The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993

Book Revzews

Following the fall of Atlanta in September 1864, Gen. John Bell Hood
launched his ill-fated Tennessee Campaign. It was a desperate, some would
assert pitiful, attempt to regain the offensive after the staggering loss of At-
lanta. The result was the virtual destruction of the Army of Tennessee.
The first comprehensive study of the Tennessee Campaign was Thomas
Hay's Hood's Tennessee Campaign (1929). Two more recent works, Stanley Horn's
The Decisve Battle of Nashville (1957) and James Lee McDonough and Thomas
Connelly's Five T7agic Hours (1983), focused on the battles of Nashville and
Franklin respectively. Wiley Sword's Embrace an Angry Wand is far more com-
prehensive in scope and does much to fill in the gaps of one of the Civil War's
most neglected campaigns.
Sword sustains his reputation as one of the best Civil War authors in America
today. His depiction of battle scenes is brilliant. The book is written on the
model of an historical novel and is enthralling. The story unfolds in a series of
shifting scenes, a style that works beautifully. The downside of this style is that
the book is sometimes short on scholarly assessments, especially in the early
chapters. Sword apparently downplayed analysis because it interrupted the
flow of the narrative. Yet one wishes that he had spent a little less time on the
romantic interests of John Bell Hood and Patrick Cleburne and a little more
time in offering a revisionist view of the works of Thomas Connelly and Rich-
ard McMurry.
The research is extensive, but not exhaustive. Sword cites a number of pre-
viously unpublished sources. Yet he did not research many depositories, such
as Emory University, Tulane University, and the Alabama Department of Ar-
chives and History, all of which have holdings on the Tennessee Campaign.
These comments aside, Embrace an Angry Wand will undoubtedly stand as the
primary work on the Tennessee Campaign. It can be recommended because it
fills a void, it is well written, and its conclusions are sound. For serious students
of the Western Theater of the Civil War, or even general readers, this book is
a must.
Jackson, Tennessee LARRY J. DANIEL
Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee: A Portrait of Life in the Confederate Anmy. By
Larry J. Daniel. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.
Pp. xvi+ 231. Preface, acknowledgments, introduction, bibliography, in-
dex, illustrations. $22.50.)
The author's preface statement sets his course: exploring an "as yet un-
told ... story of the army from the opposite view-the grass roots, succinctly
stating: "My Mission was to discover exactly who were the men of the Army of
Tennessee" (pp. xi-xii). His research reveals a "glue" that bound AOT soldiers
together and that is integral in understanding their mettle, whether on the
battlefield or in camp. This is indeed a worthy quest, if a nebulous one.
And that is the one place where the volume falls short, for it is impossible to
produce such a broad sweeping canvas with the narrow strokes provided in

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 96, July 1992 - April, 1993. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101215/. Accessed July 9, 2014.