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Deemed "irreplaceable" by Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson assumed his nickname during the Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. It is said that The Army of Northern Virginia never fully recovered from the loss of Stonewall's leadership when he was accidentally shot by one of his own men and died in 1863. Davis highlights Stonewall Jackson as a general who emphasized the Deemed "irreplaceable" by Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson assumed his nickname during the Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. It is said that The Army of Northern Virginia never fully recovered from the loss of Stonewall's leadership when he was accidentally shot by one of his own men and died in 1863. Davis highlights Stonewall Jackson as a general who emphasized the importance of reliable information and early preparedness (he so believed in information that he had a personal mapmaker with him at all times) and details Jackson's many lessons in strategy and leadership.


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Deemed "irreplaceable" by Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson assumed his nickname during the Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. It is said that The Army of Northern Virginia never fully recovered from the loss of Stonewall's leadership when he was accidentally shot by one of his own men and died in 1863. Davis highlights Stonewall Jackson as a general who emphasized the Deemed "irreplaceable" by Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson assumed his nickname during the Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. It is said that The Army of Northern Virginia never fully recovered from the loss of Stonewall's leadership when he was accidentally shot by one of his own men and died in 1863. Davis highlights Stonewall Jackson as a general who emphasized the importance of reliable information and early preparedness (he so believed in information that he had a personal mapmaker with him at all times) and details Jackson's many lessons in strategy and leadership.

30 review for Stonewall Jackson: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mark Collins

    This account of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was very illuminating but could also be very starry-eyed. It was interesting, for example, to learn about Jackson's idiosyncrasies. Jackson was apparently a hypochondriac---bringing his own food to dinner parties and always believing himself in poor health when he had too much free time to dwell on it! He was also very religious, which also shaped his approach to battles. He believed that only God would permit his death, so he rode brazenly around battl This account of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was very illuminating but could also be very starry-eyed. It was interesting, for example, to learn about Jackson's idiosyncrasies. Jackson was apparently a hypochondriac---bringing his own food to dinner parties and always believing himself in poor health when he had too much free time to dwell on it! He was also very religious, which also shaped his approach to battles. He believed that only God would permit his death, so he rode brazenly around battlefields, bullets coming into close proximity! Many times, however, these smaller details of Jackson grated against the rosy view of Jackson that the author clearly had. This made the text seem very contradictory---not necessarily that Jackson was filled with contradictions as a historical subject, but that the way he was described was often at odds with his actual behavior! For example, the author uncritically touts what an excellent commander Jackson was; however, the book notes that Jackson frequently made errors that a great commander would not have. For example, Jackson frequently gave ambiguous orders that tripped up his underlings; he did not divulge battle plans, even to his other officers; he did not sleep well or take care of himself, making him suffer cognitively; he picked fights with those under his command, not for military actions (like cowardice) but petty squabbles. Finally, let's not forget that he was shot by his own men after riding out past his front lines. The author seems sloppy, then, in expressing the true Jackson---indeed, the whole point of a historical biography! At times, the author's infatuation spilled over in other awkward ways---as in such passage as "[his] handsome hawk-like face" (what?) or, more lengthily: "he was silent and humble, a deeply religious man who prayed each day and then went out and fought like the devil. An ordinary man who disdained personal glory, rode into the thick of the fighting on a rugged little brown horse, slept beneath trees in the rain, and wore a dirty uniform with a small-billed campaign hat crushed down over his head." These moments of...swooning...just contribute to the already voluminous genre of overly celebratory (almost to the point of masturbatory) biographies of Great Men in history. To put it simply, this book is just another brick in mythology of Stonewall Jackson. It shows little beyond Jackson as a military leader---a rugged, masculine profile that undoubtedly Jackson himself would have adored.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    With this biography, I fascinated my family with a Civil War figure from the past about whom I previously knew very little towards absolutely nothing. I was told to get this biography because of who this figure actually is. I greatly appreciate this figure's military prowess, like the other great strategic minds I'm extremely familiar with, i.e. Lao Tzu, Thucydides, Caesar. I studied those specific minds the most of them all. This book I see mentions Ulysses which I remember vaguely reading in hig With this biography, I fascinated my family with a Civil War figure from the past about whom I previously knew very little towards absolutely nothing. I was told to get this biography because of who this figure actually is. I greatly appreciate this figure's military prowess, like the other great strategic minds I'm extremely familiar with, i.e. Lao Tzu, Thucydides, Caesar. I studied those specific minds the most of them all. This book I see mentions Ulysses which I remember vaguely reading in high school English (and rather disliking). Yuck. Strategically let's just let this book be. I skimmed great portions of this book after that which was talking about Stonewall Jackson, which were mentioning Napoleon, another great general, whom I respect, and it mentions a spymaster as well... (A certain proportion of my friends accuse me of being a spy, and they've done it for years, but I deny all of these allegations. I am not fluent enough in Russian or French.) There are plenty of details to clear the general matter up, but I don't want to touch my former dislike so that will remain shrouded in the clouds of mystery. (Not that I dislike Napoleon - there was another book in my middle school English class I absolutely couldn't bear.) With this book, I also explored a new section of the library! I had never actually been in the biography section IRL before. The reference librarians want to know who I want and voila, here is the book! (Wherever the accent is, I'm not sure - it may be on the a. Google verifies - voilá!)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is probably a banned book given the current political climate in which some want to be rid of anything that puts a seemingly good light on anyone associated with slavery or the former Confederate States of America, but as a history teacher, I think there is some value in knowing about the past, so we do not repeat the bad things our history contains. I found this book at a library's book sale, and I considered it worth buying. I only paid $1 for it, so it was a good value. Anyway, overall, t This is probably a banned book given the current political climate in which some want to be rid of anything that puts a seemingly good light on anyone associated with slavery or the former Confederate States of America, but as a history teacher, I think there is some value in knowing about the past, so we do not repeat the bad things our history contains. I found this book at a library's book sale, and I considered it worth buying. I only paid $1 for it, so it was a good value. Anyway, overall, this book gave me a different perspective on Stonewall. I took a semester-long course on the Civil War in college, but this book highlighted information on Jackson not included in survey courses. I feel it is a good summary of Stonewall's life and influence. Yes, he fought for the South, but that does not mean his generalship is not of value. Even I learned that his fighting style influenced generals in later wars. My critiques of this book are that it seems brief, should have included maps to describe the movement of troops, and contained some typographical errors.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    This Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson biography is accessible due to its compact format and its crisp writing. Very informative and far from hagiographic, it doesn't shy away from criticizing Jackson's errors, such as his stubbornness, his being prone to promote inexperienced friends over proven officers, or the fact that his mental and physical exhaustion made him a liability rather than an asset during the Seven Day battles. It simply relies on Jackson's brilliance in other battles to carry the weig This Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson biography is accessible due to its compact format and its crisp writing. Very informative and far from hagiographic, it doesn't shy away from criticizing Jackson's errors, such as his stubbornness, his being prone to promote inexperienced friends over proven officers, or the fact that his mental and physical exhaustion made him a liability rather than an asset during the Seven Day battles. It simply relies on Jackson's brilliance in other battles to carry the weight of Jackson's legendary status, which can be well understood after reading this biography. The book could have done with better editing, however, as there are numerous distracting errors (such as writing 1962 instead of 1862, to name just one example). But the structure and narrative are very clear, so it's still a good book. If you're looking for a quick read up on Stonewall, this will serve perfectly.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Peter Harrington

    Good read for an overall review of Thomas Jackson's (Stonewall) military life. Didn't go into details about his life outside of the military though. Good read for an overall review of Thomas Jackson's (Stonewall) military life. Didn't go into details about his life outside of the military though.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    I actually listened to the audiobook, but I really enjoyed this. The reader of the book had the perfect voice for a book about the Civil War. The book does mostly focus on Jackson's life during the Civil War, but that is exactly what I wanted. After listening to this, I do feel like I have a pretty good idea of what Stonewall was like. I actually listened to the audiobook, but I really enjoyed this. The reader of the book had the perfect voice for a book about the Civil War. The book does mostly focus on Jackson's life during the Civil War, but that is exactly what I wanted. After listening to this, I do feel like I have a pretty good idea of what Stonewall was like.

  7. 4 out of 5

    George

    This is a book about a war more than a biography of an individual, war books are mundane and ubiquitous. Civil war books and books about Stonewall Jackson's participation in it, are dozens. Although he was a masterful tactician, this book illustrates that with multiple battles--boring! It takes a map to keep up. As the book points out, there is little known about his childhood. Then, the author spends about a half hour talking about his time at the US Military Academy, Spanish American war and a This is a book about a war more than a biography of an individual, war books are mundane and ubiquitous. Civil war books and books about Stonewall Jackson's participation in it, are dozens. Although he was a masterful tactician, this book illustrates that with multiple battles--boring! It takes a map to keep up. As the book points out, there is little known about his childhood. Then, the author spends about a half hour talking about his time at the US Military Academy, Spanish American war and another half hour talking about his professorship at VMI. Good discussions, all. When Davis dives into the civil war, the book was only 25% finished. I knew that it would be a long slog to the end--5 hours or so. Davis doesn't apply the lessons learned earlier to his civil war service, very well; this book did little to contribute to my knowledge of the man. There was a bit of analysis at the end. The reader can skip over about five hours, right to that. While he was among the greatest tacticians the USA has ever seen, let us not forget, Thomas Jackson was a traitor to his country.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donna Peake

    The numbers listed as soldiers is astronomical. Stonewall was able to beat armies much larger than his. It seemed like he was a soldier just like his men. He never seemed to sleep much and was always thinking of the next skirmish. He seemed to be such a Christian man and many of the soldiers attended church because he did. He also seemed devoted to his family. What a shame he didn't get to spend much time with his infant daughter. Had he lived I still believe he would have made a difference in tha The numbers listed as soldiers is astronomical. Stonewall was able to beat armies much larger than his. It seemed like he was a soldier just like his men. He never seemed to sleep much and was always thinking of the next skirmish. He seemed to be such a Christian man and many of the soldiers attended church because he did. He also seemed devoted to his family. What a shame he didn't get to spend much time with his infant daughter. Had he lived I still believe he would have made a difference in that bloody war. At the very least it would have lasted longer. It is amazing that his tactics are still study and used today. Another thing that interested me was the communication during that time. How in the world could you win if you can't communicate with those in charge. Also how he relied on a Mapper to help him with the topo around them. Hodgkiss was quite a helper for him in winning the battles.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    Very nice summary of Stonewall Jackson's career. I'd of course known who he was but didn't really have a context to tie him to. This book does a nice job of describing his background and upbringing and tying it to his Civil War exploits. With the amazing success he had in the beginning of the war, it really makes you wonder what would've happened if he hadn't died of wounds received at Chancellorsville. Very nice summary of Stonewall Jackson's career. I'd of course known who he was but didn't really have a context to tie him to. This book does a nice job of describing his background and upbringing and tying it to his Civil War exploits. With the amazing success he had in the beginning of the war, it really makes you wonder what would've happened if he hadn't died of wounds received at Chancellorsville.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Arieltsmith

    I found Davis' writing to tend towards sappiness and romanticism, particularly when describing Jackson's youth. I found the battle sequences a little hard to follow and was a little disappointed with this book as I had had high expectations from the other books in Macmillan's "Great Generals" series I have read so far. Also, the more I learned about Jackson as a person (his hypochondria, fanatic religiousness) the less I liked him. I found Davis' writing to tend towards sappiness and romanticism, particularly when describing Jackson's youth. I found the battle sequences a little hard to follow and was a little disappointed with this book as I had had high expectations from the other books in Macmillan's "Great Generals" series I have read so far. Also, the more I learned about Jackson as a person (his hypochondria, fanatic religiousness) the less I liked him.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tanner

    A good short introductory book on Stonewall Jackson's life. If you want to read a more detailed book on Jackson, then do look elsewhere. But if you want a general overview than this easy-to-read book is solid. Keep in mind, it primarily focuses on his military exploits and not so much on his relationship with his wife. A good short introductory book on Stonewall Jackson's life. If you want to read a more detailed book on Jackson, then do look elsewhere. But if you want a general overview than this easy-to-read book is solid. Keep in mind, it primarily focuses on his military exploits and not so much on his relationship with his wife.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This book is in the same vein as the skinny President series books. It was just the right size for me, given I don't have much patience for war descriptions. This book walked the fine line of describing the man and his war brilliance by showing just the right amount of fighting. The man was described very well and his brilliance in strategy came through perfectly. This book is in the same vein as the skinny President series books. It was just the right size for me, given I don't have much patience for war descriptions. This book walked the fine line of describing the man and his war brilliance by showing just the right amount of fighting. The man was described very well and his brilliance in strategy came through perfectly.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    Ive never considered myself a history buff, but i have always been intrigued by the Civil War. This was a well written, very hard to put down account of apparently the most fascinating general of the time. Everyone should read this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Zeman

    A fair account of Stonewall Jackson's military career. The author does not spare praise or criticism. What really impressed me about this book was the importance of a leader staying well-rested. A fair account of Stonewall Jackson's military career. The author does not spare praise or criticism. What really impressed me about this book was the importance of a leader staying well-rested.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    Honestly, just a passing biography of a very complicated man.

  16. 5 out of 5

    amandra

    Non fictio library read even if he was a great general he was cocky even when his mind started to slip

  17. 5 out of 5

    William Curtin

    I normally don't like abbreviated studies on subjects, but this book had all the right stuff in the right places. I would recommend it for a quick brush up as well as general study. I normally don't like abbreviated studies on subjects, but this book had all the right stuff in the right places. I would recommend it for a quick brush up as well as general study.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lenny Balacco

    Good overall presentation of the life of this great General. 3 stars because other books are better but also longer. I think the author did a good job based on the length of the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    A good brief accounting, primarily, of Jackson's military career. A good brief accounting, primarily, of Jackson's military career.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Reet Champion

    Part of the Great General Series this is a relatively short book, but very informative. Information is provided on Jackson as well as the battle he served in.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    A short read, but didn't discover anything new that I hadn't read in other books about the Civil War. A short read, but didn't discover anything new that I hadn't read in other books about the Civil War.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Focuses on his battle techniques during the Civil War. I would have liked a bit more on his personal life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Janice

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Higgins

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dave

  26. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Minson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Urgo

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tom

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

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