Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Forthcoming: Virginian for the Union

George Thomas: Virginian for the Union, Christopher J. Einolf, University of Oklahoma Press, 416 pp., 16 b/w illustrations, 12 maps, $29.95. (November 2007)

Most Southerners in the U.S. Army resigned their commissions to join the Confederacy in 1861. But at least one sone of a distinguished, slaveholding Virginia family remained loyal to the Union. George H. Thomas fought for the North and secured key victories at Chickamauga and Nashville. Thomas's wartime experiences transformed him from a slaveholder to a defender of civil rights.

Remembered as the "Rock of Chickamauga," Thomas became one of the most prominent Union generals and was even considered for overall command of the Union Army in Virginia. Yet he has been eclipsed by such names as Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan.

Offering vivid accounts of combat, Einolf depicts the fighting from Thomas's perspective to allow a unique look at the real experience of decision making on the battlefield. He examines the general's recurring confrontations with the Union high command to make a strong case for Thomas's integrity and competence, even as he exposes Thomas's shortcomings and poor decisions. The result is a more balanced, nuanced picture than has previously been available.

Probing Thomas's perosn character, Einolf reveals how a son of the South could oppose the views of friends and family. George Thomas: Virginian for the Union offers a fresh appraisal of an important career and lends new insight into the inner conflicts of the Civil War. (Text supplied by the publisher)

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