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Glory Road (Army of the Potomac #2)

4.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,066 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
From Disastrous Fredericksburg to bloody Gettysburg--the route of the Army of the Potomac was marked by death and destruction.

Careers were made and broken and the earth was scorched. But the war had its curious human moments too:

"Along the banks of the Rappahannock, the Yankee pickets carried on trade with the Confederates across the water. The 46th New York sent a little
Mass Market Paperback, 436 pages
Published November 1st 1964 by Pocket Books (first published 1952)
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Jan 03, 2012 Ted rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A magnificent second part to Catton's trilogy. It covers the period from the autumn of 1862 to the battle of Gettysburg in July of '63.

To give an idea of the Catton's moving style, I will simply offer an extended quote. This is from chapter 3, "White Road in the Moonlight", at the very end of the chapter, describing Colonel Strong Vincent leading a brigade of the V Corps up into Pennsylvania to reinforce Buford at Gettysburg. This was on June 30, the night before the full moon of July 1.

"There w
Jan 16, 2012 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, history, us-civil-war

"Wendell Phillips, the gadfly of abolition, was on the rostrum that spring of 1863 crying out that the power which dwelt in [Emancipation] must be used as a telling weapon. He saw the war between North and South as something infinitely portentous, not confined to one continent: 'Wherever caste lives, wherever class power exists, whether it be on the Thames or on the Seine, whether on the Ganges or on the Danube, there the South has an ally…Never until we welcome the Negro, the foreigner, al
Donna Davis
Bruce Catton was known as a popular historian when he first published books about the American Civil War, because of his narrative nonfiction format. All of the books being released digitally now are ones previously published in a non-digital age. This reviewer hunted down Catton’s three volume Centennial History of the Civil War at a used bookstore some time back, and although they were among the best I have ever read by anyone on this topic, I was convinced that anything he had published earli ...more
Carol Storm
Sep 22, 2014 Carol Storm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The second of three classic volumes. The best Civil War history ever!
Feb 23, 2015 Iain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical-acw
Yet another gem from Catton. Catton writes engagingly and often about rather esoteric and neglected aspects of history. For example, he manages to cover the adventures of the bridging pontoons, so critical to Burnside's failure to rapidly take Fredricksburg, in both the most thorough and engrossing manner I've encountered. No mean feat when talking about confused orders, muddy roads, and mismanaged engineers.

This book's sequel won Catton the Pulitzer, but here a reader can see the author's skill
Feb 16, 2014 Kurt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I realized while reading Glory Road that I'm rating Catton's work largely on his ability to write history in the most engaging of ways, and not solely on scholarship (although this is clearly well researched). In describing the army's approach to Gettysburg, he writes, "There was the long white road in the moonlight, with the small-town girls laughing and crying in the shadows, and the swaying ranks of young men waving to them and moving on past them. To these girls who had been nowhere and who ...more
Mar 04, 2013 Rgroves rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prose is fabulous. One of the best final several paragraphs of any book I have read in a very long time.
Sean Chick
May 24, 2012 Sean Chick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful narrative of an army going from the shame of defeat to the great triumph at Gettysburg.
P.e. lolo
May 12, 2016 P.e. lolo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent story told in a way that makes you forget that the two armies are walking into battle until the guns go off. The way he writes is almost like he was there and is telling the story to family members around a fire and there is not a sound except his voice describing the scene. You the reader are taken to a different place though you know what is going to happen, yet you are still surprised. A very good writer, and a good book as well. I got this book from net galley. I gave it ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this second of his Army of the Potomac Trilogy, the author has smoothed out all the rough edges of his first volume, Mr. Lincoln's Army. His strengths in telling vignettes is maintained and spread out through more of the book. This is an embedded reporter's point of view. His battle descriptions are more balanced as well, though they still suffer somewhat from ignoring certain key elements. Ultimately, it must be understood that this is a rather biased view of events in that it not only is co ...more
Jul 16, 2015 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, reread
Glory Road is the author's second book in his "The Army of the Potomac" trilogy. Picking up the narrative with Ambrose Burnside's ascension to the head of the Army, the reader is witness to first the bloody disaster of Fredericksburg in December, 1862 and then the dismal and ultimately fruitless "Mud March" of early 1863. With the incompetent Burnside replaced by "Fighting Joe" Hooker, we follow the Army to yet another disaster - and arguably Robert E. Lee's finest hour on the battlefield - at C ...more
May 05, 2011 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading the first book in Bruce Catton's "The Army of the Potomac Trilogy" so much that I couldn't wait to continue his saga of the Civil War with this book. The starting point for this book is when the ever-cautious, slow-moving General McClellan, beloved by his soldiers, is finally given the sack by President Lincoln. You might say the events of this book, roughly from December 1862 to November 1863 represent the Army of the United States' time in the Wilderness, with nothing to show ...more
Aug 19, 2008 Riannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was, to my great excitement, finally able to obtain this book on loan from another library (for some reason it was really hard to find a copy), and I have to say, it did not disappoint.

Catton's writing is superb as ever. The book is filled with interesting and funny anecdotes, but despite the human interest side notes Catton never loses sight of the main story, and Glory Road keeps moving at a consistent enjoyable pace.

Historically, this book extends from the disastrous battle at Fredericksb
Bill Rogers
Aug 10, 2013 Bill Rogers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bruce Catton's brilliant Army of the Potomac continues with this tale of the middle years of the Civil War. Here is the struggle against Robert E. Lee, who seemed invincible, in a year where Abraham Lincoln would give command of this his greatest army to another general; send that general and army out to yet another defeat and disaster; and, with increasing desperation, search for another general.

In this time it was the devotion of the soldiers that held the Union cause together, more than anyth
Aug 10, 2015 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even if you don't much care about history or Civil War books, this is worth reading. Catton's ability to mix the strategy, tactics, and politics of the war with fascinating minutiae of the ordinary soldier or civilian is flawless. I only subtracted a star because there's been 60-odd years of scholarship since this was written, and Catton's history is obsolete in a few places. A great book.
Jay Seaborg
Jun 28, 2014 Jay Seaborg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Any Catton book is a pleasure to read. Not only does he present the facts of the war in a clearly understood manner, his prose is first-rate. I highly recommend working your way through all of his Civil War works, allowing ample time to sometimes re-read a passage just for the joy of savoring his prose one more time.
Feb 04, 2015 Steve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second of “The Army of the Potomac” trilogy. The period covered is from Fredericksburg to Gettysburg. Over the eight months between these battles, the army went through three different commanders and suffered two defeats in Virginia before winning at Gettysburg. Catton does a great job telling the story of the army through its officers, enlisted men and others on the Union side. A very good book.
Mar 04, 2013 Grant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting history of the Union army prior to Grant. Starting right after McCelland and taking in the failed generals. Very good discussion of the un-unioned part of the northern union. Indiana in particular. Good mind expanding book.

The description of the major battles is detailed, and I learned a LOT regarding the tactics and sometimes the lack of them. The book ends with Lincoln's Gettysberg Address just about to be given, but doesn't actually contain the text of the address. I wish that
Scott L.
An amazing book. It is unfortunate that I started the trilogy with the second book, but even as such the book stands on its own merits. Catton is a great writer, and I have been wanting to read the "Army of the Potomac" trilogy for years; I am very happy to say that this book of the trilogy loved up to my expectations. Covering the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg; and also the home front and other aspects of the Civil War, Catton's book is very readable and exciting. I ...more
Jan 03, 2014 Clifford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the tome I have entitled Bruce Catton's Civil War. I thoroughly enjoyed it as much as Mr. Lincoln's Army, the first book in the combined trilogy. This deals strictly with the Army of the Potomac so there were new facts and new information I had read in previous books.

The third and final book is A Stillness at Appomattox and while I love the civil war, I think I will take a break before I plunge into reading the final book.
Scott Murphy
May 23, 2015 Scott Murphy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Insightful stories from the figurative and literal heart of the Civil War.
Shellys♥ Journal
Very much enjoyed Catton's telling of the Army of the Potomoc through 62 and 63. Excellent prose, yet maintains his scholarship.
Dec 01, 2014 Norbert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, history
Whew! Unbelievable that the North won the civil war. The Bloody Route from Fredericksburg to Gettysburg by the Army of the Potomac was unnecessarily bloody because of the imcompetency of the northern generals. Twice as many Americans died in battle in the Civil War than did in all of WWII.
I usually write much longer reviews but will forgo that privilege. I did like the book but the stupidity kept me angry throughout most of the book.
David Howell
Apr 28, 2013 David Howell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the first Civil War books I read as a teenager.It is one of the best accounts of the fabled Army of the Potomac in print,and with the other two volumes in this trilogy ,Mr Lincolns Army and Stillness at Appomattox,take the reader thru the brutal fighting in Virginia and the eastern theater of the War.A must read for all Civil War Buffs and anyone interested in History.
Apr 04, 2011 robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fredricksburg through Gettysburg from a Northerner's chair. Lots of intelligent detail from the foot soldier to the clueless officers and scheming higher ups. Why the heck would anyone read the comic books of Jeff Shara when they can travel along the Glory Road of Bruce Catton?
Oct 07, 2013 Norm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very stirring story of the war from the perspective of the Army of the Potomac - under its generals McClellan, Burnside, Hooker, Meade, and....have to wait for the next volume of the trilogy to find out who's next...I can guess....)
Elwood D Pennypacker
If only I had finished this book last week, we'd have had enough information to win the pub quiz! Blast!

If you like dry depictions of military troop movements and alignments, this is for you. If you don't like that, this is also for you.
Aug 04, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Yet another dense book but a good one. We are now through Gettysburg, and I can see the Union Army taking a turn for the better. I'm looking forward to the third and final book though I need a bit of a break before tackling it.
Jul 23, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
Catton's Army of the Potomac trilogy is an excellent introduction to the Civil War. Actually, it's pretty much just excellent. The end of Glory Road was so good, I almost cried -- almost. A real man sheds no tears.
Feb 27, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second volume of the classic trilogy. This book goes in detail about the battle of Antietam, Which was the bloodiest battle fought in the Civil War. And how the soldiers lived-food, weaponry, equipment.
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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

Army of the Potomac (3 books)
  • Mr. Lincoln's Army
  • A Stillness at Appomattox

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“Nobody was ready for it, and nobody could quite understand it now that it was happening. But somehow it was being determined that democracy henceforth, perhaps for some centuries to come, would operate through a new instrument. Sovereignty of the states was dying, North as well as South, and going with it was the ancient belief that the government which governs least is the government which governs best.” 0 likes
“His soldiers and the country might have been better off if Burnside had been more of a quitter, but that was one defect which he lacked.” 0 likes
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