Devil's Own Day: Shiloh and the American Civil War, The
Author: John D. Beatty
Publisher: Booklocker.com, Inc. (2010)
Binding: Paperback, 400 pages
The Devil's Own Day is a story of three armies-two Union and one Confederate-that fought for two days near an obscure flatboat landing in southeastern Tennessee that lay just two miles from a Methodist meeting house called Shiloh. The battle would determine the course of the Civil War in the Mississippi Valley, the fate of two generals, Ulysses S. Grant and Albert S. Johnston, and the course of American history.
Winter 2011 Reading List
The “Devils Own Day” is an accounting of the three days in US History that came to be known as the Battle of Shiloh. The research that went into this book was monumental and it yields an intensely detailed accounting of the forces in play during those three days of pain, ineptness and suffering.
The book stresses the fact that the two opposing armies were green, many in each side having never fired a shot in anger before. The author identifies the pitfalls of allowing two such untested armies to meet as well as the bravery and sacrifices made on both sides.
The Devils Own Day is a book that is geared for the seasoned military history reader. In reading through many of the accountings in the book, I was thrust backwards to my days after the Vietnam War when my friend and I took up Civil War Reenacting.
I remember the smell of the cannons and the black powder that shot out of my 1863 Springfield Repro Rifle musket. The author interjects moments of reality into different areas of the book and to give the reader a real sense of what it was like to be there.
This book stands out among the many military accountings of the Battle of Shiloh by its depth of research and its attempt to bring the feelings of a battle into the reader’s living room.
Reviewed by: Jack Manick (October 2011)