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About Bruce Catton
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Library of Congress (File:Bruce Catton LC-USZ62-132904.jpg) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.
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The first book in Bruce Catton’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Army of the Potomac Trilogy, Mr. Lincoln’s Army is a riveting history of the early years of the Civil War, when a fledgling Union Army took its stumbling first steps under the command of the controversial general George McClellan. Following the secession of the Southern states, a beleaguered President Abraham Lincoln entrusted the dashing, charismatic McClellan with the creation of the Union’s Army of the Potomac and the responsibility of leading it to a swift and decisive victory against Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Although a brilliant tactician who was beloved by his troops and embraced by the hero-hungry North, McClellan’s ego and ambition ultimately put him at loggerheads with his commander in chief—a man McClellan considered unworthy of the presidency.
McClellan’s weaknesses were exposed during the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American military history, which ended in a stalemate even though the Confederate troops were greatly outnumbered. After Antietam, Lincoln ordered McClellan’s removal from command, and the Union entered the war’s next chapter having suffered thousands of casualties and with great uncertainty ahead.
America’s premier chronicler of the nation’s brutal internecine conflict, Bruce Catton is renowned for his unparalleled ability to bring a detailed and vivid immediacy to Civil War battlefields and military strategy sessions. With tremendous depth and insight, he presents legendary commanders and common soldiers in all their complex and heartbreaking humanity.
In the second book of the Army of the Potomac Trilogy, Bruce Catton—one of America’s most honored Civil War historians—once again brings the great battles and the men who fought them to breathtaking life. As the War Between the States moved through its second bloody year, General Ambrose Burnside was selected by President Lincoln to replace the ineffectual George “Little Mac” McClellan as commander of the Union Army. But the hope that greeted Burnside’s ascension was quickly dashed in December 1862 in the wake of his devastating defeat at Fredericksburg.
Following Burnside’s exit, a mediocre new commander, Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker, turned a sure victory into tragedy at Chancellorsville, continuing the Union’s woes and ensuring Robert E. Lee’s greatest triumph of the war. But the tide began to turn over the course of three days in July 1863, when the Union won a decisive victory on the battlefield of Gettysburg. Months later, Lincoln would give his historic address on this ground, honoring the fallen soldiers and strengthening the Union Army’s resolve to fight for a united and equal nation for all of its people.
With brilliant insight, color, and detail, Catton interweaves thrilling narratives of combat with remarkable portrayals of politics and life on the home front. Glory Road is a sweeping account of extraordinary bravery and shocking incompetence during what were arguably the war’s darkest days.
In this final volume of the Army of the Potomac Trilogy, Catton, America's foremost Civil War historian, takes the reader through the battles of the Wilderness, the Bloody Angle, Cold Harbot, the Crater, and on through the horrible months to one moment at Appomattox. Grant, Meade, Sheridan, and Lee vividly come to life in all their failings and triumphs.
This conclusion to Bruce Catton’s acclaimed history of General Grant begins in the summer of 1863. After Grant’s bold and decisive triumph over the Confederate Army at Vicksburg, President Lincoln promoted him to the head of the Army of the Potomac. The newly named general was virtually unknown to the Union’s military high command, but he proved himself in the brutal closing year and a half of the War Between the States. Grant’s strategic brilliance and unshakeable tenacity crushed the Confederacy in the battles of the Overland Campaign in Virginia and the Siege of Petersburg.
In the spring of 1865, Grant finally forced Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, thus ending the bloodiest conflict on American soil. Although tragedy struck only days later when Lincoln—whom Grant called “incontestably the greatest man I have ever known”—was assassinated, Grant’s military triumphs would ensure that the president’s principles of unity and freedom would endure.
In Grant Takes Command, Catton offers readers an in-depth portrait of an extraordinary warrior and unparalleled military strategist whose brilliant battlefield leadership saved an endangered Union.
In this New York Times bestseller, preeminent Civil War historian Bruce Catton narrows his focus on commander Ulysses S. Grant, whose bold tactics and relentless dedication to the Union ultimately ensured a Northern victory in the nation’s bloodiest conflict.
While a succession of Union generals—from McClellan to Burnside to Hooker to Meade—were losing battles and sacrificing troops due to ego, egregious errors, and incompetence, an unassuming Federal Army commander was excelling in the Western theater of operations. Though unskilled in military power politics and disregarded by his peers, Colonel Grant, commander of the Twenty-First Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was proving to be an unstoppable force. He won victory after victory at Belmont, Fort Henry, and Fort Donelson, while brilliantly avoiding near-catastrophe and ultimately triumphing at Shiloh. And Grant’s bold maneuvers at Vicksburg would cost the Confederacy its invaluable lifeline: the Mississippi River. But destiny and President Lincoln had even loftier plans for Grant, placing nothing less than the future of an entire nation in the capable hands of the North’s most valuable military leader.
Based in large part on military communiqués, personal eyewitness accounts, and Grant’s own writings, Catton’s extraordinary history offers readers an insightful look at arguably the most innovative Civil War battlefield strategist, unmatched by even the South’s legendary Robert E. Lee.
A thrilling, page-turning piece of writing that describes the forces conspiring to tear apart the United States—with the disintegrating political processes and rising tempers finally erupting at Bull Run.
" . . . a major work by a major writer, a superb recreation of the twelve crucial months that opened the Civil War." —The New York Times
"The Civil War defined us as what we are and it opened us to being what we became, good and bad things.... It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a hell of a crossroads: the suffering, the enormous tragedy of the whole thing."- Shelby Foote, from The Civil War
When the illustrated edition of The Civil War was first published, The New York Time hailed it as "a treasure for the eye and mind." Now Geoffrey Ward's magisterial work of history is available in a text-only edition that interweaves the author's narrative with the voices of the men and women who lived through the cataclysmic trial of our nationhood: not just Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Robert E. Lee, but genteel Southern ladies and escaped slaves, cavalry officers and common foot soldiers who fought in Yankee blue and Rebel gray.
The Civil War also includes essays by our most distinguished historians of the era: Don E. Fehrenbacher, on the war's origins; Barbara J. Fields, on the freeing of the slaves; Shelby Foote, on the war's soldiers and commanders; James M. McPherson, on the political dimensions of the struggle; and C. Vann Woodward, assessing the America that emerged from the war's ashes.
In these two comprehensive and engaging volumes, preeminent Civil War historian Bruce Catton follows the wartime movements of Ulysses S. Grant, detailing the Union commander’s bold tactics and his relentless dedication to achieving the North’s victory in the nation’s bloodiest conflict.
While a succession of Union generals were losing battles and sacrificing troops due to ego, egregious errors, and incompetence in the early years of the war, an unassuming Federal army colonel was excelling in the Western theater of operations. Grant Moves South details how Grant, as commander of the Twenty-First Illinois Volunteer Infantry, though unskilled in military power politics and disregarded by his peers, was proving to be an unstoppable force. He won victory after victory at Belmont, Fort Henry, and Fort Donelson, while sagaciously avoiding near-catastrophe and ultimately triumphing at Shiloh. His decisive victory at Vicksburg would cost the Confederacy its invaluable lifeline: the Mississippi River.
Grant Takes Command picks up in the summer of 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to the head of the Army of the Potomac, placing nothing less than the future of an entire nation in the hands of the military leader. Grant’s acute strategic thinking and unshakeable tenacity led to the crushing defeat of the Confederacy in the Overland Campaign in Virginia and the Siege of Petersburg. In the spring of 1865, Grant finally forced Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, ending the brutal conflict. Although tragedy struck only days later when Lincoln was assassinated, Grant’s triumphs on the battlefield ensured that the president’s principles of unity and freedom would endure.
Based in large part on military communiqués, personal eyewitness accounts, and Grant’s own writings, this engrossing two-part biography offers readers an in-depth portrait of the extraordinary warrior and unparalleled strategist whose battlefield brilliance clinched the downfall of the Confederacy in the Civil War.
In Terrible Swift Sword, Bruce Catton tells the story of the Civil War as never before—of two turning points which changed the scope and meaning of the war. First, he describes how the war slowly but steadily got out of control. This would not be the neat, short, “limited” war both sides had envisioned. And then the author reveals how the sweeping force of all-out conflict changed the war’s purpose, in turning it into a war for human freedom.
It was not initially a war against slavery. Instead, this was, Mr. Lincoln kept insisting, a fight to reunite the United States. At first, it was not even much of a fight. Cautious generals; inexperienced, incompetent, or jealous administrators; shortages of good people and supplies; excess of both gloom and optimism, kept each side from swinging into decisive action. As the buildup began, there were maddening delays. The earliest engagements were halting and inconclusive. After these first tests at arms, reputations began to crumble. Buell, Halleck, Beauregard Albert Sidney Johnston. Failed to drive ahead—for reasons good and bad. General McClellan (impaled in these pages on the arrogant words of his letters) captured more imaginations than enemies, and continued to accept serious over estimates of Confederate strength while becoming more and more fatally estranged from his own government.
The final volume of Bruce Catton's monumental Centennial History of the Civil War traces the war from Fredericksburg through the succeeding grim and relentless campaigns to the Courthouse at Appomattox and the death of Lincoln.
This is an eloquent study of the bitterest years of the war when death slashed the country with a brutality unparalleled in the history of the United States. Through the kaleidoscope tone and temper of the struggle, two men, different in stature, but similar in dedication to their awesome tasks, grappled with the burden of being leaders both in politics and war. In the north Lincoln remained resolute in the belief that a house divided against itself could not stand. His determination and uncanny vision of the destiny of the country and its people far transcended the plaguing tensions, fears, and frustrations of his cabinet and Congress. Mr. Lincoln’s use of vast resources is brilliantly contrasted to Davis’s valiant struggle for political and economic stability in a hopelessly fragmented and underdeveloped south. Though Davis never lacked for spirit and dedication, his handicaps were severe. This was not a war to be won by static ideals and romanticism. As Mr. Lincoln managed to expand and intensify the ideals that sustained the Northern war effort, Mr. Davis was never able to enlarge the South’s. This was a war to be won by flexibility in though, strength in supplies, and battles. And so they were fought––Fredericksburg, The Wilderness, Chancellorsville, Vicksburg, Gettysburg.
Engaging and authoritative, Catton analyzes the course of events at Gettysburg, clarifying its causes and bringing to life the most famous battle ever fought on American soil. Paying full heed to the human tragedies that occurred, Gettysburg: The Final Fury gives an hour-by-hour account of the three-day battle, from the skirmish that began the engagement, to Pickett’s ill-fated charge. Catton provides context for the fateful decisions made by each army’s commanders, and examines the battle’s military and political consequences, placing it within the larger narrative of the Civil War and American history. Described by The Chicago Tribune as “military history…at its best,” Gettysburg, The Final Fury is a classic.
Features 41 illustrations and 5 maps.
Covering events from the prelude of the conflict to the death of Lincoln, Catton blends a gripping narrative with deep, yet unassuming, scholarship to bring the war alive on the page in an almost novelistic way. It is this gift for narrative that led contemporary critics to compare this book to War and Peace, and call it a “modern Iliad.” Now over fifty years old, This Hallowed Ground remains one of the best-loved and admired general Civil War books: a perfect introduction to readers beginning their exploration of the conflict, as well as a thrilling analysis and reimagining of its events for experienced students of the war.