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Hymns of the Republic

The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War
Narrated by: Robert Petkoff
Length: 14 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: History, Military

Non-member price: $39.00

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling, celebrated, and award-winning author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell comes the spellbinding, epic account of the dramatic conclusion of the Civil War.

The fourth and final year of the Civil War offers one of that era’s most compelling narratives, defining the nation and one of history’s great turning points. Now, S.C. Gwynne’s Hymns of the Republic addresses the time Ulysses S. Grant arrives to take command of all Union armies in March 1864 to the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox a year later. He breathes new life into the epic battle between Lee and Grant; the advent of 180,000 black soldiers in the Union army; William Tecumseh Sherman’s March to the Sea; the rise of Clara Barton; the election of 1864 (which Lincoln nearly lost); the wild and violent guerrilla war in Missouri; and the dramatic final events of the war, including the surrender at Appomattox and the murder of Abraham Lincoln. 

Hymns of the Republic offers angles and insights on the war that will surprise many listeners. Robert E. Lee, known as a great general and southern hero, is presented here as a man dealing with frustration, failure, and loss. Ulysses S. Grant is known for his prowess as a field commander, but in the final year of the war he largely fails at that. His most amazing accomplishments actually began the moment he stopped fighting. William Tecumseh Sherman, Gwynne argues, was a lousy general, but probably the single most brilliant man in the war. We also meet a different Clara Barton, one of the greatest and most compelling characters, who redefined the idea of medical care in wartime. And proper attention is paid to the role played by large numbers of black union soldiers - most of them former slaves. They changed the war and forced the South to come up with a plan to use its own black soldiers. 

Popular history at its best, with Hymns of the Republic Gwynne reveals the creation that arose from the destruction in this thrilling listen.

©2019 S. C. Gwynne (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

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  • Daryl
  • 14-01-2020

Fascinating Story of the End of the Civil War

This is the third book by this author that I have read. He never disappoints. As with the other two books I have read, this book establishes the context of the last year of the war. I would say that there are three main characters: Lincoln, Grant, and Lee. There are secondary characters as well that do not go ignored. The book reads like a novel and that keeps it entertaining. The narrator does a very nice job that keeps the book interesting. I learned a great deal from reading the book. The Civil War was a special kind of hell for our country. That comes across in the book. The author does not avoid the complex issues of race and slavery. He points out that the oversimplifications of the causes of the war (states’ rights or slavery) need to be looked at in the light of many other factors. I can recommend this book to any person who wants to know how the last year of the Civil War put our country in a horrendous environment that we still feel.

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  • Jonathon Deviney
  • 30-12-2019

Great Read, I wish Author would have read

A big fan of authors reading their own books. Great story and like the secondary stories Gwynne offers, especially Barton’s.

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  • Brian
  • 22-01-2020

Great synopsis, but of course missing details

The book is a great review of the last year of the war, especially to a person not familiar with the conflict.

The Author completely forgets the last surrender of confederate forces which was done by Native American Stand Watie. It also ignored the surrender of the CSS Shenandoah.

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  • Surf_bike_jeep
  • 10-01-2020

Wow!!!

I’m just absolutely blown away by this book! Tears have now filled my eyes and I am left simply astounded by Mr. Gwynn’s writing. I cannot recommend this book enough! The passages featuring Clara Barton are nothing short of extraordinary. Bravo, bravo, bravo!

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  • Haley
  • 09-01-2020

Amazing!

One of the most thoroughly researched novels I’ve ever read. The nuance of historical events allows you to understand events and figures of history as human beings and thus the imperfect outcomes and decisions of those events are well understood. Few books have presented a better, well rounded and true depiction of what life was like during these years.

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  • Paul Tedder
  • 02-01-2020

One of the best books I've ever read!

I have always been a Civil War buff, not hardcore, but with a very definite interest. This book was perfect. From the opening scene in the White House to the closing scene the story is so well told and laid out that I could not stop listening. It took a modern sensibility and applied it to the times and handled things in a very fair manner. Must read for any Civil War fan.

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  • Roger
  • 08-11-2019

Too Much Social Justice

I was disappointed in this book. There was much material to be covered, but the author felt obligated to present the usual social opinions of modern scholars: nonwhites good, women good, white men arrogant, stupid and evil, especially Union white men. The first 5 hours of the book are basically a musical consisting of endless hymns to Social Justice linked by a “book” of actual history. After that, he begins to focus more on history, but cannot help returning to his bottle of Social Justice for another swig before going on with his story. There are about 5 hours of useful material here, and I did find that interesting and educational. Overall, I think the slog through the chaff was worth the wheat I discovered.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 20-11-2019

Lost Cause Non-Sense

The author has nothing but praise forRobert E. Lee and the confederate generals while he has nothing but disdain for the Northern generals. He repeats the same old lies about Grant’s drinking. The author even states that Sherman was not a good general. It makes one wonder then how he cut right through the heart of the confederacy. In fact, the author makes you wonder how the North even won the war. This book is not history. It’s pure revisionist bulls**t. Don’t waste your credit. I will say the narrator did a good job.

7 people found this helpful