The definitive history of a key battle that demands thoughtful consideration by anyone interested in the Civil War. (maps,...




A detailed account of how the Civil War engagement at Perryville, Kentucky, changed the lives of the soldiers, officers, and civilians who endured its brutality.

Noe (History/Auburn Univ.) untangles the complicated events leading up to and during the crucial battle between the forces of Union General Don Carlos Buell and Confederate General Braxton Bragg. His analysis emphasizes the effects of the opposing commanders’ personalities on their armies. Noe argues that Buell’s sympathies for the Confederate cause combined with his meticulous planning to produce an operational timidity that mystified and infuriated his Union subordinates. Likewise, he asserts that Bragg experienced monumental mood swings, which undermined his self-confidence and allowed subordinate generals to pursue their own uncoordinated plans. Under the guidance of these weak commanders, the two armies blundered into each other on October 8, 1862. Since neither Buell nor Bragg understood that they faced the bulk of the other’s armies, both generals made significant tactical errors: Bragg fed his regiments piecemeal into an inferno of Union artillery and small arms crossfire; Buell stubbornly refused to adequately reinforce his defensive lines or even believe that a major battle was unfolding until the combat was almost over. Making extensive use of personal letters and later interviews with the combatants, Noe vividly creates a horrific picture of the carnage that resulted from this incompetence, with many regiments suffering 50 percent casualties. He concludes that the heavy losses inflicted on Confederate forces constrained Bragg to abandon his attempt to capture Kentucky for the South, making Perryville a significant turning point in Civil War’s Western campaign.

The definitive history of a key battle that demands thoughtful consideration by anyone interested in the Civil War. (maps, illustrations, b&w photos)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8131-2209-0

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Univ. Press of Kentucky

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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