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ARC: A Civil General by David Stinebeck and Scannell Gill

October 12, 2008

A Civil General
David Stienbeck and Scannell Gill
Sunstone Press; September 2008
160 pages
Book provided by the authors

For the most part I thought this book was just OK with some highlights. The closing pages are by far the best. They are the most moving, the most telling. They provide the greatest insight into the type of person General Thomas was which was the intention of this book in the first place. The authors want the reader to understand the man but miss the mark.

Mostly this book is spent fighting skirmishes, showcasing military maneuvers or moving between campaigns. The focus is almost totally centered around what type of leader and strategist General Howard was. Rarely are we offered glimpses of the personal, human side of this man. After a while the book takes on a repetitiveness as we spend page after page covering a military campaign where the only difference is the piece of real estate being fought over.

As I had an ARC I can’t offer quotes but there are pages, specifically 75, 77, 113, 114 and 139, that offer us a revealing look into the heart of the man. Beyond the veneer of military officer to his inner core. To what makes him tick.

What’s missing are the background details. The authors offer no family history, nothing about his childhood, upbringing or values. We have no details about his family ~ mother, father, siblings or extended family. Nothing about his years at West Point and his early military career. To the reader this man’s story beings at the battle of Chickamauga. It’s as if he didn’t exist before.

It’s a good introduction to General Thomas but it left me wanting something more. I feel like there’s unfinished business.

X-posted: Book Club & Book Publishers Blog

One Comment
  1. October 12, 2008 7:38 pm

    I have this one, too. I’m trying to figure out where to fit it in. It’s really a short book. It will be interesting to see if I end up feeling the same way that you do. I also wonder how it will stack up to Bedlam South.
    For me there isn’t really a comparison. ‘Bedlam South’ hands down is the better book.

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