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River Run Red: The Fort Pillow Massacre in the American Civil War

3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  47 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
The fullest account ever written on the Civil War tragedy that stunned a nation

On April 12, 1864, 3,000 Confederate cavalrymen under General Nathan Bedford Forrest stormed the much smaller garrison of Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, slaughtering hundreds of white Unionists and re-enslaving some sixty former slaves in uniform. Andrew Ward vividly recounts, as never
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Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 2005)
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Matt
Jul 01, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
Slavery was both the cause and conclusion of the American Civil War. Despite this, African Americans have long been relegated to understudies in their own story. They have been shunted to the sidelines by the intense focus on individual Civil War battles, their existence fleetingly mentioned if at all.

There are two major exceptions to this generality.

The first, known by even casual students of the war, is the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. This was the black unit who made the heroically
...more
Steve
Jan 03, 2010 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book starts off a bit confusingly for a reader like me, someone who knows a bit about the Civil War, but is relatively unfamiliar with the Battle at Fort Pillow. To begin with the author mentions dozens and dozens of people by name in the first hundred pages; it left me wondering who the key actors were. I could have benefited from a cast of characters. Also a decent map. This might be a pet peeve of mine, but I almost always wish history books had better maps. This one has only one map, an ...more
Jerry Teipen
Aug 23, 2012 Jerry Teipen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
I was disappointed in this book. The detail was so overwhelming that it it took away from the flow of the story. The author felt compelled to give a complete biographical background of seemingly every player in the story...I mean EVERYONE! Throwing in some interesting facts about the more general characters from time to time is a great way to liven things up...but, I personally, am not overly concerned about where "Joe" grew up and went to school and married when it has no bearing on the story l ...more
June
Jan 03, 2011 June rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book about the Fort Pillow massacre. The first person accounts are chilling--brutal. The author ends the book by reporting that in 1995, a gigantic statue of the massacre's leader, General Forrest, was erected at "Confederate Flag Park" in Brentwood, Tennessee. No, not 1895. "Historian" Shelby Foote claimed in Ken Burns's Civil War series that "Forrest had been not only a kindly slave trader but a force for moderation in the Ku Klux Klan." WTF? Fact check, please...Oh, and this gem, " ...more
Clive Warner
Feb 18, 2008 Clive Warner rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: scholars of the US civil war
I was, frankly, expecting something more exciting, along the lines of one of Coyle's novels about the American civil war.
This book is not a novel but a history, and a detailed one at that. The author has evidently performed considerable research and gives a lot of detailed information on the background, the people, the locale, etc.
Unfortunately it was rather too dry for my taste. OK for a scholar interested in the period, but not for someone hoping for a gut-wrenching war story.
Strawfoot
Everyone knows that I dislike books that expand the focus way beyond the subject matter for the sake of fattening the book. The first person accounts are enough to make this a rich, albeit shorter, text. An editor would have been lovely. Also, the reference to NBF as the "Wizard" off/on throughout the book drove me crazy.
Fredrick Danysh
Feeling about blacks ran high on both sides during the American Civil War. The capture of Fort Pillow by Confederate forces led to unchecked killings of Union troops. The author condemns military leaders on both sides exposing their weaknesses. This is an enlightening read of the Civil War.
Deb
Dec 23, 2008 Deb rated it liked it
Own
Read parts needed for a PowerPoint project.
Will Kastner
Aug 03, 2011 Will Kastner rated it it was amazing
Comprehensive and convincing.
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