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In the Hands of Providence: Joshua L. Chamberlain and the American Civil War

(Civil War America)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  829 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Deserve[s] a place on every Civil War bookshelf.--New York Times Book Review

"[Trulock] brings her subject alive and escorts him through a brilliant career. One can easily say that the definitive work on Joshua Chamberlain has now been done.--James Robertson, Richmond Times-Dispatch

"An example of history as it should be written. The author combines exhaustive research with
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Paperback, 569 pages
Published September 17th 2001 by University of North Carolina Press (first published 1992)
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Alexw
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great subject which author who never wrote another book that I could find did an uninspired job of telling for first half of book in which the main non-fiction character saved the Union by winning at Gettysburg. Then she warmed to the subject and described in much better detail the other five!! 5 times he was wounded. Overall a good read but considering the subject matter- could have been much better.
Bob
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
If you have seen Gettysburg or otherwise are a Civil War buff, you know right away who Joshua Chamberlain is. A strong argument could be made that his (and the 20th Maine's) stand on Little Round Top on the second day at Gettysburg was the turning point in the battle, and perhaps the Civil War. {Actually stand is not accurate--out of ammunition, he led a bayonet charge of his troops that overwhelmed the opposing Confederate line.)

Trulock's biography fleshes out this unlikely hero--a college prof
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Steven Z.
Jun 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Recently my daughter earned a position a position at Bowdoin College and when I visited the campus I was struck by the statue of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, an individual who I was familiar with but had not read much about. A week before visiting the Bowdoin campus my wife and I celebrated our anniversary traveling up and down the Maine coast, and for those who know me, they could predict I would find a few books, and in this case they were two biographies of Chamberlain, one of which was Alice ...more
Sherrie House
Feb 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Not a bad biography, going from what was known at the time. She's a bit over-the-top with her hero worship, even for me (and I've been referred to as "High Priestess of the Church of Saint Josh"!) Her treatment of his wife is...well, less than generous. Still, it's on my shelf and I still pick it up from time to time.
Jake
This was the first nonfiction work about Joshua L. Chamberlain that I read. I was pretty drunk on the Chamberlain kool-aid at this point. The biography didn't bring me back down off my high, but it got me closer.

As with several other reviews, I feel duty-bound to plug the book Stand Firm Ye Boys From Maine . That is the book to read if you're are a fan of Chamberlain's now mythologized contribution to the Battle of Gettysburg. However, I'm not knocking this biography. I really enjoyed it, and r
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Daniel Ziegelbauer
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a book I found hard to put down and even more difficult to have end. Possibly the most definitive work on Joshua chamberlain if not the most informative and entertaining next to his own memoir. A definite must read for any civil war follower but more importantly for anyone who wishes to learn about a great human character and natural leader worthy to emulate as a design of providence itself.
Sarah
Oct 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this way back in my initial 'Chamberlain is God' phase, and it's probably the best biography of him to date. Easy to read and good, good stuff. What a great man...
Rich
Jul 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, civil-war
Interesting and filled with details, but more of a hagiography than a biography.
Jeff Koch
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Chamberlain's life was characterized by unflagging courage and consistent care for his men, his wife, his family, and all those who were entrusted to his care. His career as an officer in the Union army was marked by an unyielding trust in the Sovereignty of God as relates to his own mortality; this compelled him to lead his men into the heart of battle time and time again. Wounded several times, Chamberlain continued to return to battle as soon as his recovery made it possible, eager to do not ...more
Ann Otto
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I recently re-read Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels and watched Gettysburg, the film based on the novel. I was moved by Jeff Daniels' portrayal of Joshua Chamberlain and wanted to know more about Chamberlain's life after the war. Trulock's narrative nonfiction is well researched and easy to follow. Included are many direct passages from Chamberlain's writings and photos of the main characters on both sides of the battles during the Civil War. Many feel that Chamberlain is due much more credit ...more
Gregory J Wolfe
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Combined bio and military history

One of the most enjoyable reads I have had I quite some time. Most people would likely enjoy at least a portion of the book. The story of a great man from the simple parts of life to many of the details of his military service. There are stories of childhood and romance of the 1800s and his early life to details of Civil War military conflicts. The later chapters then read much like a biography of many who have acc ok polished so much their lives are worth writin
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Sarah
A well written biography of a worthy subject. It's more comprehensive when it comes to Chamberlain's Civil War service; his post war life only takes up a few chapters, even though he lived another half century after. I would have appreciated a bit more about his time as Governor of Maine and his post-war tenure at Bowdoin, but otherwise a good book.

I particularly appreciated that the author quoted heavily from Chamberlain's own writings as it helped give a real sense of the man.
Stephen P
An interesting biography of one of the interesting heroes of the Civil War. While the author details the interesting life of a very unique man and leader, all but the most avid history buff will likely find the details of Chamberlain's life before and after the war to be tedious. However, they are important to understand the hero of Little Round Top.
Carol Mcgarry
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
excellent book about an amazing man
Kathi
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After Killer Angels became a best seller in 1993—almost 20 years after it was published—a rather unsung hero of the Civil War emerged for the 20th century and beyond: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the beloved Maine professor turned inspirational Union general.

Perhaps Alice Rains Trulock began researching information about Chamberlain back in the 1970s, since it could well have taken her twenty years to gather all the letters, documents, papers, news releases, and more that she needed to publish,
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Tim Glinatsis
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As far as biographies go, this is a must-read. If you're not one for biographies, but you appreciate civil war stuff, it's also a great pick.

Chamberlain is probably most well-known for his role at Little Round Top (as famously depicted in Killer Angels), but I had no idea at just how sophisticated and nuanced his character was. Nor did I know anything about his significant influence after the war - especially in Maine.

Trulock's homework, research and investigation is absolutely mind-boggling h
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Bill Beseler
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another one of my all time favorites
Mark Singer
Thorough, well-researched biography of a remarkable man. Chamberlain was a college professor from Bowdoin College turned soldier who fought for the Union during the American Civil War, and who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his vital role during the Battle of Gettysburg as the leader of the Twentieth Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment. His later career was just as impressive. I will admit that the reason I purchased this book was because of Chamberlains role in the Michael Shaara novel ...more
Charles Phillips
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Chamberlain was a marvel. A classical scholar who was a natural military commander. No West Point for Chamberlain, just literature and philosophy. He would seem supremely unsuited to have an instinct for battle and a leadership style that had men follow him into hell. He was a true citizen soldier. I might not have liked him as a politician, but I can only have the greatest respect for him and his activity in the American Civil WAr.
Ryan
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just finished this one and loved it! The author obviously loves Chamberlain and wants to make him look as good as possible, but it's really difficult not to love Chamberlain. As great as he is at Gettysburg, he is just as brilliant-perhaps more so-at the Battle of Quaker Road. He is just a fascinating character to learn about-a true man of faith, courage, loyalty, and ambition tempered by a sincere desire to serve his country and his fellowman.
Mike
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Joshua Chamberlain was an amazing man. He is someone that is worthy of emulation. The led a full, and varied life. Not many people would be capable of following in his footsteps. Having a few men like him in government today, would go a long way in helping solve some of our most difficult problems.
Greg
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
They just don’t make them like Joshua Chamberlain any more. A true American hero in so many ways. This is an incredible story about the greatest American hero you’ve never heard of. Do yourself a favor and read this book.
Becky
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
I finally finished this. I wanted more background about his life when he wasn't fighting in the Civil War--both before and after. I felt bad when his relationship with his wife had problems. I'm so glad he lived his faith in God.
Tom
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was a citizen-soldier during the civil War is one of my heroes. I have to paintings of him in my office. He was an example of leadership used by the US Army in a leadership manual.
Lauren
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lauren by: Dad
Despite being a very thick book, the reading was smooth. The way it read was beautiful, really. It focuses mainly on his war years. I greatly enjoyed it.
Rick
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think her descriptions of battles scenes was confusing. Even battles I know well, I could hardly follow what she was writing.
Rodger
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
Susan
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Well worth the time spent reading this rather large book. One of the overlooked heroes of the US Civil War, Chambers certainly is someone to admire.
Jessica Jewett
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A credible biography but Trulock feeds into the ivory tower complex. She does, however, cover the action and wounding at Petersburg very well.
Elizabeth
Jul 13, 2015 rated it liked it
A decent account of the battles at Gettysburg, but otherwise reads a little too 'fangirl.'
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“We know not of the future, and cannot plan for it much. But we can hold our spirits and our bodies so pure and high, we may cherish such thoughts and such ideals, and dream such dreams of lofty purpose, that we can determine and know what manner of men we will be whenever the hour strikes that calls us to noble action....No man becomes suddenly different from his habit and cherished thought.
(Joshua L. Chamberlain”
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