The Smoke at Dawn: A Novel of the Civil War (Hardcover)
A Novel of the Civil War
Ballantine Books, 9780345527417, 495pp.
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows so well, with the latest novel in the series that started with A Blaze of Glory and A Chain of Thunder. In The Smoke at Dawn, the last great push of the Army of the Cumberland sets the stage for a decisive confrontation at Chattanooga that could determine the outcome of the war.
Summer, 1863. The Federal triumph at Vicksburg has secured complete control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy, cementing the reputation of Ulysses S. Grant. Farther east, the Federal army under the command of William Rosecrans captures the crucial rail hub at Chattanooga. But Rosecrans is careless, and while pursuing the Confederates, the Federal forces are routed in north Georgia at Chickamauga Creek. Retreating in a panic back to Chattanooga, Rosecrans is pursued by the Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg. Penned up, with their supply lines severed, the Federal army seems doomed to the same kind of defeat that plagued the Confederates at Vicksburg. But a disgusted Abraham Lincoln has seen enough of General Rosecrans. Ulysses Grant is elevated to command of the entire theater of the war, and immediately replaces Rosecrans with General George Thomas. Grant gathers an enormous force, including armies commanded by Joseph Hooker and Grant's friend, William T. Sherman. Grant's mission is clear: Break the Confederate siege and destroy Bragg's army. Meanwhile, Bragg wages war as much with his own subordinates as he does with the Federals, creating dissension and disharmony in the Southern ranks, erasing the Confederate army's superiority at exactly the wrong time.
Blending evocative historical detail with searing depictions of battle, Jeff Shaara immerses readers in the world of commanders and common soldiers, civilians and statesmen. From the Union side come the voices of Generals Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and George Thomas the vaunted Rock of Chickamauga as well as the young private Fritz Dutchie Bauer. From the Rebel ranks come Generals Bragg, Patrick Cleburne, and James Longstreet, as well as the legendary cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest. A tale of history played out on a human scale in the grand Shaara tradition, The Smoke at Dawn vividly recreates the climactic months of the war in the West, when the fate of a divided nation truly hangs in the balance.
Praise forThe Smoke at Dawn
Civil War history fiends will be riveted. Parade
A beautifully written novel . . . Shaara once again elevates history from mere rote fact to explosive and engaging drama. Bookreporter
Shaara's mastery of military tactics, his intimate grasp of history, and his ability to interweave several supporting narratives into a cohesive and digestible whole . . . will appeal to a broad range of historical- and military-fiction fans. Booklist
Top-notch . . . As with the best historical war novels, knowing the ultimate outcome of the bitter fighting is not a bar to engagement. Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Praise For The Smoke at Dawn: A Novel of the Civil War…
Praise for Jeff Shaara’s new Civil War series
A Blaze of Glory
“Brilliant . . . riveting . . . a work to be embraced.”—Bookreporter
“[An] exciting read . . . This novel is meticulously researched and brings a vivid reality to the historical events depicted.”—Library Journal
“Dynamic portrayals [of] Johnston, Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.”—The Wall Street Journal
A Chain of Thunder
“[A] riveting fictional narrative.”—Booklist
“Shaara continues to draw powerful novels from the bloody history of the Civil War. . . . [He] aptly reveals the main actors: Grant, stoic, driven, not given to micromanagement; Sherman, anxious, high-strung, engaged even when doubting Grant’s strategy. . . . Worth a Civil War buff’s attention.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Shaara’s historical accuracy is faultless, and he tells a good story. . . . The voices of these people come across to the reader as poignantly clear as they did 150 years ago.”—Historical Novels Review