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In this thrilling narrative history of the Civil War’s most strategically important campaign, Winston Groom describes the bloody two-year grind that started when Ulysses S. Grant began taking a series of Confederate strongholds in 1861, climaxing with the siege of Vicksburg two years later. For Grant and the Union it was a crucial success that captured the Mississippi River, divided the South in half, and set the stage for eventual victory. Vicksburg, 1863 brings the battles and the protagonists of this struggle to life: we see Grant in all his grim determination, Sherman with his feistiness and talent for war, and Confederate leaders from Jefferson Davis to Joe Johnston to John Pemberton. It is an epic account by a masterful writer and historian.
“Brilliantly described. . . . Rarely has the story of such a lengthy and complicated campaign been told with such clarity and grace. . . . Groom’s book is full of such authentically rendered excitement. . . . He proves again that facts skillfully woven can be more moving than the products of the busiest imagination. . . . With Vicksburg, 1863, he has fully arrived as a narrative historian.” —The Washington Post
“Groom’s mastery of plot and storytelling leaves him inordinately well-disposed to piece together the tangled mass of major battles and peashooter skirmishes . . . that made up the Vicksburg campaign. . . . If Vicksburg seems like a very old story to tell, Groom’s lively account has a frighteningly contemporary sheen.” —The Chicago Tribune
“Illuminating. . . . Groom can help any reader understand and appreciate that when North met South in combat the issues weren’t one-dimensional and the outcome wasn’t a foregone conclusion.” —The Vicksburg Post
“A galvanizing and harrowing account. . . . Relying on southern sensibilities, historical scrupulousness and a novelist’s feel for a good yarn, Groom plunges into this cauldron with a presentation that gives full vent to the cost in human lives and the enormous stakes for both sides.” —The New Jersey Star-Ledger
“Groom’s command of the military facts, and his extraordinary mixture of vignettes big and small, brings this distant, chaotic, and shockingly violent episode to life.” —The Weekly Standard
“With [Vicksburg, 1863] Groom attains the stratospheric narrative heights heretofore enjoyed by such popular-history masters as Bruce Catton, Shelby Foote and James M. McPherson. His pacing is so good, his attention to detail so riveting, and his flair for action writing so pitch-perfect that the reader is utterly absorbed and inexorably swept along. . . . There have been many books about Vicksburg, but none better than this.”
—Mobile Press-Register (Alabama)
“Civil-war buffs will be most interested in Winston Groom’s contribution to the contentious debate on whether General Joseph Johnston, the Confederate commander in the West, could and should have done more to relieve the defender of Vicksburg, General John Pemberton. Others will be struck more by the archaic nature of the Vicksburg campaign. The tactics of the besiegers and the sufferings of the besieged bring to mind medieval, or even Roman, times rather than mid-19th-century America.” —The Economist
“Winston Groom bids fair to assume the mantle of the late Shelby Foote as a most eloquent and moving storyteller of the Civil War. His prose is unbeatable . . . while his pen portraits of individuals are crisp and incisive. The feel and smell and hardship of soldiers and civilians alike in a siege are all here in Vicksburg, 1863.” —William C. Davis, author of Look Away! A History of the Confederate States of America
“An exciting, balanced account of what may have been the most decisive campaign of the Civil War. . . . It is all there—bravery and cowardice, competence and folly, fear and endurance, all with the constant, imponderable undertow of dumb luck, good and bad.”
—Stephen Fox, author of Wolf of the Deep
“[Groom] has delivered another tour de force. . . . Beautifully written, he places us in the minds and hearts of the citizens and soldiers who lived the battles and endured the hardships of war in the besieged city. This is a must read!” —Frank J. Williams, Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and founding Chair of The Lincoln Forum