The Flannery O'Connor Library

St. Pius X Catholic High School

Hymns of the Republic

973.7 GWY

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Hymns of the Republic : the story of the final year of the American Civil War

Gwynne, S. C. (Samuel C.), 1953-, author.

New York : Scribner, [2019]

xii, 395 p.

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"S.C. Gwynne's Hymns of the Republic addresses the period from Ulysses S. Grant's appointment as general of all Union armies in March 1864 to the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox a year later." --Provided by publisher.


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Editorial Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly.
Gwynne (Rebel Yell) homes in on the Civil War's last, brutal year with intelligent battlefield analyses and sympathetic, evenhanded portrayals of Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Clara Barton, and other major figures. Ambitious, humbly dressed Grant became the general of the Army of the Potomac and finally defeated the Confederacy through battlefield successes and jaw-dropping systematic devastation of the Shenandoah Valley and Atlanta, giving Lee generous terms of surrender at Appomattox. Lincoln struggled with years of Confederate victories, fresh political challenges from radical Republicans in the 1864 election, and the practicalities of multitudes of newly freed slaves. Throughout the narrative, Gwynne gives frank details on the thousands of African-Americans who toiled on both sides of the war, reminding the reader of the conflict's high stakes. The purposeful, powerful ending describes the horrific conditions in prisoner-of-war camps, pushing past the romantic mythologizing that was once common in writing about this devastating era. Gwynne excels in tightly focused storytelling, beginning most chapters with a well-chosen, often curiosity-provoking photograph. This is a must-read for Civil War enthusiasts. Agency: Amy Hughes, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Oct.)

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Review by Library Journal.
Journalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist Gwynne (Rebel Yell) brings the last year of the American Civil War into sharp focus in this insightful, well-written work. The spring of 1864 found the Confederacy hobbled but still able to field armies capable of attacking Union forces, all while huge swathes of territory remained out of Union control. The year 1864 was also an election year, and in order for Abraham Lincoln to win a second term, he needed to convince a war-weary North that the fight was worth continuing. In each chapter, Gwynne shows how the war took on increasingly unimaginable horror, from the massacre of black Union soldiers at Fort Pillow to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's rampage through Georgia to deny the enemy use of their land. He also relays the inhumane conditions discovered at Andersonville prison in the aftermath of the war and, finally, the assassination of Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth. VERDICT The actions of freed slaves and other African Americans are given considerable attention; however, since the work is mainly concerned with the Eastern theatre, the war's lasting impact on Native populations is neglected. Still, history and Civil War enthusiasts will find much to engage with in Gwynne's latest book.--Chad E. Statler, Westlake Porter P.L., Westlake, OH

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Booklist.
Creating suspense in recounting familiar events marks real talent in a historian; Gwynne does just this, covering in detail events of the Civil War's final year and giving his readers a real sense of wonder, even thrill. In vivid, bloody prose, he lays out the landscapes of the war's culminating battles, not sparing the reader the gut punch of inhuman horror such slaughter creates. The intimate connection of politics and battle in the increasingly war-weary North demanded Union victories if Lincoln were to win re-election in 1864. Generals Grant and Lee both used military prowess to support political agendas. Gwynne inventories the repeated abuses heaped on Black soldiers, who fought for freedom from slavery only to be confronted by physical and psychological cruelties stripping them of their full humanity. He finds words to convey the ghastly plight of wounded, dying soldiers. One inspiring story here is that of nurse Clara Barton, who tended the fallen in the field and then went bravely on to ensure the world learned the full extent of the crimes committed at Andersonville. A bibliography will aid readers in further research.--Mark Knoblauch Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.

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