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Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson    by S. C. Gwynne order for
Rebel Yell
by S. C. Gwynne
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2015 (2014)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

This is a lengthy book, over 500 pages, but Civil War buffs will love the detailed account of Stonewall Jackson's life and military career. Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson by S. C. Gwynne is loaded with battle lore, and biographical tidbits and delves into the conflicts that played out between this famous Confederate general and his colleagues.

The focal point of the book is Jackson's two year stint during the Civil War as one of the most innovative military leaders on either side. He was a master of mobile warfare. The general's bold tactics were unconventional, but they got results and left his adversaries in disarray.

Gwynne writes that Jackson went from being 'an obscure, eccentric, and unsuccessful college professor in a small town in rural Virginia' to being one of the war's most heralded tacticians. 'His metamorphosis began in the first year of the war, with his brilliant performance in the Confederate victory at Manassas ... What Jackson did in those seventy-eight days redefined the conflict and made him the most celebrated field commander in the war.'

This book also seeks to set the record straight and debunk some of the myths surrounding this extraordinary man's life. Was Jackson really a religious fanatic and 'a Southern version of the abolitionist John Brown, a holy warrior who worshipped a grim, Old Testament God of vengeance'? Was he 'a remorseless killer, nearly as hard on his own troops as he was on the enemy'?

You'll have the answer to these and other questions by the time you have finished this informative book. Sprinkled throughout it are maps of various military campaigns and you'll learn as much about some of the men around Jackson as you will about the man himself.

Rebel Yell has already received a lot of positive reviews and most readers who are knowledgeable about the Civil War have praised it as one of the most readable and enjoyable books they have encountered. Given its length, this might be an easier volume to read in the paper format versus an e-book. Either way, you'll find this to be a memorable reading experience.

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