"This fine book reminded me of Jeff Shaara’s Civil War classic The Killer Angels. The approach is similar; you get to peer into the minds and hearts of great generals whose names will be writ large in history as well common soldiers who likely will never even merit a footnote. You see the final campaign of the Civil War in the East from Grant and Lee’s perspectives, among others, as well as that of a young sergeant, Wyman White, and his friend Corporal Joe Thompson. You view the war both from the top down as well as the ground up. You come to understand both the grand strategy as well as the minutiae of small unit tactics.
Stempel’s approach may be similar to Shaara’s, but he is a much better wordsmith than Shaara. His prose has the evocative power of Bruce Catton and Shelby Foote. His battle descriptions are brutal, gritty, and compelling. You almost feel compelled to duck as you read. You can hear the boom of cannons, smell the gun smoke, and feel the ground vibrating from feet of thousands of soldiers. The description of the Battle of Cold Harbor is particularly brilliant and horrifically accurate.
This book is not for the faint of heart but is highly recommended for those who seek to truly experience the grim reality that was the American Civil War."