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Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: S. C. Gwynne

Narrated By: Cotter Smith

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: September 2014

Duration: 25 hours 2 minutes


General Stonewall Jackson was like nothing anyone had ever seen. Secretive and self-contained, he often withheld his plans from his own Confederate officers. He could be maddeningly abrupt and dismissive, even with other generals. He had famous running fights with a number of them. He court-martialed officers, including powerful, dominant generals, whom he believed had failed do to their duty. He court-martialed anyone who was shirking, or who retreated without being ordered to do so. He drove his men mercilessly, marching them in ways that men had never been marched before, until they were beyond the brink of exhaustion. He seemed completely insensitive to their suffering. He had nothing but contempt for stragglers. He refused furloughs even to men whose children were dying. Duty, above all, was his code.

He demanded the impossible of his men. When his exhausted troops reached the battlefield, he threw them into combat with little regard for losses, and when it was all over and he had won he gave thanks only to God, almost never to any of the men who had bled and died and risked everything. If the enemy had been slaughtered at Front Royal or Fredericksburg, its bloody evisceration was due to the “blessings of an Ever-Kind Providence.” He referred to his regiments and divisions as “the army of the living God.” He never took credit for himself and was annoyed whenever anyone gave it to him even when it came to him, as it often did, in the form of wildly cheering soldiers. In the winter of 1863, he personally launched the massive wave of Christian revivals that would sweep through the rebel army. He was loved by his men but in an oddly impersonal way. As one of his officers observed: “No one could love the man for himself. He seems to be cut off from his fellow men and to commune with his own spirit only.” He was, on the other hand, perhaps the most charismatic general in either army.

For all these reasons, Stonewall Jackson has come down to us as a great and tragic hero, second only to Robert E. Lee in the Confederate pantheon. He is now, as he was then, a figure of legend and romance. As much as any Confederate figure, even Lee, he embodies the romantic Southern notion of the virtuous lost cause. He is also considered, without much argument, one of our country’s greatest military figures, a difficult genius cited as inspiration by such later figures as George Patton and Erwin Rommel, and a man whose brilliance at the art of war transcends the Civil War itself.



    With out a doubt, the most entertaining history books I’ve ever experienced. This is the Authors masterpiece of research and history of the true “Greatest Generation" This is a must read or listen, for all people. The truth will set you free. God bless the men and women who tell the stories of providence and war. Why is liberty of a true republic is our destiny. Many answers to the age old question of what freedom is and what god intended. Thank you. Five stars all the way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • James Lutey

    Excellent book! Well researched, excellent narration, and an enjoyable audiobook. A job well done.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Don werlinger

    03/16 This was my seven biography of Stonewall Jackson and it is by far, the best. At last, I think I understand the man thanks to S.C. Gwynne's thorough research and presentation. I have long said the the Civil War would have had a very different ending has Stonewall lived another two months. Now, I am totally convinced of it. And I have a much more complete understanding of the mythical awe in which he is held. Narration of this book as well above average. It's a long listen at 25+ hours but an excellent investment of time. Four stars for both. Am looking for other S.C. Gwynne titles.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Gordon Moore

    Cotter Smith reading Rebel Yell....appropriate. Best reader, best general. Well done Sir.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Renato Leonelli

    This book is great. It is a great listen. The narrator is very good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Glenn Michelman

    Simply amazing! Jackson is one of the greatest American war hero's of all time. what if he was alive for gettysburg!?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • michael aguilar

    amazing book couldn't stop listening to it, narrator is good to

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Daniel V.

    I knew little about Stonewall Jackson before reading this book but enjoy Civil War history. This book made the battles that I had heard so much very understandable, the characters human and accessible. Excellent research and presentation. The ironic takeaway was that had he not died, the war would have been protracted to the point of compromise between north and south with possibly more dire results than the reality that we still live. Great history made clear. Great narration. Well done.

  • Steven L.

    At the conclusion of REBEL YELL I had the sense that I knew General Jackson. He came alive in this Audiobook complete with his personality, eccentricities and genius. I didn’t want it to end.