Book Review Nathan Bedford Forrest's Redemption by Shane Kastler

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Rusk County Avengers

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
1580137518455.png

Nathan Bedford Forrest's Redemption
by Shane E. Kastler
Published by Pelican Publishing
176 pages
ISBN- 1589808347

This won't be a long review, but then again this wasn't a long book. As the title suggests this book focuses on Forrest's redemption, or rather his journey to Christ, which should be no surprise as the author is a preacher. The book gives a biography of Forrest from his childhood, through his early to the war, before giving a big focus in the last chapters on his journey to Christ. Throughout its sprinkled with Biblical comparisons and quotes, but also I feel misses the mark in some of these comparisons, (the author describes Bedford's marriage to his loving wife as a disaster from a Biblical standpoint, something I feel a little too strict and not accounting for human nature).

I can not call this book a great biography. If someone knows absolutely nothing about Forrest you will learn a lot, but if you already read a lot of him, you will come away disappointed. But this author doesn't seem to pretend his book is the big bio of the General, he seeks to show Christians that even what some would call the worst of humanity can find redemption through Christ, and in that mission I feel he hit the ball out of the park. For that reason I think this book should be highly recommended reading amongst Church congregations on the subject.

For the CW history student, I'd say read this book only if you've not read any Forrest biography.

Al in all I'd say its a different, if needed take on Forrest, even if I feel the author's characterizations of Forrest before he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior is a bit off. But the book's assertions of Forrest at the end of his time on Earth should be kept in mind with his third, (and God willing final) funeral coming up.
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
I agree that the author was rather harsh on Forrest and Mary Ann's marriage. He portrayed her as a saint and Forrest as the devil. Actually, Forrest knew he needed a firmly Christian woman as his life partner because he was prone to wander without that! Pretty much what he told her uncle when he pointed out Forrest cussed and gambled and Mary Ann was a Christian. "I know it. That is why I want her!" And...she wasn't just standing there waiting for a man to come along. She had her eye on him from the first time she saw him - she knew he was the one for her despite his rough edges.

Good evaluation of the book. I would recommend it only as a side piece for those already well acquainted with Forrest, certainly not as an introduction to him.
 

Rusk County Avengers

Sergeant Major
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Location
Coffeeville, TX
I agree that the author was rather harsh on Forrest and Mary Ann's marriage. He portrayed her as a saint and Forrest as the devil. Actually, Forrest knew he needed a firmly Christian woman as his life partner because he was prone to wander without that! Pretty much what he told her uncle when he pointed out Forrest cussed and gambled and Mary Ann was a Christian. "I know it. That is why I want her!" And...she wasn't just standing there waiting for a man to come along. She had her eye on him from the first time she saw him - she knew he was the one for her despite his rough edges.

Good evaluation of the book. I would recommend it only as a side piece for those already well acquainted with Forrest, certainly not as an introduction to him.
I reckon opposite's attract.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Joshism

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
When did NBF supposedly find Jesus?

Pretty much what he told her uncle when he pointed out Forrest cussed and gambled and Mary Ann was a Christian. "I know it. That is why I want her!" And...she wasn't just standing there waiting for a man to come along. She had her eye on him from the first time she saw him - she knew he was the one for her despite his rough edges.
An interesting spin on the old unhealthy mentality of "But I can change him!" Not often the man claims he does indeed want to be changed by the woman with that mentality.
 

Andersonh1

Major
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
Sounds like a good book, and one I'd enjoy reading. Thanks for the review.

When did NBF supposedly find Jesus?
The story I've been told is that he was in church with his wife, and after the pastor's sermon describing a sinner, Forrest supposedly told him "I am that man." If I remember right, he only lived a few more years, so it was very close to the end of his life. God can get hold of even an old reprobate like Forrest. :D
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
Sounds like a good book, and one I'd enjoy reading. Thanks for the review.



The story I've been told is that he was in church with his wife, and after the pastor's sermon describing a sinner, Forrest supposedly told him "I am that man." If I remember right, he only lived a few more years, so it was very close to the end of his life. God can get hold of even an old reprobate like Forrest. :D
Forrest had a journey to religion, especially when he met some of the fiercest and most profane men he'd known in the war and they were preachers! He'd always thought his life indicated he was a bit of a lost cause - he even told his son to follow his mother and not him as he had been wicked. But the wife got him into church one Sunday and it was the right sermon at the right time. Rev Stainback preached about the parable Jesus told of the wise man who built his house on rock, and the foolish man who built his house on sand. When the storm came, the wise man's house stood and the foolish man's house fell. Forrest had a road to Damascus experience and darn near fell off his pew. The war was the storm and slavery was the sand he'd built his house on - his family's living and future - and his house fell because of it. So, he went forward to the preacher and said, "I am that foolish man." He was so pale and shook that the reverend was genuinely alarmed! Pretty solid conversion, I would think.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
When did NBF supposedly find Jesus?



An interesting spin on the old unhealthy mentality of "But I can change him!" Not often the man claims he does indeed want to be changed by the woman with that mentality.
:laugh: You know, these days we're so used to seeing that kind of thing! But here neither wanted to change the other - they saw strengths in the other that they needed and together they really would be one. Worked very well for both of them! It wasn't an attraction for 'bad boys' either with Mary Ann - the shoot-out in the plaza was only a couple months past but he was elected constable anyway. Here was a man who would literally risk his neck to do the right thing. The only thing they ever fussed about was his gambling. Forrest liked high stakes gambling, no Bingo cards for him! Some of the sums he bet would definitely make you clutch your pearls, even if you knew he could afford it and you'd go without nothing.
 

Cavalry Charger

Captain
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
I'm so glad you started this thread @Rusk County Avengers and provided this review. Seems this aspect of Forrest's life is often overlooked because of the life he led before. There is no small comparison between him and St. Paul in the bible. 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' It's like a blinding light (Saul was literally blinded) overwhelms a person as a means of bringing them to their senses. I do believe Forrest had that experience, and benefited from it. His wife must have been praying long and hard for that moment to arrive. But, she never gave up. And maybe that's what he saw in her.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top