Stonewall: A Biography of General Thomas J. Jackson

Byron Farwell, Author W. W. Norton & Company $29.95 (560p) ISBN 978-0-393-03389-2
Farwell, a leading popular military historian ( Mr. Kipling's Army ), argues that his subject's reputation has been so highly polished by admirers that both the man and the soldier are obscured. Here he depicts a Stonewall Jackson (1812-1863) as a complex person who could be petty as well as pious, vindictive as well as heroic. The core of the work, however, is a series of battle narratives that establish Jackson as a hard-driving offensive fighter who took risks and made them pay off. Farwell's insistence that Jackson was consistently lucky understates the effects of Stonewall's ability to force his enemies to make mistakes. He is more convincing in arguing that Jackson's difficulty in cooperating with colleagues and subordinates meant that corps command marked his effective limit. The author's concluding implication--that Jackson's death at Chancellorsville might not have been an overwhelming disaster for the Confederacy--is certain to attract attention. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-393-31086-3
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