By James I. Robertson, Jr. MacMillan USA, Simon & Schuster Macmillan, New York, 1997. Hardcover with dust jacket, 950 pages, index, illustrations and maps. Very fine.
The passage of 130 years has only deepened the fascination and reverence for Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson. He ranks today as among the half dozen greatest soldiers that America has produced. Military academies in both hemispheres still teach his tactics. Revered by his men, respected by his foes, Jackson became seemingly invincible. When he learned of the general's fatal wound, General Robert E. Lee sent his "affectionate regards," saying, "He has lost his left arm but I my right arm." Jackson's early death in 1863 was the greatest personal loss suffered by the Confederacy and one that permanently crippled the wartime South.
Always lost in the aura surrounding this field commander has been the individual himself. As renowned Civil War scholar James Robertson notes in the preface to Stonewall Jackson, this study "is not a biography of a great general; it is the life of an extraordinary man who became a great general....The intent here is to see life as Jackson saw it, to hear his words, to read his thoughts, to walk beside him, and know little more than he knew at a given time and place."
This eagerly awaited biography is based on years of research into little known manuscripts, unpublished letters, newspapers, and other primary sources. It offers for the first time a complete portrait, not only of Jackson the brilliant military strategist and beloved general, but also of Jackson, the man of orphaned background, unyielding determination to conquer adversity, and deep religious convictions.
Robertson's masterwork, Stonewall Jackson, will be viewed as the definitive biography of the general to be published in this century.
"Myths are exploded, anecdotes crumbled. What remains as fact is highly distilled....gives us far and away the sharpest picture we have ever had of this enigmatic figure." Stephen W. Sears
"A master has given us his best; to our enormous profit....A long-awaited major event in Civil War literature....Robertosn puts to rest many of the long held legends and myths that have grown up around the human puzzle that was Stonewall Jackson." John C. Waugh
"Will stand alone for the next forty years and perhaps into eternity....A masterpiece for the ages." Dennis E. Frye
"Truly a stunning achievement. Surely there will be more biographies of this compelling figure, but all lives of Jackson, whether past or future, must henceforth be judged inevitably by measuring them against this one." William C. Davis