A Civil General

By ,

George Thomas, a Union General during the American Civil War, is a Virginian who decides to remain loyal to his country. His exploits are told by a young Union colonel who believes that General Thomas has been treated disrespectfully, especially by General Grant, commander of the Union forces. Never recognized as the great leader the narrator feels was his due, General Thomas falls into obscurity after the war, although his funeral five years later is attended by more than 10,000 mourners, including President Grant.

I found this book very boring. The characters, other than Thomas, were flat and uninteresting. The main problem with this book is that it lacks a story; eventually it turns into a nonfiction account of the General’s war experiences. Based on a diary by Mr. Stinebeck’s great-grandfather, it would have been much better if written as a history of George Thomas as experienced by his descendant. Instead, the book is told from the viewpoint of a nondescript colonel, an aide to the General. I found the battle scenes confusing and the occasional switching from present to past tense even more annoying. Even an American Civil War buff like me has a difficult time recommending this book.

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award







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