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Drawing on years of research, the authors weave a complex narrative interweaving the high aspirations of African American troops eager to prove themselves in battle and the anxiety of a president who knows the nation cannot bear another major defeat.
June 1864: the Civil War is now into its fourth year of bloody conflict with no end in sight. The armies of the North are stalled in fetid trenches outside of Richmond and Atlanta, and the reelection of Abraham Lincoln to a second term seems doomed to defeat - a defeat that will set off the call for an end to the conflict, dismembering the Union and continuing slavery.
Only one group of volunteers for the Union cause is still eager for battle. Nearly 200,000 men of color have swarmed the recruiting stations and are being mobilized into regiments known as the USCTs, the United States Colored Troops. General Ambrose Burnside, a hard-luck commander out of favor with his superiors, is one of the few generals eager to bring a division of these new troops into his ranks. He has an ingenious plan to break Fort Pegram, the closest point on the Confederate line, defending Petersburg - the last defense of Richmond - by tunneling forward from the Union position beneath the fort to explode its defenses. Burnside needs the USCTs for one desperate rush that just might bring victory. The risks are high. Will Burnside be allowed to proceed or will interference from on high doom his plan to failure?
The battleground drama unfolds through the eyes of James Reilly - famed artist, correspondent, and friend of Lincoln, who has been employed by the president to be his eyes and ears amongst the men, sending back an honest account of the front. In so doing, he befriends Sergeant Major Garland White of the 28th USCT regiment, an escaped slave and minister preparing his comrades for a frontal assault that will either win the war, or result in their annihilation.
To Make Men Free is Gingrich and Forstchen’s most compelling fact-based work yet, presenting little known truths, long forgotten in the files of correspondence, and the actual court of inquiry held after the attack. The novel draws a new and controversial conclusion while providing a sharp, rousing, and harshly realistic view of politics and combat during the darkest year of the Civil War. This must-listen work rewrites our understanding of one of the great battles of the war, and the all but forgotten role played by one of the largest formations of African American troops in our nation’s history.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Cheryl on 02-04-13
What did you love best about To Make Men Free?
I could not possibly begin to say what I liked best about this book
What other book might you compare To Make Men Free to and why?
This book stands alone with no comparison
What does William Dufris bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Yes, I laughed, I cried. William Dufris was able to narrate this book and make the characters real. You feel like you are standing there watching the story unfold right in front of you
Any additional comments?
Do not overlook this book! A must read for anyone interested in American history or if your just looking for an excellent story
1 of 1 people found this review helpful