I recently read A Chain of Thunder by Jeff Shaara (2014). The book is an historical novel, detailing the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863, by the Union Army under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant.
Chain of Thunder provides insight into the thinking, the tactical
strategies, the key players, and the politics at play in 1863 as the Union Army
struggled to control the vital shipping route of the Mississippi River, on
which Vicksburg served as a critical Confederate stronghold.
It is good for me to read novels of this
nature as they remind me of the sacrifices made and hardships endured in the
evolution of the United States. As in
all points in the history of mankind, leaders with flaws were/are called upon
to act in extraordinary ways in the interest of the greater good. Not always have such leaders met with
success; and, those efforts are often
accompanied by egregious loss of life (innocent and otherwise) and property.
To be sure, war is an ugly affair, its
atrocities eclipsed only by the ugliness of capitulation to the forces of
I have read numerous books by JS (and his father, Michael Shaara) over the years. All are compelling and well-written accounts of pivotal military campaigns in the history of the United States. I’ll continue reading their works. They inform me and cause me
to reflect on the important things in life, both at the micro- and the macro-level.