by Winston Groom
From the publisher:
A riveting history of the battle that permanently turned the tide of the Civil War.
While Gettysburg is better known, Winston Groom makes clear in this engrossing narrative that Vicksburg was the more important battle from a strategic point of view. Re-creating the epic campaign that culminated at Vicksburg, Groom details the arduous struggle by the Union to gain control of the Mississippi River valley and to divide the Confederacy in two. He takes us back to 1861, when Lincoln chooses Ulysses S. Grant—seen at the time as a mediocre general with a drinking problem—to lead the Union army south from Illinois.
We follow Grant and his troops as they fight one campaign after another, including the famous engagements at Forts Henry and Donelson and the bloodbath at Shiloh, until, after almost a year, they close in on Vicksburg. We witness Grant’s seven long months of battle against the determined Confederate army, and the many failed Union attempts to take Vicksburg, during which thousands of soldiers on both sides would be buried and, ultimately, the fate of the Confederacy would be sealed. As Groom recounts this landmark confrontation, he brings the participants to life. We see Grant in all his grim determination, the feistiness of William Tecumseh Sherman, and the pride and intransigence of Confederate leaders from Jefferson Davis and General Joseph E. Johnston to General John C. Pemberton, the Philadelphia-born Rebel who commanded at Vicksburg and took the blame for losing.
A first-rate work of military history and an essential contribution to our understanding of the Civil War.
Groom's book is full of…authentically rendered excitement. Until now, his best-known work has been the novel that became the blockbuster movie Forrest Gump. But with Vicksburg 1863 he has fully arrived as a narrative historian, who proves again that facts skillfully woven can be more moving than the products of the busiest imagination. Rarely has the story of such a lengthy and complicated campaign been told with such clarity and grace. - The Washington Post - Ernest B. Furgurson