No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, 1864 - Richard Slotkin

on May 31, 2011, 6:03 am

My understanding of the Battle of the Crater prior to reading this book was a vague impression of misguided troops stumbling into a breach made by a mine explosion, trapped by the sheer sided walls and shot to a man by a ragged line of Confederates perched along its rim.

The battle was dramatized in Cold Mountain and my view of events certainly came from that film. The reality was incomprehensible gallantry in the face of infuriating incompetence, horror, slaughter and racist violence played out over twelve hours under a relentless Virginian sun.

This book reaches to the core of the brutal, racist world view that permeated society at that time and drove a nation to war with itself.

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