Rebel Yell

The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

Rebel Yell

From the author of the prize-winning New York Times bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon comes a thrilling account of how Civil War general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a great and tragic American hero.

Stonewall Jackson has long been a figure of legend and romance. As much as any person in the Confederate pantheon, even Robert E. Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. Jackson is also considered, without argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures. His brilliance at the art of war tied Abraham Lincoln and the Union high command in knots and threatened the ultimate success of the Union armies. Jackson’s strategic innovations shattered the conventional wisdom of how war was waged; he was so far ahead of his time that his techniques would be studied generations into the future.

In April 1862 Jackson was merely another Confederate general in an army fighting what seemed to be a losing cause. By June he had engineered perhaps the greatest military campaign in American history and was one of the most famous men in the Western world. He had, moreover, given the Confederate cause what it had recently lacked—hope—and struck fear into the hearts of the Union.

Rebel Yell is written with the swiftly vivid narrative that is Gwynne’s hallmark and is rich with battle lore, biographical detail, and intense conflict between historical figures. Gwynne delves deep into Jackson’s private life, including the loss of his young beloved first wife and his regimented personal habits. It traces Jackson’s brilliant twenty-four-month career in the Civil War, the period that encompasses his rise from obscurity to fame and legend; his stunning effect on the course of the war itself; and his tragic death, which caused both North and South to grieve the loss of a remarkable American hero.
  • Scribner | 
  • 688 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451673289 | 
  • September 2014
List Price $35.00
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Questions for Discussion

1. Why does S.C. Gwynne consider Stonewall Jackson one of the most compelling characters of the Civil War

2. How did Jackson, an unpopular and highly eccentric college physics professor, become (in the space of fourteen months) the most famous military figure in the western world?

3. Why do you think Gwynne chose the title Rebel Yell

4. Jackson’s Valley Campaign shows how often victory or defeat hangs on the thread of chance. How did small decisions greatly impact the outcome?

5. Gwynne is not afraid to show the different sides of Jackson—a contradictory figure, a man who rode his troops almost as hard as his horse, Little Sorrel, and was responsible for the deaths of thousands of soldiers, but was in his private moments a loving husband and devoted Christian. Discuss Gwynne’s portrayal of the contradictions within his character.

6. How do Jackson’s personal views on slavery relate to his actions as a general?

7. Stonewall Jackson’s war-making strategies have merited generations of study. What in his strategies and leadership is significant today?

8. A review of Rebel Yell noted that “praying soldiers were often socially shunned and professionally unrewarded.” How did Jackson’s religious convictions imbue his leadership?  How did his faith differentiate him?

9. What do you thin see more

More Books from this Author

The Perfect Pass
Empire of the Summer Moon

About the Author

S. C. Gwynne
Photograph © Corey Arnold

S. C. Gwynne

S.C. Gwynne is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He spent most of his career as a journalist, including stints with Time as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor, and with Texas Monthly as executive editor. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife.

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