A Chain of Thunder : The Civil War in the West

  • by Jeff Shaara
  • Narrated by Paul Michael
  • Series: The Civil War in the West
  • 22 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Continuing the trilogy that began with A Blaze of Glory, New York Times best-selling author Jeff Shaara returns to chronicle another decisive chapter in America’s long and bloody Civil War. In A Chain of Thunder, the action shifts to the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. There, in the vaunted "Gibraltar of the Confederacy", a siege for the ages will cement the reputation of one Union general - and all but seal the fate of the rebel cause.
In May 1863, after months of hard and bitter combat, Union troops under the command of Major General Ulysses S. Grant at long last successfully cross the Mississippi River. They force the remnants of Confederate Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton’s army to retreat to Vicksburg, burning the bridges over the Big Black River in its path. But after sustaining heavy casualties in two failed assaults against the rebels, Union soldiers are losing confidence and morale is low. Grant reluctantly decides to lay siege to the city, trapping soldiers and civilians alike inside an iron ring of Federal entrenchments. Ten days later, the starving and destitute Southerners finally surrender, yielding command of the Mississippi River to the Union forces on July 4 - Independence Day - and marking a crucial turning point in the Civil War.
Drawing on comprehensive research and his own intimate knowledge of the Vicksburg Campaign, Jeff Shaara once again weaves brilliant fiction out of the ragged cloth of historical fact. From the command tents where generals plot strategy to the ruined mansions where beleaguered citizens huddle for safety, this is a panoramic portrait of men and women whose lives are forever altered by the siege. On one side stand the emerging legend Grant, his irascible second William T. Sherman, and the youthful "grunt" Private Fritz Bauer; on the other, the Confederate commanders Pemberton and Joseph Johnston, as well as 19-year-old Lucy Spence, a civilian doing her best to survive in the besieged city. By giving voice to their experiences at Vicksburg, A Chain of Thunder vividly evokes a battle whose outcome still reverberates more than 150 years after the cannons fell silent.


What the Critics Say

"Powerful... Though the story of the Civil War has been told many times, this is the rare version that conveys what it must have felt like." (Chicago Sun-Times on Gods and Generals)
"Compelling...a work of vivid drama and skill." (The Dallas Morning News on Gods and Generals)
"Dynamic portrayals [of] Johnston, Grant, and William Tecumseh Sherman." (The Wall Street Journal on A Blaze of Glory)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

No Maps

It would be nice if maps were somehow vlsiable to the listener. I probably will not live that long.
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- Amazon Customer "JB"

Why the Cut and Paste?

Would you try another book from Jeff Shaara and/or Paul Michael?

Shaara, yes.
Michael, no.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Chain of Thunder?

The perspective that Shaara gives from multiple points of view.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Paul Michael?

Anybody Else

Was A Chain of Thunder worth the listening time?


Any additional comments?

The reader "cuts and pastes" portions of the text randomly and often. At least once per chapter, he will insert passages that were obviously made at a different reading. Then switch back to the original voice.
Very distracting. That made it very difficult to become immersed in the story.

Please have this book re-read for the next person.

Read full review

- Dane Ilertsen "Christian, Husband, Father and Humble Lifelong Learner."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-21-2013
  • Publisher: Random House Audio