Joshua L. Chamberlain by Thomas Desjardin

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The eminent Civil War scholar James M. McPherson has provided a thoughtful foreword...
-WSJ online


Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain has been a central character in two feature films (Gettysburg and Gods & Generals), a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (The Killer Angels), and an inspiration for Ken Burns's production of the highly acclaimed PBS series The Civil War. Chamberlain won national fame at the Battle of Gettysburg for his key role in fending off the Confederates at Little Round Top on day two of the battle.

This new volume brings to public light 300 never-before-seen letters from Chamberlain's personal correspondence, which comprises letters sent by or to Chamberlain from his college years in 1852 to his death in 1914. The first 100 letters shed light on Chamberlain's formative years and his courtship with Fannie Adams, which has been the source of much speculation by scholars. The final 200 letters reveal insights into Chamberlain the Union commander and the aftermath of the war.

Chamberlain's image can be found on everything from historical art to sculpture, from t-shirts to clocks, from bobble-head dolls to snow globes. Despite all this attention, there is still a lot about Chamberlain that most people do not know. His life is a remarkable story of perseverance, tragedy, and triumph. From an insecure young man with a considerable stuttering problem who grew up in a small town in eastern Maine, Joshua Chamberlain rose to become a major general, recipient of the Medal of Honor, Governor of Maine, and President of Bowdoin College. His writings are among the most oft-quoted of all Civil War memoirs, and he has become a legendary, even mythical historical figure.

Historian and acclaimed author, Thomas Desjardin, puts Chamberlain's words in contemporary and historical context and uses this extraordinary collection of letters to reveal--for the first time--the full and remarkable life of Joshua Chamberlain. Readers will find this unique portrait of Chamberlain to be entertaining, moving, and inspiring.


About Thomas Desjardin

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Tom Desjardin holds a Ph.D. in U.S. History and has written several books on the Civil War with an emphasis on Gettysburg. During the 1990s he served as the archivist and historian at Gettysburg National Military Park. He later taught Civil War history at Bowdoin College in Maine where Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Gettysburg hero Joshua Chamberlain was a student, professor and president. His biography of Chamberlain is due out in 2013. Experienced in both television and film, Desjardin served as the historical advisor to Jeff Daniels for his role as Chamberlain in the films Gettysburg and Gods and Generals. He and his work have been featured on the History Channel, A&E, Discovery, PBS and C-SPAN.
Published May 22, 2012 by Osprey Publishing. 336 pages
Genres: History, Biographies & Memoirs, War, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Reviewed by Michael Burlingame on Jun 22 2012

The eminent Civil War scholar James M. McPherson has provided a thoughtful foreword...

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