S.C. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell, shares his epic account of the conclusion of the Civil War in Hymns of the Republic. The fourth and final year provides a powerful bed of information for a captivating narrative about one of the turning points for the nation. There are angles and insights that Gwynne shares that will surprise many readers, even those who think they know all there is to know about the Civil War.
Gwynne takes the time to focus on elements of famous figures of the war such as Robert E. Lee and William Tecumseh Sherman in a new light. He shares how Lee has been as a great genereal and Southern hero, while he was actually dealing with frustration, failure, and loss. The way that Ulysses S. Grant struggles to be the powerful field commander that he had previously been before the final year of the war. Gwynne also shares how William Tecumseh Sherman was a brilliant man, but a terrible general during the war. He then sheds light on Clara Barton in a way that highlights her as an even more powerful force within the Civil War narrative. The major addition that shows a desire to focus on inclusion is the time spent on discussing the large numbers of black soldiers in the Union army.
Hymns of the Republic showcases Gwynne’s love of the history surrounding the Civil War and this passion leads to the informative narrative he has created. As someone who spent time researching the period of time that followed the Civil War, know as Reconstruction, this book revealed things to me that even that research did not reveal. As a historian it is important to showcase new narratives within the story that has evolved within the American historical realm since the years following the war. This vivid story examines figures who were all brought together as the war drew to an end. Those who love learning more about the Civil War will raptly read this work and find themselves transported to another time. The tone of this work also breathes life into what could be a presented in the stereotypical stuffy way that many historical works are. If you are looking to learn something you never expected to you should check this book out. Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Years of the American Civil War is available now.