Publisher's Note:  

In the first novel of a spellbinding new trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows best. A Blaze of Glory takes us to the action-packed Western Theater for a vivid re-creation of one of the war’s bloodiest and most iconic engagements—the Battle of Shiloh.
It’s the spring of 1862. The Confederate Army in the West teeters on the brink of collapse following the catastrophic loss of Fort Donelson. Commanding general Albert Sidney Johnston is forced to pull up stakes, abandon the critical city of Nashville, and rally his troops in defense of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Hot on Johnston’s trail are two of the Union’s best generals: the relentless Ulysses Grant, fresh off his career-making victory at Fort Donelson, and Don Carlos Buell. If their combined forces can crush Johnston’s army and capture the railroad, the war in the West likely will be over. There’s just one problem: Johnston knows of the Union plans, and is poised to launch an audacious surprise attack on Grant’s encampment—a small settlement in southwestern Tennessee anchored by a humble church named Shiloh.
With stunning you-are-there immediacy, Shaara takes us inside the maelstrom of Shiloh as no novelist has before. Drawing on meticulous research, he dramatizes the key actions and decisions of the commanders on both sides: Johnston, Grant, Sherman, Beauregard, and the illustrious Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest. Here too are the thoughts and voices of the junior officers, conscripts, and enlisted men who gave their all for the cause, among them Confederate cavalry lieutenant James Seeley and Private Fritz “Dutchie” Bauer of the 16th Wisconsin Regiment—brave participants in a pitched back-and-forth battle whose casualty count would far surpass anything the American public had yet seen in this war. By the end of the first day of fighting, as Grant’s bedraggled forces regroup for could be their last stand, two major events—both totally unexpected—will turn the tide of the battle and perhaps the war itself.

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Ballantine Books

A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh

by Jeff Shaara

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Overall Review:  

The Battle of Shiloh was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War when it was fought in 1862.  Because of the communication of the time those in the east were only told that there was a victory by the Union forces somewhere in Tennessee.  Jeff Shaara puts together a much more intricate and thorough picture of those two bloody days. 


Shaara stays true to his Pulitzer Prize-winning father's style and tells the story of Shiloh through the eyes of those who were there.  Intensely graphic at times combined with lethargically interpersonal, the book explores the inner workings and motivation of the characters involved.  In the beginning the story lags with its build-up and back story, but this build-up enhances the intense fighting described later in the book.  Full of interesting historical facts the book could be a history book but reads as intended--a novel of historically fiction.  For history buffs this book is a must read, but may be a little slow in the beginning for the casual reader.

Content Analysis:  

Language/Profanity: 11 religious exclamations; 106 mild obscenities; 8 religious profanities; 8 derogatory names; 8 anatomical terms.


Violence/Gore: Mob violence and rioting; soldier drowns trying to cross river; soldier is captured and beaten; many detailed intense fighting scenes describing the battles at Shiloh, included in the violence is descriptions of soldiers being shot by muskets and cannon fire.  The wounds and carnage is detailed and includes amputation, goring wounds such as head shots, and intense damage done by cannon fire; horses are killed in the same manner and wounded horses are "put down" by soldiers.


Sex/Nudity:  One account of soldiers sneaking off at night to the other camps that followed the army and provided "entertainment" to the troops.  Prostitution is alluded to but not described.

Mature Subject Matter:  

War, death, Civil War.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Characters smoke cigars and drink whiskey.  Some drinking is done in excess.

Reviewed By Matthew
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