Monday, November 21, 2011

Hearts Touched by Fire edited by Harold Holzer

"We have shared the incommunicable experience of war. We have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top. In our youths, our hearts were touched with fire." --- Oliver Wendell Holmes

A friend alerted me to an estate sale in North Dallas that was offering books on the Civil War.  As I was perusing the assortment of volumes available, my wife brought me a large (2 1/2 inch thick book) entitled Hearts Touched by Fire. The price was right and so I added it to the pile of books that I had selected.   Several days later I had an opportunity to study the book and discovered a wonderful collection of first-hand accounts about the North-South conflict.

Let me give you some examples:
  • P.G.T. Beauregard on “The First Battle of Bull Run”
  • Joe Johnston discusses “Responsibilities of the First Bull Run”
  • “The Capture of Fort Donelson” by Lew Wallace
  • U.S. Grant on” The Battle of Shiloh”
  • “The Building of the Monitor” by John Ericsson
  • “The Vicksburg Campaign” by Grant
  • “Early’s March to Washington in 1864” by Jubal A. Early
  • James Longstreet’s observations on “The Battle of Fredericksburg”  
The book, which was issued as part of the sesquicentennial celebration, contains the best of the articles published in the magazine series “The Battles and Leaders of the Civil War” and later four-volume book edition printed in 1888.

The value of Hearts Touched by Fire is in the recollections and opinions of these Civil War leaders. They are not always correct, but they convey the prevailing attitudes and beliefs of the authors in justifying their actions and those of their superiors. Be sure to read Harold Holzer’s introduction to learn how the series was created.

We applaud the efforts of Holzer and fellow contributors James McPherson, James Robertson, Stephen Sears, Craig Symonds, and Joan Waugh for bringing these stories to a new generation of Civil War enthusiasts.

We give Hearts Touched by Fire four stars and the rank of General.

Please click on the following link to order a copy.

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