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A Fierce Glory: Antietam - The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery

Justin Martin



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Da Capo
13 November 2018
History; History of the Americas; American Civil War; Civil rights & citizenship; Battles & campaigns
September 17, 1862, was America's bloodiest day. When it ended, 3,654 soldiers lay dead on the land surrounding Antietam Creek in Western Maryland. The battle fought there was as deadly as the stakes were high.

For the first time, the Rebels had taken the war into Union territory. A Southern victory would have ended the war and split the nation in two. Instead, the North managed to drive the Confederate army back into Virginia. Emboldened by victory, albeit by the thinnest of margins, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves and investing the war with a new, higher purpose.

In this vivid, character-rich narrative, acclaimed author Justin Martin reveals why this battle was the Civil War's tipping point. The battle featured an unusually rich cast of characters and witnessed important advances in medicine and communications. But the impact of the battle on politics and society was its most important legacy. Had the outcome been different, Martin argues, critical might-have-beens would have rippled forward to the present, creating a different society and two nations.

A Fierce Glory is an engaging account of the Civil War's most important battle.
By:   Justin Martin
Imprint:   Da Capo
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 91mm,  Spine: 29mm
Weight:   570g
ISBN:   9780306825255
ISBN 10:   0306825252
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   13 November 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  ELT Advanced ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Justin Martin is the author of four highly praised books: Greenspan: The Man behind Money; Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon; Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted; and Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians. As one of the few journalists to gain access to Greenspan, Martin produced a bestselling biography of the secretive Fed chairman, selected as a notable book by the New York Times Book Review. His Nader biography served as a primary source for An Unreasonable Man, the Academy Award-nominated documentary, and Genius of Place received glowing national reviews. Martin's articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Fortune, Newsweek, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Reviews for A Fierce Glory: Antietam - The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery

Almost every angle imaginable on the Civil War has been studied and yet authors continue to bring forth different perspectives. This is the case with Justin Martin's A Fierce Glory...[An] excellent book that looks at the Battle of Antietam from a different angle. --Collected Miscellany Martin has written a personal and approachable book about the great and terrible Battle of Antietam. His narrative style is breezy and conversational, quite different from the usual voice on this subject, but with it he successfully interprets some important political and military themes for a general-reader audience...A new and different take on the Battle of Antietam. --Antietam on the Web Martin avoids clinical military assessments and instead imbues the story of Antietam with small personal details about the very real people-from private to president-whose fates changed with the outcome...Martin argues intriguingly that the Union victory-snatched from stalemate only by the eventual Confederate retreat-served as the true turning point of the war...Novelistic prose, supported by thorough documentation and photos, packs an additional wallop, bringing home the battle's high human cost...Martin's fantastic recreation of this significant battle, with its focus on humanity, will resonate with both Civil War novices and more knowledgeable readers. --Publishers Weekly (starred review) A Fierce Glory accommodates perspectives largely absent from older accounts of the Civil War, including the multi-ethnicity of both armies and the presence in the ranks of several women passing as men. --Milwaukee Shepherd-Express In a war that redefined carnage, Antietam stands out...Martin does not miss any key elements of the battle, nor does he neglect the larger social and political undertones...A multi-faceted story that brings to bear a range of emotions surrounding the complicated events depicted...Anyone seeking a fresh telling of the human cost, anyone questing for larger meaning within this particularly bloody Civil War battle, will find A Fierce Glory to be a worthwhile read. --Washington Independent Review of Books In A Fierce Glory author Justin Martin well portrays the horror of Civil War combat from the common soldier's perspective. His deft human touch, evident throughout the narrative, makes for a complete sensory experience. --Wall Street Journal Not only does one get the story of the battle but also that of Lincoln and his Proclamation...It is highly readable and captures the drama of our bloodiest single day and its momentous result. --New York Journal of Books If you're looking for an Antietam book with minute-by-minute movements of regiments and brigades, look elsewhere-this isn't a 'right-flank, left-flank' account. Instead, you'll find an exquisite, compelling narrative, with Martin serving as your tour guide at the Bloody Lane, the West Woods, the 40-Acre Cornfield and elsewhere...Unlike other Antietam books, Abraham Lincoln...is deeply embedded in the narrative. --John Banks' Civil War Blog Martin is at his best relating the intersection of the experiences of individual soldiers and the places in which they found themselves as the battle progressed...A readable introduction for those unfamiliar with this crucial battle. --Library Journal In this succinct, highly readable book, spiced with telling anecdotes and vivid character sketches, Martin seamlessly interweaves a clear, suspenseful account of the battle with a careful depiction of Lincoln's road to emancipation. --Michael Burlingame, award-winning Lincoln scholar and author of Lincoln: A Life (2 vols.) Martin takes you to the fabled Antietam battlefield in an engagingly written 'you are there' style that has you virtually feeling the bullets whizzing above your head. This is no dry military history or conventional Civil War book but a riveting group biography that delves into the hearts and minds of a number of colorful, larger-than-life characters, all of it placed in the context of the fateful deliberations of Lincoln over issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. A tour de force. --John Oller, author of The Swamp Fox and American Queen Martin has given us an engrossing, important new look at Antietam, making a convincing case that the outcome had more impact on the course of the war, and on U.S. history, than any other Civil War engagement. --Marc Leepson, author of Desperate Engagement: How a Little-Known Civil War Battle Saved Washington, D.C., and Changed American History With a great eye for colorful detail, Martin has pulled off the feat of contextualizing the battle for a general audience. I learned something new on every page--not just about Lincoln, McClellan, and Lee, but about medical pioneers Clara Barton and Jonathan Letterman, photographer Alexander Gardner, and the fates of average soldiers on both sides. An absorbing read. --Jonathan Alter, New York Times bestselling author of The Promise: President Obama, Year One What an achievement! Both panoramic and intimate in scale, it situates Antietam within the context of Civil War history but also takes the reader in close, face to face with the personal reality of 19th century warfare. --Amanda Vaill, author of Hotel Florida: Truth, Love, and Death in the Spanish Civil War More than the repulse of a Confederate invasion, the Union victory at Antietam paved the way for black freedom--thus proving, in its way, the most important battle of the Civil War. Appropriately, A Fierce Glory is more than a military history (although it depicts the actual fighting vividly). Martin has culled a vast array of sources to explore the political, religious, medical, and, ultimately, the societal impact of Antietam. A highly original work. --Harold Holzer, winner of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize A colorful, deft, beautifully paced account of the bloodiest battle in American history. Justin Martin carefully tends Antietam's 'glowing embers, ' approaching the day on the ground and from every angle. --Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Cleopatra and The Witches

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