From the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell comes “a masterwork of history” (Lawrence Wright, author of God Save Texas), the spellbinding, epic account of the last year of the Civil War.
The fourth and final year of the Civil War offers one of the most compelling narratives and one of history’s great turning points. Now, Pulitzer Prize finalist S.C. Gwynne breathes new life into the epic battle between Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant; the advent of 180,000 black soldiers in the Union army; William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea; the rise of Clara Barton; the election of 1864 (which Lincoln nearly lost); the wild and violent guerrilla war in Missouri; and the dramatic final events of the war, including Lee’s surrender at Appomattox and the murder of Abraham Lincoln.
“A must-read for Civil War enthusiasts” (Publishers Weekly), Hymns of the Republic offers many surprising angles and insights. Robert E. Lee, known as a great general and Southern hero, is presented here as a man dealing with frustration, failure, and loss. Ulysses S. Grant is known for his prowess as a field commander, but in the final year of the war he largely fails at that. His most amazing accomplishments actually began the moment he stopped fighting. William Tecumseh Sherman, Gwynne argues, was a lousy general, but probably the single most brilliant man in the war. We also meet a different Clara Barton, one of the greatest and most compelling characters, who redefined the idea of medical care in wartime. And proper attention is paid to the role played by large numbers of black union soldiers—most of them former slaves.
Popular history at its best, Hymns of the Republic reveals the creation that arose from destruction in this “engrossing…riveting” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) read.
S.C. Gwynne is the author of Hymns of the Republic and 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.
"Robert Petkoff gives a splendid reading of Pulitzer Prize recipient Gwynne's well-researched and well-written account of the last year of the American Civil War. Providing an overview of the war in the East (Virginia), the West (Georgia and Tennessee), and on the Frontier (Kansas and Missouri), Gwynne describes the vast scale of the war and gives the drama a very human face. Petkoff's baritone is employed well. He moves at an easy-to-follow pace and is very clear in his enunciation."