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A Blaze of Glory

(Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  4,364 ratings  ·  506 reviews
In the first novel of a spellbinding new trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows best. A Blaze of Glory takes us to the action-packed Western Theater for a vivid re-creation of one of the war’s bloodiest and most iconic engagements—the Battle of Shiloh.

It’s the spring of 1862. The Confederate Army in the West
Hardcover, 435 pages
Published May 29th 2012 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jack Lewis I suggest starting with Bruce Catton's, Grant Moves South. I think it is on Amazon as a kindle book. It's not a novel but Catton was a highly…moreI suggest starting with Bruce Catton's, Grant Moves South. I think it is on Amazon as a kindle book. It's not a novel but Catton was a highly respected researcher in his days and his books won lots of awards.(less)
Clay Although not formally educated, Forrest was not illiterate. He amassed a fortune at planting and slave trading and could be counted a savvy…moreAlthough not formally educated, Forrest was not illiterate. He amassed a fortune at planting and slave trading and could be counted a savvy businessman by the standards of his time. While a genius tactician, it is doubtful that he would be counted by any standards as cultured or erudite. So yes, it sounds like Shaara has romanicized him through poetic license, a device that is hard to excuse in otherwise good historical fiction(less)

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Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Known for his epic novels of historical fiction, Jeff Shaara has further distanced himself from those within the genre by writing solely (or, at least predominantly) about war, through American eyes. This novel, the first in a tetralogy on the Western Theatre of the US Civil War is no exception in its greatness. Shaara chooses to focus the first novel on the Battle of Shiloh, to that point the bloodiest battle ever fought on US soil, in Spring, 1862. Shaara chooses wisely as he moves the focus ...more
As I read more from Shaara I can’t help but appreciate how close he is getting to the story presentation skills of his father, Michael, in his great novel of the Battle of Gettysburg, “The Killer Angels.” The formula is to present an account of major historical battles from a fictional perspective of the minds of a select set of commanders. Since completing his father’s intended trilogy on the major Civil War battles in the East, he’s had a lot of practice in books about other American wars, ...more
Steven Peterson
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is another in a series of works by Jeff Shaara, whose father authored the well acclaimed work "The Killer Angels" (a novel of the battle at Gettysburg). Shaara has military historical novels on the American Civil War, World War II and so on. The mode of operation is the same, between both pere and fils. Several figures are selected to act as characters in their novels. We see the particular battle or campaign through their eyes. By, then, aggregating these individual views, we get an ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Come all you gallant soldiers, a story I will tell
About the bloody battle on top of Shiloh's hill
It was an awful struggle; it'll cause your heart to chill
All from the bloody battle on top of Shiloh's hill.

In 1974, Michael Shaara wrote an unparalleled novel about the Battle of Gettysburg, eschewing a traditional narrative and telling the story directly from the point of view of various generals and infantrymen who contended against one another amid Pennsylvania’s rocky hills and woodlands. The
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first experience with Jeff Shaara was an excellent one. "A Blaze of Glory" was actually a book that lived up to its title. My review is for the audiobook read by Paul Michael, a very long audiobook I must add (18 hours & 23 minutes). I'm glad I listened to the book rather than reading it. Miahael's reading was able to portray the various characters' human qualities (or lack thereof) that probably would not have been apparant otherwise. I am somewhat of a Civil War history junkie and the ...more
Sam Sattler
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil-war
A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Shiloh begins the new Jeff Shaara trilogy focusing on events of the Civil War’s Western Theater. As fans of Shaara’s The Last Full Measure and his father’s The Killer Angels will attest, his return to the Civil War era is a welcome one. I was particularly pleased to see that the new series begins with the Battle of Shiloh because of the number of hours I have spent walking that particular battlefield site over the years. A Blaze of Glory leaves me with ...more
Donna Davis
To clarify: this is a five-star review. It was erroneously entered as four stars at some point, and the system is resisting my effort to correct it. FIVE stars. Not four. FIVE!

I am a longstanding fan of Jeff Shaara's. I see people write criticism of his work that sometimes approaches hysteria, and frankly, I don't get it. Like his Pulitzer-winning father before him, Shaara uses a combination of extensive knowledge of the war; a fertile imagination; and considerable writing skill to turn
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Civil War buffs
Recommended to James by: review
Interesting novel about one of the most dreadful slaughters of the Civil War.

Jeff Shaara successfully captures the futility and carnage of the Battle of Shiloh in his novel A Blaze of Glory. With over 100,000 troops engaged and nearly 25,000 casualties (about 13,000 Union and 10,000 Confederate), Shiloh was earliest of the major slaughters of the Civil War (April 1862) with total casualties in this one battle that were said to exceed all of the casualties of the American War for Independence,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil-war
This is a read long delayed. When I was still a growing boy at home, I traveled to Shiloh during a "Senior Trip" with some high school teachers, my favorite, Mrs. Helen Darby the leader. I had endured her history classes, had little interest, until Shiloh. That visit touched my heart and from that day forward I became interested in Civil War history, ultimately the history of our nation.

This read is for you, Helen Darby. You were the spark. Blessings in heaven to you, my dear teacher.

Jeff Shaara
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I just received the Advanced Uncorrected Proof from the First-Reads drawing! I am going to delve into this book tonight. I love reading historical fiction and this is going to be my 1st book by Shaara. I cannot wait to travel back to the Civil War and let his words put me into the lifes & times of the Battle of Shiloh. Will revise my review when I finish the book.
Andy Reeder
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I’m a big fan of Shaara and his style of writing. His narrative style with a mix of historical research and fictional storytelling makes for easy reading and a great conceptual picture of these wars and battles he describes in these books. However, this book was not as enjoyable as some of his other works. And I think the main reason is that this book is about a specific battle, mostly covering just two days of action. Most of his other books that I’ve read cover months and years of war, ...more
Jim B
Shaara has a gift for making a time period and the people of that period come alive.

What distinguishes a good history is when it captures multiple views of the time. We get discouraged when we see the foolishness and narrow-mindedness of people displayed in the comments section on the Internet. The equivalent was the gossip of the troops and citizens. I was struck by the contrast between the understanding of the mission and the drawbacks of war on the part of the generals, and the foolish
Michael Sigler
Sep 08, 2019 rated it liked it
A well-written, but fairly boring book that reads far more like a history text book than a great novel. Far too many pages of single paragraphs built of run on sentences with 45 commas.
Tom Darrow
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Not Shaara's best book, although not bad for historical fiction. The battle of Shiloh was/as a very confusing affair, both as a soldier and as a writer. Shaara correctly points out in the conclusion that very little was written about the battle after it was done, and most that was written was the Union officers fighting among themselves over where the blame and praise should lie. It was very ambitious for Shaara to take this battle on.

Where this books shines is where Shaara always shines... he
Carl Alves
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have read some of Jeff Shaara's Revolutionary War novels, which were quite good, so I was looking forward to reading this novel that takes place during the Civil War at the Battle of Shiloh. After abandoning the city of Nashville, General Johnston and the Rebel troops are hunkered down in Tennessee. Meanwhile General Grant and Buell are planning on combining their forces and crushing Johnston. When Johnston gets wind of this, he sneak attacks Grant while he is still waiting for Buell. This ...more
May 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
So as I laid in bed last night starting into a new book, my hubby turned on the television to watch a new History Channel show about the Hatfields and the McCoys. Starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton. That's right - similar time frame, similar characters. And, I was distracted from my awesome new book by the awesomeness, the vividness, the intensity of the show. So, although I'm leaving this on the abandoned shelf for now, I'm only going to LOAN it out. I want to try this one again;
C.H. Cobb
Dec 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shaara’s account of the battle of Shiloh in the form of a historical novel does a great service by bringing to attention a battle the import and impact of which has been largely lost in the mists of history. The fields of slaughter produced by that conflict (24,000 casualties out of 100,000 combatants) are among the most horrific of the Civil War.

Shaara continues with his style of tracing the movement of the battle through the eyes of a select set of characters on both sides, most historical,
Jul 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I have read every one of Jeff Shaara’s historical fiction novels. These are well researched and put the reader into the mind of both the leaders and the shmucks on the ground during the key events of the wars. In A Blaze of Glory, Shaara begins a trilogy of books about the smaller battles of the Civil War, in this case the Battle of Shiloh. I do appreciate that there is value in bringing the story of this part of the war to life as many tens of thousands of Americans died. The difference in A ...more
A Blaze of Glory is the first in a series of four (so far) novels about important U.S. Civil War battles by Jeff Shaara. If you haven't read any of Shaara's works, I highly encourage you to do so. There is no finer writer of historical fiction when it comes to war.

The focus of this novel is the Battle of Shiloh. Shaara presents the perspective of this battle through various military officers and less important soldiers. What's impressive of this novel (and all Shaara's works), is that the
Charles Lewis
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've already written about The Killer Angels, which was written by Michael Shaara, Jeff's father. Jeff wrote a sequel to that book, which covers the years after Gettysburg. I've not read that yet. Instead I turned to Jeff's triology on the Western Campaign. A Blaze of Glory is about Shiloh. He seem to have inherited his father's amazing ability to draw out characters and make the action on the ground immediate. I was fortunate (ignorant) that before I started I did not know how Shiloh turned ...more
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was pretty disappointed with this book. I've read Shaara's other nineteenth century historical novels, and his World War I novel as well, and found them all to be well written with pretty engaging characters. This book just didn't grab me. Of the point of view characters, Albert Johnston was the only compelling character, with Sherman and Grant being at least interesting. But the two "in the ranks" characters were dry and forgettable. The history behind Shiloh is, of course, interesting but if ...more
Dec 06, 2013 rated it liked it
An enjoyable but somewhat unfocused novel about the battle of Shiloh. Shaara focuses primarily on Albert Sydney Johnston and William Sherman and does a fine job portraying both men. Nathan Bedford Forest makes an appearance but that seems more gimmicky than anything, at least as a POV character. Shaara also continues his trend of POV chapters from junior enlisted on both sides and it's a welcome change from a General-centric narrative.

The novel does a fine job setting up the two armies'
Nov 07, 2014 added it
You can't fault Shaara for innaccuracy in painting the history of the war and the personalities who fought it. I understand Shiloh better now than ever before, and so my historical interest is gratified, and so I become an even greater bore at parties. It would be unfair to carp that the dialogue sounds a bit modern. Perhaps that was the author's conscious choice, given the impatience of many modern readers. Even so, the book is a page turner, page after spellbinding page--and all the more ...more
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a LOT of detail about a single Civil War battle...the Battle of Shiloh. When I was young, my family visited the site of this battle and I have never forgotten the special feeling that I felt there...similar to the feeling at Gettysburg. It is unbelievable the huge number of people who gave their lives on both sides for a cause they felt so passionately about!

The single thing that impressed me the most about Jeff Shaara's account was that he did not portray one side or the other as the
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I never really understood about the battle of Shiloh that took place in southern Tennessee in April 1862. Fourteen thousand casualites. Heartbreaking. No one writes better explaining these battles than Jeff Shaara. This is the first of what was supposed to be a trilogy but now has been extended to encompass four books that follow from Shiloh to Vicksburg, to Chickamauga-Atlanta-Savannah, and finally the the end of the fighting in North Carolina by Sherman and Joe Johnston. Lee had ...more
John Nellis
Very good historical novelisation of the battle of Shiloh. Involves many of the key leaders of the battle; as well as fictional characters. This helps to give a good description of the battle. How it unfolded; and what it was like for the typical soldier as well. I really enjoy Jeff Shaara's style of writing historical fiction. It always tells of the event; and presents it in a very enjoyable reading style.
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite authors, Shaara focuses on the Civl War's Battle of Shiloh in this novel. After reading so many of his books, the format is predictable and I didn't find the characters as engaging as past novels. However, this was still an interesting read, particularly for fans of historical fiction.
Jim Bullington
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-books
Excellent book. After having walked the Shiloh battle-field, this book brought the memories to life, through the eyes of those that were in the battle. I found through that Isham Harris,an active participant in this battle, is an ancestor. I am going to continue to follow these armies in the second book in this trilogy.
Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this book, but did not love it. It's not that the writing was sub-par, it's just that the subject matter feels very "done". But if you are Civil War enthusiast, this would be a fine book for you.
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Jeff Shaara, a descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey ("Shaara" was originally spelled "Sciarra"). He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Criminology. From age 16, Jeff operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. After moving to Tampa, Jeff became one of the most widely ...more

Other books in the series

Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater (4 books)
  • A Chain of Thunder (Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater, #2)
  • The Smoke at Dawn (Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater, #3)
  • The Fateful Lightning (Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater, #4)
“Not even generals can stop the rain.” 4 likes
“Quick words did not always mean a quick mind.” 4 likes
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