Sherman's march across the South from the destruction of Atlanta to the final minutes of the war when he accepts Johnston's surrender is the subject of the book. Although the Union forces are the focus of the book, we also see the Confederates namely, Hardee, Wheeler, Seeley and Johnson. Shaara also includes chapters from the Black's perspective in the person of Franklin, a freed slave who followed the army from Georgia until a battle near Bentonville, South Carolina.
The book is well researched relying on primary sources as much as possible. Although it is a lengthy look at the end of the Civil War, the characters are so well done that you want to know what happens to them. Shaara accommodates this by including a short post-Civil War biography on each of the main characters at the end of the book. The prose is well crafted. It doesn't draw attention to itself, but keeps the story of Sherman's long march from Georgia to Virginia the focus of the novel.
Although it's historically impossible to determine whether Shaara is correct in the thoughts he puts into the heads of his characters, they track history well enough that it's easy to believe the men could have felt this way. The use of the characters thoughts kept the book from being dry history and brought the characters and the battles to life.
I enjoyed the book. It's well written, and although it's over 600 pages, it held my interest. I highly recommend it if you're a Civil War buff, or someone interested in military history. It can also be enjoyed by anyone who likes a good historical novel.
I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.