No Greater Courage: A Novel of the Battle of Fredericksburg

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9780061228063: No Greater Courage: A Novel of the Battle of Fredericksburg

No Greater Courage: A Novel of the Battle of Fredericksburg

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Lincoln, Lee and Stonewall Jackson figure prominently in this historically accurate but wooden fictionalized account of the disastrous 1862 Union defeat at Fredericksburg. As the book opens, Lincoln has replaced the sluggish commander of the Army of the Potomac, Maj. Gen. George McClellan, with a reluctant Ambrose Burnside. Gen. Robert E. Lee's ruminations on Burnside's next steps, after hearing the news, are positively prophetic. Abraham Lincoln also muses, and he feels (surprise!) an ominous foreboding. So it goes. The historical characters remain two-dimensional: the pompous Union general in chief, Henry Halleck; selfless Clara Barton; the scheming Union general Joseph Hooker. Minor characters, some authentic, deliver the nuts and bolts of the story as they suffer the miseries of 19th-century campaigning. The Union army lumbers South, delayed too long at the river across from Fredericksburg, Va., as the soldiers await pontoon bridges. When the pontoons arrive, the army crosses and Burnside orders a suicidal attack against Lee's well-fortified position. The book concludes with Lincoln dismissing Burnside, and with more prophetic pessimism, appointing Hooker in his place. Croker's fast-moving debut aims for fans of Civil War battle novelizations, but falls short of classics like The Killer Angels. (Mar.)
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