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Battle at Bull Run: A History of the First Major Campaign of the Civil War

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  89 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Two great, untested armies were readying for the first—and what many believed would be the last—major conflict between North and South. On the eve of July 21, 1861, one Northerner wrote: “The sky is perfectly clear, the moon is full and bright, and the air was still as if it were not within a few hours to be disturbed by the roar of cannon and the shouts of contending men. ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published June 6th 2012 by Doubleday (first published 1977)
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'Aussie Rick'
Jun 15, 2014 'Aussie Rick' rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war

This new and revised edition of Battle at Bull Run: A History of the First Major Campaign of the Civil War (first published in 1977) offers the reader a splendid narrative of the first major battle of the American Civil War. On the 21st of July 1861, 60,000 American soldiers from the North and South met along the banks of Bull Run. In the fighting that followed the Union forces lost 2,900 out of the 20,000 men engaged while the Confederates lost 2,000 out of about 17,000 engaged.

The first half o
As a longtime historian of the Civil War, William C. Davis has written extensively about the conflict. This is one of his earliest works, a study of the campaign fought in northeastern Virginia in the summer of 1861. Davis's skills as a writer are on full display, as he provides an entertaining narrative that details the events of the battle as best he can. The book suffers, though, from a paucity of maps; those provided are only for the battle itself, and these are of inferior quality. This is ...more
Apr 02, 2011 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty good account of the Civil War's first major battle, but somehow Davis' presentation of it didn't really "pop" for me.
Aug 16, 2013 Mac rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In reading William Davis's "Battle at Bull Run," I was shocked at times at how unfamiliar so many of the names were to me. I have been immersing myself in the history of the Civil War, yet I had never heard of some of the key characters in the opening drama. The Battle of Bull Run was the largest fight on the American continent up to that point, yet it would soon be dwarfed by battles like Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg. It was highly instructive to go back to the very first big battle to see ...more
Robert Jones
Obviously a well-researched book, and technically well written. But man, this was so hard to read. Davis does an excellent job describing the campaign of the Battle of Bull Run, and really helps the reader understand why the two armies clashed where they did. But he introduces too much too fast, each paragraph describing another regiment or minor colonel so rapidly that it became hard to follow. The battle itself isn't narrated quite as well as the campaign, which is a shame. Davis also displays ...more
Joseph (Sonny)
Aug 29, 2008 Joseph (Sonny) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second book by William C. Davis. I cam acorss William Davis from watching the "Civil War Journal" on the history channel. He has the ability to put historical facts into a narrative that is informative and yet interesting even knowing the outcome. I did find that the maps could have been better but the flow of the battle was sill easy to follow. His history of the Alamo, "Three Roads to the Alamo" tells a wonderful story of the men Bowie, Travis, and Crocket and the true facts of the ...more
Jan 27, 2013 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war-nf
Very surprising that this was so good. One of the older books I found at McMurtry's bookstore in Archer City. Liked how Davis told such detailed and well thought out account of battle, yet still showed the characters with "life" in them. Some of the information about the characters seemed to validate some of the outrageous characterizaations of Reger, which suggests this is one of his sources that he didn't serve very well.
This is a nice overview of the campaign, and decent overview of the battle. Mr Davis seriously does not like PGT Beauregard, though, and this colors some of his analysis, so it's best to keep that in mind as you read 'Battle at Bull Run.' Also, there are occasional, minor inaccuracies that don't affect the flow of the narrative, but are nonetheless troubling.
May 21, 2013 Geoff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
detailed, 297 pages describing the events leading up to; and then 1st major battle of the civil war. Anequedotes and actual battle dialog noted. Famous 'Stonewall' description by Bee, who died in the battle. This was a harder book to read.
Matthew Ericson
It was a solid work, it had some errors. But overall a decent read.
Fredrick Danysh
The first Baattle of Bull Run was a disaster for the Union. Also the federal retreat was hampered by the crowds of picnicers from the capital who came to see the rebels traashed.
Yawn...the details are there but oh, how boring the writing was.
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Currently professor of history at Virginia Tech, William C. Davis has written over fifty books, most about the American Civil War. He has won the Jefferson Davis Prize for southern history three times, the Jules F. Landry Award for Southern history once, and has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

For several years, he was the editor of the magazine Civil War Times Illustrated. He has also
More about William C. Davis...

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