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By David Hardin

"Show me a hero and that i will write you a tragedy," stated F. Scott Fitzgerald. maybe no occasion in American historical past larger illustrates this view than the Civil warfare and its relevant gamers within the years after the clash. the price of army glory and ties to greatness may flip towards the tragic even one of the victors—like earthquake survivors stumbling into one other international, easily attempting to make a brand new existence. Their fight will be a relentless tug again towards a destroyed previous, and a disagreement with the truth of being strangers of their personal land.

David Hardin's tales of 11 such figures are revealing and touching: the explosive romance among Jefferson Davis's daughter and the grandson of a Yankee abolitionist; the fight among the irreligious William T. Sherman and his religious Catholic spouse for the soul in their risky son; the bankrupt Ulysses Grant's heroic race to accomplish his memoirs and supply for his kin whereas loss of life of melanoma. those are one of the tales and folks in After the War, which additionally contains the Southern diarist Mary Chesnut, the luckless accomplice John Bell Hood, the occasionally Klan chief Nathan Bedford Forrest, the shopaholic Mary Lincoln, the gentlemanly Joe Johnston, the mythological Robert E. Lee, the underappreciated Union normal George Thomas, and the plucky Libbie Custer, who defended her husband most sensible identified for his reckless catastrophe.

Whether Northerner or Southerner, their lives didn't finish at Appomattox. Their assorted results are a ceremonial dinner of irony and, jointly, a portrait of nationwide switch. With 11 black-and-white photographs.

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It didn’t help when a plan to assist an uprising of Unionists in East Tennessee went awry. The scheme, at the behest of Tennessee senator Andrew Johnson and with President Lincoln’s enthusiastic blessing, envisioned sending men under Sherman’s subordinate, George H. Thomas, to work with partisans planning to destroy bridges on the vital East Tennessee–Virginia railway. Thomas had even set out, but Sherman, believing the force was about to be trapped, panicked and ordered him to pull back. Johnson, marching with Thomas, was livid.

Grant had none of Jesse’s business savvy. In the Memoirs he relates a painful example from boyhood that still seethed years later: “There was a Mr. Ralston living within a few miles of the village, who owned a colt which I very much wanted. My father had offered twenty dollars for it, but Ralston wanted twenty-five. I was so anxious to have the colt, that after the owner left, I begged to be allowed to take him at the price demanded. My father yielded, but said twenty dollars was all the horse was worth, and told me to offer that price; if it was not accepted I was to offer twenty-two and a half, and if that would not get him, to give the twenty-five.

Johnson, marching with Thomas, was livid. The partisans went ahead with the plan, but unprotected Unionists were rounded up and several hanged. By this time Sherman had had enough of Kentucky, and his commander, George McClellan, had had enough of Sherman. He quickly granted Sherman’s request to be relieved. While waiting for his relief, though, Sherman continued to send out warnings of imminent attack and the virtual doubling of Sidney Johnston’s forces. At this point Sherman’s aide was sufficiently moved to telegraph the general’s father-in-law in Ohio to “send Mrs.

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