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Search tags: Jeff-Shaara
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review 2017-05-01 19:03
Outstanding, as always!
The Frozen Hours: A Novel of the Korean War - Jeff Shaara
Shaara has created another masterpiece. This time it's a stand-alone novel of the Korean War. Well written and superbly researched.
As in all of his novels, Shaara explores the conflict through the eyes of a variety of people. In this book, he shows the war through three main characters, an American General, a Chinese General, and an American PFC soldier. In the beginning, I was hoping for more main characters, perhaps a Chinese soldier or someone closer to MacArthur. But, as the novel progresses, I came to realize the reasoning. First, the "average" Chinese soldier was really a non-factor, as they, sadly, were thought of by their "superiors" as just a piece of meat to be thrown into the maelstrom. They did not last long enough to flesh out an individual character. And as far as MacArthur goes, Shaara shows that the sycophants surrounding him were basically as mindless as the Chinese soldiers, blindly throwing themselves into whatever the "superior" wanted, to curry favor for their own careers.
In this novel, there is none of the "glory" found in his earlier novels. No feelings of a job well done, or of giddy patriotism. Shaara expresses the drabness, the drudgery, the feeling of "why are we here" and "what is the endgame" of the Korean conflict. His descriptions of the weather, the cold, the misery, make you want to sit in front of a fire and warm up yourself. You're left with a bleak feeling of "why". Why were we there? What were we trying to achieve? Why was there no oversight over MacArthur?
And talk about timely! I couldn't help but wonder if history might be repeating itself. Today we again find ourselves with a crisis in Korea. We find ourselves again with a leader who seems to bend the facts to what he wants to see, all in the interest of satisfying his outlandish ego. My hope is that this time, someone steps in and prevents another disaster. That we don't back down to the ego, that we think things through. Because this time, if China intervenes again, the stakes are much much higher than they were in the last Korean War!
Bravo, Mr. Shaara!
 
 

 

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review 2016-06-05 02:46
Review of A Blaze of Glory by Jeff Shaara
A Blaze of Glory - Jeff Shaara

I always enjoy a Jeff Shaara novel. His books always make me want to learn more about history, and I find myself engaged in whatever particular battles and characters he is writing about. This book is the first in the start of a 3-4 book series on the Western theater of the Civil War. This novel focus on Shiloh and Shaara uses his typical format of having each chapter written from the perspective of one of the participants. He uses lesser known figures from history for many of the chapters, and while I enjoy the idea, I prefer seeing things from the major players point of view.

 

Of all of Shaara's books I have read, this was my least favorite. It took quite some time to really get going. The setup for the battle was half of the book, and there really wasn't all that much to that part of the story. The battle itself was well written, but the actual battle of Shiloh did not involve a great deal of strategy as much it was just two armies slugging it out. I am still looking forward to the rest of the books after this slow start.

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review 2015-09-27 19:11
Source: youtu.be/MJtmy5WOmGw
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review 2015-07-09 00:31
History At It's Best!
The Fateful Lightning: A Novel of the Civil War - Jeff Shaara

Shaara continues his run of outstanding historical novels! The Fateful Lightning is about the ending days of the Civil War, seen through the lens of Sherman's "March To The Sea". As he has done before, Shaara once again lays his story out by telling it through the eyes of multiple characters. The main character, General Sherman; two Confederate soldiers; and, perhaps most interesting, a slave who was freed by Sherman's army. As with all of his books, it is extremely well researched. It vividly describes the day to day struggles of the march as well as the battles along the way. And allows you insight into what may have been going through the character's minds at the time.
I have studied a lot of Civil War history, but have to admit that I really never considered it through the eyes of a slave. But when you think about the situation they found themselves in, freed from their "owners" without any real knowledge of the world outside their plantation, it's amazing. Not to provide any spoilers, but I found several instances worth mentioning. On seeing money being exchanged for the first time, Franklin (the slave) states, "If we're being delivered, God won't be needing none of this. I ain't seen nothing in the Bible about tradin' paper to get into heaven". Also interesting was Franklin's amazement at something as simple as a letter, which he couldn't believe could be used to communicate over long distances. He was far from ignorant though, as when asked why the poor Southern white men would fight for the rich, he stated, "When the war broke out, the rich folk told the poor folk that if they win the war, they can have the land up north, and all the coloreds they want".
Even though the book was very well written, and the plot moves along well, I found myself purposefully slowing down, in order to savor the book for as long as I could. I'm sorry that Shaara's series has come to a conclusion. I wish he could go on and on, but then, all good things must end eventually. Bravo, Mr. Shaara!
 

Source: www.wormtroika.com
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review 2015-04-26 00:00
A Blaze of Glory
A Blaze of Glory - Jeff Shaara I have read some of Jeff Shaara's Revolutionary War novels, which were quite good, so I was looking forward to reading this novel that takes place during the Civil War at the Battle of Shiloh. After abandoning the city of Nashville, General Johnston and the Rebel troops are hunkered down in Tennessee. Meanwhile General Grant and Buell are planning on combining their forces and crushing Johnston. When Johnston gets wind of this, he sneak attacks Grant while he is still waiting for Buell. This starts the Battle of Shiloh, perhaps the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

There was a lot to like about this novel. Shaara does a great job with historical research, and I certainly appreciate that. The battle itself was dramatic and intriguing from a historical perspective. But what I think that I most liked about this novel was the humanization of some of these historical figures. It's hard to capture that just by reading a history book. I knew about the basic things that happened in the Civil War and who were the main players, but Shaara really brought these people to life with his writing. General Sherman was battling a confidence crisis with a loss at the Battle of Bull Run. General Grant was the brilliant mind who had to watch his steps with his superiors or risk being removed again from the field. Johnston was the strong-willed guiding force, who had he lived, could have guided the South to victory. Beauregard was the arrogant general whose hubris may have cost them the battle. On the down side, I thought the novel was overly long, and there was a decent bit of fluff that could have been cut out of this. In all, this was both informative and entertaining--a book that I recommend.

Carl Alves - author of Two For Eternity
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