The Smoke at Dawn

The Smoke at Dawn

A Novel of the Civil War

Book - 2014
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Random House, Inc.

Jeff Shaara returns to the Civil War terrain he knows so well, with the latest novel in the series that started with A Blaze of Glory and A Chain of Thunder. In The Smoke at Dawn, the last great push of the Army of the Cumberland sets the stage for a decisive confrontation at Chattanooga that could determine the outcome of the war.
Summer, 1863. The Federal triumph at Vicksburg has secured complete control of the Mississippi River from the Confederacy, cementing the reputation of Ulysses S. Grant. Farther east, the Federal army under the command of William Rosecrans captures the crucial rail hub at Chattanooga. But Rosecrans is careless, and while pursuing the Confederates, the Federal forces are routed in north Georgia at Chickamauga Creek. Retreating in a panic back to Chattanooga, Rosecrans is pursued by the Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg. Penned up, with their supply lines severed, the Federal army seems doomed to the same kind of defeat that plagued the Confederates at Vicksburg. But a disgusted Abraham Lincoln has seen enough of General Rosecrans. Ulysses Grant is elevated to command of the entire theater of the war, and immediately replaces Rosecrans with General George Thomas. Grant gathers an enormous force, including armies commanded by Joseph Hooker and Grant’s friend, William T. Sherman. Grant’s mission is clear: Break the Confederate siege and destroy Bragg’s army.  Meanwhile, Bragg wages war as much with his own subordinates as he does with the Federals, creating dissension and disharmony in the Southern ranks, erasing the Confederate army’s superiority at exactly the wrong time.
Blending evocative historical detail with searing depictions of battle, Jeff Shaara immerses readers in the world of commanders and common soldiers, civilians and statesmen. From the Union side come the voices of Generals Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and George Thomas—the vaunted “Rock of Chickamauga”—as well as the young private Fritz “Dutchie” Bauer. From the Rebel ranks come Generals Bragg, Patrick Cleburne, and James Longstreet, as well as the legendary cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest. A tale of history played out on a human scale in the grand Shaara tradition, The Smoke at Dawn vividly recreates the climactic months of the war in the West, when the fate of a divided nation truly hangs in the balance.
Praise for The Smoke at Dawn
“Civil War history fiends will be riveted.”—Parade
“A beautifully written novel . . . Shaara once again elevates history from mere rote fact to explosive and engaging drama.”—Bookreporter
“Shaara’s mastery of military tactics, his intimate grasp of history, and his ability to interweave several supporting narratives into a cohesive and digestible whole . . . will appeal to a broad range of historical- and military-fiction fans.”Booklist
“Top-notch . . . As with the best historical war novels, knowing the ultimate outcome of the bitter fighting is not a bar to engagement.”Publishers Weekly

Baker & Taylor
Follows the events of the summer of 1863 as the victorious Federal army loses Chattanooga before rallying against the forces of General Braxton Bragg.

& Taylor

A latest entry in the series that began with A Blaze of Glory and A Chain of Thunder is set in the summer of 1863 and recounts how a victorious Federal army loses Chattanooga before rallying against the forces of General Braxton Bragg. 100,000 first printing.
"The latest installment in the series that began with A Blaze of Glory and A Chain of Thunder. Summer, 1863: the Federal triumph at Vicksburg has secured complete control of the vital Mississippi River from the Confederacy. Under the now-proven leadership of Ulysses Grant, the victorious Federal army moves eastward, intent on the capture of the rail hub of Chattanooga, with the eventual goal of a march on Atlanta. But the Confederate forces are not yet defeated. Under General Braxton Bragg, the Confederates stun the Federal army with a bloody victory at the Battle of Chickamauga. The Federal commander there, William Rosecrans, leads a chaotic retreat back into Tennessee, where the Federal army soon finds itself besieged at Chattanooga. A disgusted Abraham Lincoln implores Grant to break the siege, and if successful, continue the strategy of crushing Bragg's army. Arriving in Chattanooga, Grant begins the campaign that will break the South's grip with an audacious attack driven by the zeal of the Federal soldiers themselves: the first in a series of triumphant victories that will drive the Confederates back to their great stronghold of Atlanta. The primary voices from the Northern side include Generals Grant, William T. Sherman and George Thomas and a young lieutenant named Sammie Willis. The voices of the Southern side include Generals Bragg, Patrick Cleburne, James Longstreet, and a young cavalry lieutenant, James Seeley, who rides with Nathan Bedford Forrest"--

Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, [2014]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780345527417
Branch Call Number: Fiction Shaara
Characteristics: xx, 495 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Mar 04, 2015

Never take anything for granted,...

Mar 04, 2015

There is no defeating nature.

Mar 04, 2015

Failure has its price.

Mar 04, 2015

... the government pays us to fight, not to surrender.

Mar 04, 2015

There's time enough to die.

Mar 04, 2015

..., that great messages lie in those things most people might miss.

Mar 04, 2015

There is great honor in besting the enemy.


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Apr 24, 2017

Shaara, in his third book of the Western Theater series, reimagines the battle of Chattanooga in November 1863. After victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Ulysses S. Grant has taken command of the Army of the Cumberland and is relying on William Tecumseh Sherman to help him with the final push through Tennessee and Georgia. The author effectively imagines the battle through the voices of the commanding generals who issue orders, junior officers who carry out the orders, and men on the ground who kill each other with bullets and bayonets. The reader can feel the hunger, misery, and chaos of the men on the ground while junior officers relay orders they don't believe in and generals bicker among themselves while trying to present vainglorious images to the reporters and politicians who follow the armies around the south. Shaara's series is a sharp reminder that war as portrayed in media is vastly different war's reality.

Aug 25, 2014

This is the third book in a four book series focused on the American Civil War in the Western theatre. Jeff Shaara combines history with the craft of the novelist in this dramatic narrative of the battle of Chattanooga. Shaara examines the point of view of the enlisted man throughout the book, getting the fury of battle right from the midst of it. He also looks at a number of the commanders, taking on their point of view. Grant, Sherman, Thomas, Bragg, Longstreet, Forrest, and other generals come across quite clearly in his writing. The biggest surprise is Patrick Cleburne, a Confederate general who's often overlooked. Cleburne's voice is very strongly written by Shaara, who makes him come alive.

fergusonfan Jul 16, 2014

This is the third of four books Shaara is writing to coincide with the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. This book takes place in the Western theater of the war, an area that has been overlooked until recently. I could not put the book down once I started it!!

kdka Jul 03, 2014

Probably the best and most interesting book of a part of the civil war that I have ever read. A wonderful, interspersing of fiction within the actual events from the minds of civil war participants -- definitely felt like I didn't want to put it down and never wanted it to end. Not all fiction, actual thinking of the generals (based on diaries, notes, battle plans, etc.). Not a documentary by any means. A great job of authoring!


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