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Never Call Retreat (The Centennial History of the Civil War #3)

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  902 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Never Call Retreat (American Civil War Trilogy, Vol. 3)
Paperback, 558 pages
Published December 31st 2001 by Phoenix Press (first published 1965)
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Now that I'm at the end of the trilogy (this one covers post-Antietam to Appomattox), I continue to be in awe of Bruce Catton and I think I've figured out why.

1) He excels at putting you in the time and place. He allows the events to unfold and provides a great deal of background into how seemingly disparate actions tie together.

2) He deals with the various twists and turns without resorting to overly-dramatic story-telling. So many authors jump from drama to drama; Mr. Catton tells the story in
This is the third and final volume in the Centennial History of The Civil War by Bruce Catton. At the time this series was published Catton was the editor of the "American Heritage" and had already published a number of books on the Civil War. He won the Pulitzer for history in 1954 for A Stillness at Appomattox. I have read a number of his books. My favorite is The Coming Fury. That book is the first volume in this series and starts with the 1860 Democratic Party convention and goes through the ...more
Charles Lindsey
Anyone who has been reading Civil War history for years becomes disillusioned and dismayed, like the combatants themselves, charging when fresh but plodding when weary, yet somehow always renewed for the next battle just over the hill: further explanation. No book, no set of books, no lifetime of books will ever serve to encompass the Civil War. There is no way to contain the understanding and let it be. Bruce Catton's trilogy reads like the mighty campaign it must have been at the time--launche ...more
This is the final volume in Catton's Civil War history trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed its detailed description of the battles, as well as the in-depth explanation of the events away from the front. I would have liked to have it cover the actual aftermath of the war, Reconstruction, and so forth, but that wasn't the area the author was aiming to explore, so I can't really fault him for not writing a fourth volume dedicated to that.
Overall, it's an excellent trilogy and I recommend it highly. This
Amanda Dannehl
I was lucky enough to have had several excellent professors who taught Civil War history. I only with Bruce Catton had been one of them.
Found his entire series on the ivil War captivating, extremely readable
Stuart Lutzenhiser
Final volume of the Civil War history. It tkaes the reader from the period of late 1862 and the Battle of Fredricksburg through Lee's surrender and Lincoln's assassination but leaves the question of reconstruction alone. He only hints at how difficult it will be and how unique a position Grant and Sherman left the country in - that is, an honorable peace (for the defeated) that really made it unlikely that there would be continued guerilla fighting in the years ahead. Had they been more vindicti ...more
Dana King
Volume Three of Catton’s Civil War historical trilogy maintains the level of excellence of the first two. A lot of books have been written about the battles of the Civil, as if the armies stood around for weeks or months, then randomly decided to fight. Catton ties together the military, political, and social considerations in a series that brings as much sense as can be derived from such a universal cluster. Released in 1965, looking back 100 years, some of the parallels to what’s going on toda ...more
A fine book but not as outstanding as his prior work, "Terrible Swift Sword", as this titles spends more time discussing politics and cabinet 'intrigues'.
Only the Gettysburg portion, in preparation for an upcoming trip and because my husband the historian criticized the movie "Gettysburg" as superficial and misleading. However it seemed to me that the film took much of its dialogue straight from Catton.
F.C. Etier
Jul 08, 2011 F.C. Etier marked it as to-read
One of four books I found at a church garage sale. All four for a dollar! I enjoy reading old books and I'll write about this one when I finish.

Turns out, this is book three of a trilogy. If I like it, I may have to look up the other two.
Reynold Byers
Great end to the three book series. clearly and engagingly written. Catton has a definite thesis and he supports it well, but I don't think that detracts from a general understanding of the politics and battles of the war. I found it illuminating.
Potentially factually thin in a couple of places (George Thomas messing up a map? Really?) and perhaps a little too generous of spirit toward many of the generals, but still an absolutely elegant read.
I absolutely loved this series by Catton. He focused more on the political side of the Civil War than on battles, but this perspective explains the big picture better.
Bryan Hext
Bruce Catton is one of the great historians of the Civil War. Anyone wanting to get "deep" into what actually happened in that troubled time should read any of his books.
Catton's three-volume history of the Civil War is excellent: detailed, nuanced, and highly readable; history written for adults.
Erik Graff
Aug 13, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
Reviewed under the rubric of The Centennial History of the Civil War of which this is the third of three volumes.
A bit of a slog but I understand much more about the Civil War and especially Lincoln now.
Overall, brilliantly done and well told. The third of an award-winning trilogy.
Nick Black
Sep 22, 2009 Nick Black marked it as to-read
GT Barnes & Noble, early September 2009.
Avis Black
Catton's classic Civil War trilogy.

Best history of Civil War ever written
Jay Schutt
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  • The Civil War, Vol. 3: Red River to Appomattox
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  • Gray Fox: Robert E. Lee and the Civil War (Classics of War)
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  • Southern Storm
  • Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman (Library of America #51)
  • High Tide at Gettysburg
  • The Battle of the Wilderness May 5-6, 1864
Catton was known as a narrative historian who specialized in popular histories that emphasized the colorful characters and vignettes of history, in addition to the simple dates, facts, and analysis. His works, although well-researched, were generally not presented in a rigorous academic style, supported by footnotes. In the long line of Civil War historians, Catton is arguably the most prolific an ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Centennial History of the Civil War (3 books)
  • The Coming Fury
  • Terrible Swift Sword: The Centennial History of the Civil War Series, Volume 2
A Stillness at Appomattox The Coming Fury Mr. Lincoln's Army Terrible Swift Sword: The Centennial History of the Civil War Series, Volume 2 Glory Road

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