Ralph Peters: New Civil War Novel No 'Candy-Coated' Tale

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CheathamHill

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Yes! Just came out a week ago: The D*mned of Petersburg. Covers the Richmond-Petersburg theater from July 28 to October 31, 1864.

Peters says there will be one more after this one. I'm assuming it will be about the breakout and run to Appomattox.
Then maybe he can set his sites on the western theater? just kidddding... no one does that...sigh :unsure:
 

jay gale

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Yes! Just came out a week ago: The D*mned of Petersburg. Covers the Richmond-Petersburg theater from July 28 to October 31, 1864.

Peters says there will be one more after this one. I'm assuming it will be about the breakout and run to Appomattox.
Oh outstanding, I'm just about to run out of reading material....finishing up Master and Commander.
 

jay gale

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Then maybe he can set his sites on the western theater? just kidddding... no one does that...sigh :unsure:
A couple of years ago, I was doing a 3D modeling and rendering project of a City class gunboat. Did a lot of research about the river war and the boats that fought there and became fascinated with the subject. I'm finishing up Master and Commander right now, about life on a Royal Navy sloop during the Napoleonic wars. How cool would it be to have a novel about life on a gunboat during the Mississippi river campaign?
 
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KansasFreestater

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How cool would it be to have a novel about life on a gunboat during the Mississippi river campaign?
It would be great! Unfortunately, I don't think Ralph Peters is going to be the one to write it. He says there's only one more novel in his series, and so far, they've all been about the Army of the Potomac. So unless he starts working on a new series.....
 

civilken

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They sound like good books are they available in audio thank you.
 
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theoldman

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I read the Petersburg book over the past week end. Quite good in the details of the conditions both armies endured. The characters ranged from the two commanding generals down to privates in both armies. Peters made a point to cover some of the "lesser known" battles such as Globe Tavern and Trevilian Station. His metaphors and similes are quite colorful. Something about the book did not "grab" me as others have done. I would still recommend it and give it 4 thumbs out of a possible 5. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

KansasFreestater

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I read the Petersburg book over the past week end. Quite good in the details of the conditions both armies endured. The characters ranged from the two commanding generals down to privates in both armies. Peters made a point to cover some of the "lesser known" battles such as Globe Tavern and Trevilian Station. His metaphors and similes are quite colorful. Something about the book did not "grab" me as others have done. I would still recommend it and give it 4 thumbs out of a possible 5. :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
The one that "grabbed me" the most is still Cain at Gettysburg -- perhaps only because it was the first one I read, but I think because in that book: (1) Peters showed war is a playground for that percentage of the population that is psychopathic and "gets off on" killing people; and, (2) Peters showed vividly and horrifyingly the impossible moral quandaries every soldier finds himself in when in battle -- and that every human finds himself/herself in, in life in general. (The "Cain" in all of us.) Very unsettling.
 
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jay gale

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The one that "grabbed me" the most is still Cain at Gettysburg -- perhaps only because it was the first one I read, but I think because in that book: (1) Peters showed war is a playground for that percentage of the population that is psychopathic and "gets off on" killing people; and, (2) Peters showed vividly and horrifyingly the impossible moral quandaries every soldier finds himself in when in battle -- and that every human finds himself/herself in, in life in general. (The "Cain" in all of us.) Very unsettling.
I loved that book. The title confused me until it was explained about 3/4 of the way through and it made brilliant complete sense.......and the character studies were great too.
 

theoldman

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The one that "grabbed me" the most is still Cain at Gettysburg -- perhaps only because it was the first one I read, but I think because in that book: (1) Peters showed war is a playground for that percentage of the population that is psychopathic and "gets off on" killing people; and, (2) Peters showed vividly and horrifyingly the impossible moral quandaries every soldier finds himself in when in battle -- and that every human finds himself/herself in, in life in general. (The "Cain" in all of us.) Very unsettling.
He does like the Cain and Able theme and has certainly got a lot of mileage from it. Kinda make sense too.:wink:
 

John Johanna

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I doubt Grant even had a body servant at all. Oh well, artistic license, I suppose.
Grant's servant Bill is a historical character, as you can see in this contemporary account: http://www.granthomepage.com/intstrong.htm

Anyway, just finished Valley of the Shadow and can't wait to start in on The ****ed of Petersburg. Funny to think that I picked up Hell or Richmond a few months ago as an airport read, only to have Peters become one of my favorite historical novelists.
 
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KansasFreestater

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Grant's servant Bill is a historical character, as you can see in this contemporary account: http://www.granthomepage.com/intstrong.htm

Anyway, just finished Valley of the Shadow and can't wait to start in on The ****ed of Petersburg. Funny to think that I picked up Hell or Richmond a few months ago as an airport read, only to have Peters become one of my favorite historical novelists.
Oh, by all means, William Jones was a real person -- he was the slave whom Grant freed several years before the war, in Missouri. But the idea that William followed Grant to the war is fiction, so far as I know.

As for your getting hooked on Ralph Peters.... welcome to the fan club!! I'll be eager to hear what you think of his series written under his pen name of Owen Parry -- the six-book series that starts with Faded Coat of Blue.
 

sflickinger

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Oh, by all means, William Jones was a real person -- he was the slave whom Grant freed several years before the war, in Missouri. But the idea that William followed Grant to the war is fiction, so far as I know.

As for your getting hooked on Ralph Peters.... welcome to the fan club!! I'll be eager to hear what you think of his series written under his pen name of Owen Parry -- the six-book series that starts with Faded Coat of Blue.
I think William as a character symbolic of Grant's thoughts and the turmoil in his thinking. It's much more effective than one of the thinking out loud things. Quite clever. Again, thanks for your post on these novels. I'm reading "Valley" now with "Petersburg" on deck.
 

rickvox79

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I'm about half way through "Cain at Gettysburg" and have been enjoying it. I really enjoy the descriptions of battle and stories from the common soldier's point of view. I can't say I've been a huge fan of the more well known figures he tries to portray so far. Part of that could be because I really find myself debating "Would he really have said that or acted that way?" too often. But that's probably my own fault wanting to nitpick a little too much.

I started diving deeper into the Civil War around 2010 but before that my only Civil War reading in depth had been the Shaara's books, starting with Killer Angel and then Jeff's books. The last 6 years it's been all battle or campaign books and no historical fiction really. It's funny but as I started reading "Cain" I found myself wanting to go back to standard campaign or battle books that I read almost daily. But it started to get more interesting as it went along. He definitely paints a vivid picture of battle, that's for sure. As someone else mentioned, hopefully he'll do a series on the Western Theater.
 
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luinrina

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I finished Cain at Gettysburg a while ago and am about done with H e ll or Richmond. Both, but especially H e ll or Richmond, have been a rollercoaster ride of emotions: One scene I'm laughing out loud at the dialogue (and almost cry from laughing so hard too), and the next my heart is pounding anxiously to see whether the characters that have become so dear to me over the course of the book will survive the next battle action, fear and hope for these men almost choking me. And as gruesome as his detailed descriptions of the battlefield casualties are, it drives it all the more home how truly horrible a war really is and what the soldiers went through. I absolutely LOVE these two books and am looking forward to reading the other three of the Battle Hymn Cycle as well as Darkness at Chancellorsville. I really hope he'll write more such novels. I very much enjoyed Gods and Generals, Killer Angels and Last Full Measure, but IMO, Peters surpasses the Shaaras. He has already become one of my favorite authors and I cannot thank whoever recommended him to me enough.

My only complaint is that I don't think he got Grant quite right.
I have to agree with you on that. I enjoyed that first meeting scene between Grant and Meade - but it didn't feel like Grant. I had trouble with several other Grant scenes too - it just never really felt right. Did Peters succeed better with Grant in The D*mned of Petersburg and Judgment at Appomattox?

Peters showed vividly and horrifyingly the impossible moral quandaries every soldier finds himself in when in battle -- and that every human finds himself/herself in, in life in general. (The "Cain" in all of us.) Very unsettling.
It's these quandaries that make the characters really come to life for me. As horrific as some of their ethics sometimes are - and some of them go against my own ethnical understanding - they nonetheless enabled me to feel sympathy with these men, and that really takes some doing.
 

Andy Cardinal

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I finished Cain at Gettysburg a while ago and am about done with H e ll or Richmond. Both, but especially H e ll or Richmond, have been a rollercoaster ride of emotions: One scene I'm laughing out loud at the dialogue (and almost cry from laughing so hard too), and the next my heart is pounding anxiously to see whether the characters that have become so dear to me over the course of the book will survive the next battle action, fear and hope for these men almost choking me. And as gruesome as his detailed descriptions of the battlefield casualties are, it drives it all the more home how truly horrible a war really is and what the soldiers went through. I absolutely LOVE these two books and am looking forward to reading the other three of the Battle Hymn Cycle as well as Darkness at Chancellorsville. I really hope he'll write more such novels. I very much enjoyed Gods and Generals, Killer Angels and Last Full Measure, but IMO, Peters surpasses the Shaaras. He has already become one of my favorite authors and I cannot thank whoever recommended him to me enough.


I have to agree with you on that. I enjoyed that first meeting scene between Grant and Meade - but it didn't feel like Grant. I had trouble with several other Grant scenes too - it just never really felt right. Did Peters succeed better with Grant in The D*mned of Petersburg and Judgment at Appomattox?


It's these quandaries that make the characters really come to life for me. As horrific as some of their ethics sometimes are - and some of them go against my own ethnical understanding - they nonetheless enabled me to feel sympathy with these men, and that really takes some doing.
I've read the series and the new Chancellorsville book. Enjoyed them all, and learned something I didn't know from each as well. His level of research is pretty amazing for a novel.
 
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