Praise for Hymns of the Republic
“Engrossing….A riveting Civil War history giving politics and combat equal attention.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“Creating suspense in recounting familiar events marks real talent in a historian; […] covering in detail events of the Civil War’s final year and giving his readers a real sense of wonder, even thrill. In vivid, bloody prose, he lays out the landscapes of the war’s culminating battles, not sparing the reader the gut punch of inhuman horror such slaughter creates.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Gwynne excels in tightly focused storytelling …[t]his is a must-read for Civil War enthusiasts.”
From S.C. Gwynne, New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell, comes HYMNS OF THE REPUBLIC: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War (Scribner; on-sale October 29, 2019). The fourth and final year of the Civil War was, by any measure, one of the greatest turning points in American history. By the spring of 1864, President Abraham Lincoln knew that decisive Union successes on the battlefield would be necessary for his reelection in the fall. Yet the war had entered a grinding, brutal stage in which the Confederate Army, led by General Robert E. Lee, continued to resist and frustrate the Union, at the cost of great bloodshed on both sides. Lincoln’s generals seemed unwilling or unable to prosecute a final victory. The war that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the lawless Missouri border was destroying the country and appeared to have no end.
As HYMNS OF THE REPUBLIC lucidly shows, the drive to the war’s end climaxed in a series of monumental and emotionally devastating events: Sherman’s 285-mile March to the Sea, meant to frighten Southern civilians to abandon the Confederate cause; the shocking cataclysm of Lincoln’s assassination; the somber surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox; and the revelations of horrific mass deaths of Union prisoners of war at the Andersonville Prison in Georgia. As Gwynne brilliantly explains, it was this series of epic, profoundly poignant tragedies that forged the Union victory in a war that reverberates in America even today.
Popular history at its best, HYMNS OF THE REPUBLIC is a thrilling, luminous read and confirms Pulitzer Prize finalist S.C. Gwynne as one of the most talented historians of our time.
S.C. Gwynne is the author of Hymns of the Republic and the New York Times bestsellers Rebel Yell and Empire of the Summer Moon, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He spent most of his career as a journalist, including stints with Time as bureau chief, national correspondent, and senior editor, and with Texas Monthly as executive editor. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife.