Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Chain of Thunder - Jeff Shaara

The Siege of Vicksburg
Jeff Shaara continues his Civil War trilogy that began with A Blaze of Glory with the next installment, A Chain of Thunder. The novel describes General U. S. Grant's Vicksburg Campaign that concluded with the surrender of  the "Gibraltar of the West" on July 4, 1863.

The Vicksburg Campaign and siege are described by Shaara through the eyes of four main characters: Major General Ulysses S. Grant, Major General William T. Sherman, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton, Union Private Fritz Bauer, and nineteen year-old, Vicksburg resident Miss Lucy Spence. These perspectives limit our view of the events leading to and during the siege. I would have liked to have seen the siege through the eyes of a Confederate soldier manning the line.

The historic novel is a suitable bookend to the elder Sharra's compelling drama The Killer Angels.  Unfortunately, Jeff Shaara has less dramatic material to utilize. The 47-day siege can hardly compare to the excitement of Little Round Top or Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg.  Shaara is forced to deal with the hardships faced by Confederate officers and Vicksburg citizens and the failed Union assaults on the Rebel works.  He does a fine job in translating historical accounts into compelling fiction.

Mr. Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of A Blaze of Glory, The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers.  His novels, Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, The Killer Angels.
We give A Chain of Thunder

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