Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Booknotes: My Greatest Quarrel with Fortune

New Arrival:

"My Greatest Quarrel with Fortune": Major General Lew Wallace in the West, 1861-1862 by Charles G. Beemer (Kent St Univ Pr, 2015).

Gail Stephens's recent examination of the entire military career of Lew Wallace in her fine book Shadow of Shiloh was a thorough, balanced and fair treatment that overall offered a favorable view of Wallace's generalship. Charles Beemer's new book, the latest title from Kent State's thus far excellent Civil War Soldiers and Strategies series, instead concentrates on the early war period through Shiloh. According to the publisher's book description, Beemer's "extensive investigation of primary sources reveals that a number of existing interpretations concerning Wallace, Grant, Halleck, Grant's aide John A. Rawlins, and the Union war effort in the West from Fort Henry to Shiloh, either need refurbishing or demand discarding." From the looks of it, Beemer believes that Wallace deserves more credit and recognition for his actions on the Union right at Donelson and will be mounting a vigorous defense of Wallace's Shiloh role (with the latter and the controversies and scapegoating surrounding it comprising the bulk of the study).


  1. Drew: I'll be interested in many aspects of this study - including whether he buys into Wallace's alleged intelligence about the imminent attack and his alleged effort to relay that to Grant, as stated in his 1906 autobiography. In fact, I'll be very, very interested in that.

    1. Dear John - Thanks for your interest. Because I could not find much, if any, independent verification of this claim, I certainly could not give it any credence - not even as a footnote. Had such credence existed, I am quite sure Wallace would not have waited until his Autobiography to mention it. Hope you enjoy Lew's adventures. Chuck Beemer


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