Rebecca's Reviews > The Passing of the Armies: An Account of the Final Campaign of the Army of the Potomac, Based Upon Personal Reminiscences of the Fifth Army Corps

The Passing of the Armies by Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
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Mar 14, 2011

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bookshelves: books-i-own
Read from February 21 to March 14, 2011 , read count: 1

First let me say that I am not a Union girl; my shelves are lined with biographies of Lee, Jackson and Stuart, not Grant, Sheridan and Sherman. But Chamberlain is one of the few Yankees that I respect and enjoy reading about, and his account of the last battles of the war, the surrender and the great review is fascinating. He recounts his experiences as both "an officer and a gentleman," understanding both the tactics and the history. He mixes descriptions of brute force with inscriptions in Latin and french and classical references, demonstrating the depth of his education and his experience.

Because of his breadth of knowledge and his intimate relationship with the situations, he doesn't explain, he just relates, at a steady clip with no pauses for exposition. He was writing as a contemporary, so he feels no need to provide background or information, or sometimes even full names, and just expects the reader to keep up. For that reason, this is not a good book for beginners looking for an overview. It adds a new and different perspective that I'm excited to have read, because it adds some polish to my understanding, but it needs to be taken in conjunction with other, more overarching works to get a good base knowledge of what happened.

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03/07/2011 page 222
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