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The Battle of the Crater

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  250 ratings  ·  54 reviews
With The Battle of the Crater, New York Times bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen take readers to the center of a nearly forgotten Civil War confrontation, a battle that was filled with controversy and misinterpretation even before the attack began. Drawing on years of research, the authors weave a complex narrative interweaving the high aspirations ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books
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Ok, ok, I know what you're thinking....
You can't possibly keep liking his books. People will stop thinking you're cool!.

Here's the thing: you don't get to be cool (like me) by reading what people think you should read. You get to be cool (like me) by reading whatever the hell you want, telling it like it is, and letting the chips fall where they may.

...I have to say, N E W T knows how to put out a good civil war historical novel. This one, in particular, would make for a good high school hist
No matter what you think of Mr. Gingrich's politics, he does write a good historical novel. I thought this was a very impressive retelling of the story of the Battle of the Crater. The authors stay close to the known facts and imbue the story with a realistic protrayal of the USCTs originally assigned to make the assault. One quible I have with them is the motives they assign to Meade for changing out the USCT for white regiments at the last minute.

I think that their portrayal of the last assul
A very good book. Very readable based on historical fact and real people. The authors lend their personal conversations to carry the story which must be as there were no records kept of the personal events of that time. The battle of the crater is one of the many battles fought during the American Civil War, this one is during the siege of Petersburg by Richmond, Virginia. The area of Petersburg is the railroad hub on the South and the North wants it to disrupt the flow of supplies to the South. ...more
An interesting historical novel of a lesser known battle of the Civil War in which the United States Colored Troops were to have a lead role in a battle that was planned to lead up to the end the War in the taking of Petersburg and then Richmond. The authors build up to this battle, developing the historic characters and then as the battle unfolds we learn their true natures. Envy, pettiness, military rivalries and ineptness all play out in a battle of devastating proportions. Though it is a nov ...more
I liked the book because I like historical fiction. It is pretty graphic in describing the battle scene at "the Crater" which is heart wrenching. Any war is ...
President Lincoln had the bad luck of having generals with very big egos-it was a wonder that the North won the war.
The book was written in the voice of James who was illustrator and a spy for Abe Lincoln.
The book also gave some insight and history into the USCT, the United States Colored Troops-"who were nearly two hundred regiments stro
Keith Beasley-topliffe
The main theme of the book is how a brilliant idea can be thoroughly screwed up as it moves up the chain of command. It places most of the blame for the failure on Gen. George Meade (though others with opportunity to save the situation also failed to do act). A secondary theme (and the original inspiration for telling this story) is the performance of the United States Colored Troops in the battle, mostly told through the particular story of Garland White, a black preacher turned recruiter and t ...more
Weston Kincade
This story of James and Reverend/Sargent White is superbly written and truly draws you into the gruesome battles, political corruption and electoral decision making at the cost of men's lives. You love and hate the characters, feeling their loss, their personal greed, and true concern for their brothers in arms. I was quite impressed with the story and plan to look into the Colored Civil War Troops more historically on my own. I highly recommend it.
Joel Burgess
An excellent read!! Starting this book, I knew the basics of the Battle of the Crater and now I am so glad that I read it. Even though this is a book of historical fiction, the historical facts of the building of the mine and the battle that followed are there. Listening from the Union side of the battle, with few views from the Confederate side, the reader gets a great building of the story of the battle plan, battle and the members of the Union Colored Troops. Reading of the gallantry of the c ...more
My knowledge of history is woefully lacking, so historic fiction that at least seems to be grounded in fact is not only entertainment but a learning experience for me. The downside, of course, is that the ending is predetermined, and no matter how much you want a character to make a different decision, it just isn't going to happen. The description of the battlefields and the men in the trenches is poignant and devastatingly real. The characters, even those seen briefly, are unique and compellin ...more
The Battle of the Crater is an excellent work of historical fiction that concerns itself with one of the lesser known battles of the Civil War. Although said of many battles during the war, the Battle of the Crater, had the mission been executed properly, would have ended the Civil War. The 48th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment is comprised of coal miners, and doing what they do best, they dig a tunnel under Fort Pegram on the Confederate line outside of Petersburg. They pack the magazines of the ...more
For the record, I did NOT read this because I agree with all of Newt's politics but instead, read it for the subject matter. I have always been interested in the Civil War period, but have never found the time to read about it, until now. This book recalls the events leading up to the infamous battle in Petersburg, VA that occurred on July 30, 1864, called the “Battle of the Crater.” To be specific, the plan involved digging a tunnel under Confederate lines and lining it with explosives. The pla ...more
David  Despain
Straight forward but good. It was well-written and interesting. It shed light on events I know little about, which to me makes it worth my time. I certainly recommend it to fellow history buffs. My wife got it for me as a present, and for the very first book she purchased she did a good job. I liked it a lot and for civil war novel it has a lot to offer. I also appreciated it's simplicity and ease. It wasn't as dense as other civil war novels I've read. I didn't drown in it, but it still felt au ...more
A very good telling of a battle that could have turned out very differently and may have changed the war. It is well researched, the human side of war is brought out, vanity, arrogance and prejudices. It covers the "what if", if the battle had been allowed to go forward as planned.
This is a story about the Battle of the Crater - July 1864. It was the Union's best chance to smash Lee's defenses and capture the vital rail center of Petersburg, VA. It is also the story of members of the United States Colored Troops who participated in the attack.

Disclosure - in college I wrote a research paper on James H. Ledlie - "The Union's Worst General" - which was published in a Civil War magazine in 1975. It was Ledlie's division that led the attack that day. I know the details of tha
Very well told and filled with lots of emotion. Gives a great look at that battle in history. Such a terrible time in history and this story really brings that out. Loved how well developed the characters were done. Highly recommend.
Unimaginative retelling of the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg. Repeated phrases, stilted conversation. But worst of all, the main character, a professional newspaper artist and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln also serves as Lincoln's spy on the Union troops. The accompanying uncredited illustrations, supposedly done by this "artist" are what you would see at a 6th grade art fair. Lame.
Sherri Anderson
Excellent story based on riveting facts. I was totally engrossed in the story. I could not put it down. I am ready to take on another book by Gingrich!
Lynn Pribus
This battle has intrigued me since I heard about it. We are not far from Petersburg and Richmond and plan a little sortie over there. Then I'll write up the novel and the park for mybimonthly short piece in MILITARY OFFICER magazine called VISITING A NOVEL IN..........

The authors, who have collaborated before, use an Irish illustrator from Harper's Weekly as the fictitious thread connecting the White House and the battlefield giving both the long view and the up close portrayal of the horrors of
Damn!! Historical fiction at its best. The focus of 'Crater' is the US Colored Troops who fought so bravely in their first action at Petersburg.
When you took your US history course in high school, even if you had a Civil War buff for a teacher, everything between Gettysburg and Appomattox was glossed over (OK, maybe the Battle of Atlanta was mentioned, Gone With the Wind after all and Sherman's march to the sea). It was unfortunate that blood baths, like the siege of Petersburg, were never discu
One of the greatest recommendations for reading Gingrich & Forstchen is their ability to insert their readers into the emotions and urgencies of decision and risk. So it is with the Battle of the Crater. Relive the sense of near failure on the battlegrounds of the Civil War. Then feel yourself living in the hearts and minds of the negro troops who desperately want to prove their worth and to be a part of their own destiny for the first time in their lives. The horrors and perils of war are v ...more
Sue Hickman
Loved it! Newt Gingrich has an amazing talent as a story teller!
Intense. Deeply personal.

I could not rush through this book. I had to walk away from it, from the horror of the war. But good. I always returned. You cannot forget such a book. Well done.
Really well read!
Mary Dileo
Virginia is rich with Civil War History and my children lived in Petersburg for a short period of time. I was struck by the title while waiting for my husband in a bookstore and it was on sale. I don't think we know enough about what took place during the Civil War. This is a crazy story and it's a 'Novel'. I've read another book about the Crater and this is close but probably makes up stories about the individual participants. It's the idea of creating a tunnel that is extraordinary. Amazing, r ...more
Glen Robinson
If I had read this book a month ago, I would have considered a pretty good book. But I read it immediately after "Hell or Richmond" by Ralph Peters, a book I consider decidedly superior. That's not to say this book isn't good; Forstchen remains among my favorite writers. But Peters' incredible detail and research is missing from this work. I also often wonder what role Newt Gingrich played in writing this book other than lending his name.
Not sure.
Should be taught in school as alternate history,
An interesting look at the Civil War through the eyes of an illustrator for newspapers. The illustrator is also a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, having worked with when he was a young lawyer in Illinois. Intriguing to see how the inner workings of the commanders of the Army could be so blinded by ambition and their own sense of decorum.
I absolutely love Newt Gingrich's Historical Fiction novels. I find them to be well researched, engrossing and educational to small battles in both the Revolutionary War and Civil War. I always know if he has a new fiction come out, it will move very quickly to the top of my TBR list and this book was no different.
Even if you don't like Newt Gingrich as a politician, as a historian he is spot on. This was a great historical look into the fiasco that was the Battle of the Crater. the Union army was trying to take Petersburg and if Burnside had had the correct equipment, he may have been able to win the war.
Sep 07, 2014 Dave added it
interesting book. learned a few things about leadership.
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Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich (born Newton Leroy McPherson) is an American politician who served as the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. In 1995, Time magazine selected him as the Person of the Year for his role in leading the Republican Revolution in the House, ending 40 years of the Democratic Party being in the majority. During his tenure as Speaker, he re ...more
More about Newt Gingrich...
Gettysburg (Gettysburg, #1) To Try Men's Souls (Revolutionary War, #1) Pearl Harbor: A Novel of December 8th (Pearl Harbor, #1) Grant Comes East (Gettysburg, #2) Never Call Retreat: Lee and Grant: The Final Victory (Gettysburg, #3)

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