Cascoly Books: Michael Shaara

Cascoly Books - Michael Shaara

Gone For Soldiers a A Prequel to his civil war trilogy, Shaara's Gone for Soldiers examines the United States - Mexican War through two major characters, a young Robert E Lee, a fledgling captain of engineers, and the ancient veteran of the War of 1812, General Winfield Scott. Highly worth reading on its own, it was enhanced for me by the coincidental timing - I read it shortly after following Bush's pre-emptive attack on Iraq. Shaara presciently sets out an amazingly close similar precedent [the book was published in 2000] in which an American president, losing popularity and control in domestic politics, uses a jingoistic campaign to malign an enemy. He then launches a pre-emptive attack based on contrived intelligence. Whether 'Manifest Destiny' or a new world order or a war on terror, the result is the same - force invades a smaller, yet still sovereign country hoping superior technology will make up for insufficent numbers. The initial invasions go reasonably well, and early objectives are achieved, but the invasions soon bog down when the mismatched enemy forces don't play by the rules and refuse the invaders in open field battle. Political decisions often trump military sense and strategy. While the president gives speeches supporting the troops, there is inadequate logistics and planning to provide both guns and manpower, and no thought is given to the aftermath. Initial dreams of an enthusiastic welcome as liberators turns into the nightmare of guerilla war. As the army moves inland General Scott is forced to deplete his already small detached forces with numerous garrisons to contain and control his supply lines. Scott must also keep casualties to a minimum knowing that public support for this war is thin, and relies on a risky campaign of maneuver against a numerically superior but technologically inferior enemy. The results are predictable, and unfortunately recurring in history. Many other young American officers appear in the book, who will later meet each other in their own Civil War.


The Civil War Trilogy

  • Gods & Generals
  • Killer Angels
  • The Last Full Measure

    Top notch historical fiction, with Killer Angels covering the Gettysburg campaign, and the sandwiching volumes later written by the author's son to  cover the preliminary and subsequent story of the civil war

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    For an alternative ending, try Newt Gingrich's Gettysburg trilogy

  • Civil War images & maps

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  • Books on the Civil War
  • Gettysburg and the Civil War - the Newt Gingrich version
  • More Battlefields
  • Artillery
  • The-Bloody-Crucible-of-Courage

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