Preview – Joseph A. Rose: “Grant Under Fire”

10 10 2015

PrintIronically, this preview of Joseph A. Rose’s Grant Under Fire: An Expose of Generalship & Character in the American Civil War, will be brief. I say ironically because this one weighs in at 621 pp of narrative, with another 105 pp of notes and 38 pp of bibliography. That is to say, it’s a big honking book. Dust jacket blurbs include William Glenn Robertson, Wiley Sword, John Horn, Lawrence Lee Hewitt, and Gordon Rhea, among others. Most of the maps are by Hal Jespersen, or are based on maps by him. Other than maps and tables, though, there are no illustrations in the book, so what you get for the most part are words. Lots and lots of them.

This book is about Grant’s generalship, and so we go from his birth to the Civil War in ten pages, and the postwar is covered in about 40 pages. So it appears that, despite the length of the book, the author has not been distracted too much (I’ve seen lengthy tomes ostensibly focused on specific actions, units, or individuals, which spend dozens of pages on Lincoln’s election, secession, and the outbreak of war, for instance.)

As the author points out, Grant Under Fire is an expose, so it will feel distinctly one-sided. That’s the nature of the beast, after all. You can find more information at the author’s website here. And I’ve completed an interview with Mr. Rose which I’ll post shortly.

Think of this as a tease.

Stay tuned – this should be interesting. At least, I hope so!

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7 responses

10 10 2015
Theodore P. Savas

I have read bits and pieces, and find it provocative, not always convincing, but a good and thoughtful read.

If you like English general, J. F. C. Fuller’s full-body slams against General Lee (such as “Grant and Lee: A Study in Personality and Generalship”), you will likely enjoy this one, as it is in the same mold.

I, for one, enjoy sharpened pens on occasion, and this one has a razor on the end.

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10 10 2015
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks Ted. It will be interesting to see if the interview generates any comments. I’m hoping it does, but you can never tell with these things.

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10 10 2015
Dave Powell

I am about 2/3 of the way through it. I’d agree that it is provocative, but each argument is well-documented. In matters of interpretation, Mr. Rose will usually take the dimmest view of Grant’s motives, but he does not fly off into wild speculation when he does so. Grant does come in for an unceasing pounding. No let up.

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10 10 2015
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks Dave!

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10 10 2015
Pat Young

This book has been generating a lot of discussion among people who have not read it. I will direct folks your way when the interview appears.

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10 10 2015
Harry Smeltzer

Look for it late Sunday or early Monday.

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11 10 2015
Interview: Joseph A. Rose, “Grant Under Fire” | Bull Runnings

[…] Under Fire: An Expose of Generalship and Character in the American Civil War. I previewed the book here. Mr. Rose took some time to answer some questions about the book […]

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