted in major advances in medical procedures so that the opportunity to address that aspect goes largely unexplored. I liked the touch of having Lucy look for a lieutenant you expect her to hook up with, and having it all evaporate. Effective maps helped make the action meaningful. So this was a book certainly worth reading and only pales by comparison with some of the other works by the same author.
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Steven M. AnthonyTop Contributor: Fantasy Books
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Typical Shaara Product
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2014
Jeff Shaara has written a number of books, all focusing on wars or specific battles, usually involving the Civil War. The subject of this work is the Siege of Vicksburg and the various skirmishes and strategies leading up to it. The action in this piece of historical... See more
Jeff Shaara has written a number of books, all focusing on wars or specific battles, usually involving the Civil War. The subject of this work is the Siege of Vicksburg and the various skirmishes and strategies leading up to it. The action in this piece of historical fiction flows up on his earlier novel, A Blaze of Glory, which detailed the Battle of Shiloh.

Shaara tells the story through the eyes of several characters, from commanding generals to front line troops (and in this case, a young woman inhabitant of Vicksburg), a device first used so successfully by his father Michael Shaara in Killer Angels, a dramatized look at the Battle of Gettysburg and one of the best books I’ve ever read. Sadly, the father overshadows the son, and though this is a good summary of the events leading up to and through the Siege of Vicksburg, it pales in comparison to Killer Angels (possibly, in part, because the Battle of Gettysburg provides a richer cast of characters and events).

Nevertheless, it is a good history lesson for those interested in Civil War history or some of the major characters active in the western theater of the war.
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Jim Duggins, Ph.D.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Old Seceshes Die Hard
Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2013
It is difficult to write a review of a perfect historical novel. Such is the case with Jeff Shaara''s book, "A Chain of Thunder: A novel of the Siege of Vicksburg." In this book, the writer describes it all, realistic characters brought to life with their faults as well as... See more
It is difficult to write a review of a perfect historical novel. Such is the case with Jeff Shaara''s book, "A Chain of Thunder: A novel of the Siege of Vicksburg." In this book, the writer describes it all, realistic characters brought to life with their faults as well as their perfections, they grieve and also celebrate. You know them in their tents, in the battlefields, and in the caves considered the only place safe. In this case, a civil war novel, there is no laborious lecture, Author Shaara takes us there to experience it, up close and personal. The prose is clean and precise, elegantly literary while remaining accessible.

The author''s seeming command of every detail, as gruesome as war necessarily is, is breathtaking in the vast sweep of this military action down to the details of the surgeon''s tent.

Author Shaara accomplishes this humanization of characters by focusing on them, the leading generals on both confederate and federal sides of the conflict, the enlisted men in the trenches and front lines as well as finally the civilians, residents of Vicksburg. Nor does he spare us the ugliness of death and dying in combat, but personalizes the impact of that tragedy upon the leading characters, Generals Grant and Sherman, and their staffs.

Of course, we know who won at the siege of Vicksburg but the author''s literary skills is so sure, his understanding of the men on both sides so prescient and clear that we are led step by step to participate in the battle through their eyes and conversations. We see the pile of arms in the surgeon''s tent, the soldier who trips over the dead body of his best friend on the battlefield. We see what hunger can do to people - a torture of appetite as awful as thumbscrews, enough to make one sneak away to desert.

First to last, this book is alive with tension - unrelieved by knowing what happened from what you studied in school. "A Chain of Thunder" is the second of a four book series, but you won''t need to read the first to step right into the action of this one - but, when you''ve read this one, you''ll not be able to resist the others.
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Red Ryder
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Grant, Sherman and Pemberton
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2017
Shaara brings life to the most tragic part of American history, the Civil War. His research is impeccable, and his weaving of his imagination with the researched fact is both enlightening and vividly real. Civil War buffs know Shaara already from his many previous books on... See more
Shaara brings life to the most tragic part of American history, the Civil War. His research is impeccable, and his weaving of his imagination with the researched fact is both enlightening and vividly real. Civil War buffs know Shaara already from his many previous books on the Civil War, but if you are not a buff, but have a curiosity about this aspect of America''s civil war Shaara just might satisfy it.
7 people found this helpful
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English Prof
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Solid Historical Fiction
Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2013
Let me begin by confessing that I am biased. You see, I believe that "The Killer Angels", written by Jeff Shaara''s father, is far and away the best war novel I have ever read. That said, I find myself forever unfairly trying to compare the son''s work to his father''s... See more
Let me begin by confessing that I am biased. You see, I believe that "The Killer Angels", written by Jeff Shaara''s father, is far and away the best war novel I have ever read. That said, I find myself forever unfairly trying to compare the son''s work to his father''s legacy, and I am forever disappointed. Don''t get me wrong, the history is solid and well researched; the characters are believable, the inherent horrors of the siege of Vicksburg are laid bare, but it just leaves me cold. For comparison, take a look at Ralph Peters'' new book on the Richmond campaign, "Hell or Richmond," it reads far more engrossingly as prose than does Shaara''s work. It took me two weeks to slog through Shaara''s text, and I just began Peters'', yet I am a third of the way today (my second day) and find it hard to put down. I know, I know, Jeff Shaara is a talented writer; my problem is that, having been exposed to his father''s soaring prose years ago, I think I try to hold Jeff to an unfair standard. His military narratives, and I own all of them, are solid, well researched and often plodding accounts of dramatic events; they just somehow lack that spark which would allow them to transcend their genre. Even so, they are well worth reading.
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Top reviews from other countries

D. Spencer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Really very good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 13, 2020
This was my first J Shaara novel. It flows really well and the characters are given depth and personality. From strategic to personal experiences, the narrative and dialogue were clear and first class. American literature at its best.
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feydor
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Marvelous book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 18, 2014
Great account of another deciding battle of the civil war. Another Share masterpiece. Can''t get enough of the accurate, beautiful and emotional style that he applies to his writings.
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Barry W
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Jeff Shaara at his best - as usual!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 5, 2016
Another brilliant account of the Civil War. What else would you expect from Jeff Shaara
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James M Duncan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 3, 2016
Thank you
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N. J. Papworth
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2015
Good product, good service
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