On Fields of Fury: From the Wilderness to the Crater, an Eyewitness History

Richard Wheeler, Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-016582-6
The latest entry in Wheeler's Civil War history covers Grant's Virginia campaign against Lee from May 5 through July 30, 1864. Told largely through the memoirs and letters of participants, quotations are linked together in a smooth chronological narrative that vividly illuminates the battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor and the early phase of the siege of Petersburg. The book concludes with an account of the Crater fiasco, in which a tunnel was dug from Union to Confederate lines, packed with explosives and ignited. The Union command failed to exploit the resultant breach in the Southern lines and the war dragged on for eight more months. Wheeler ( Witness to Gettysburg ) explains well the strategy and tactics of the confrontation between the two great captains, but his emphasis throughout is on the human side of events. This includes not only military impressions but civilian as well, with poignant glimpses of slaves being liberated as the battle lines swept across the Virginia plantations. Illustrations. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-0281-5
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