By Terry C. Pierce.
Between plans and their execution rage the winds of war. The winds of chance. The winds of choice. The winds of political ambition and human error—and human schemes.
The winds of war grow dark around General George Meade, appointed to command the Army of the Potomac just three days before a brewing battle against Robert E. Lee, charismatic leader of the Confederate forces. No one—not even the outgoing commander—seems to know where Lee’s army is, except that they are somewhere on Northern soil, possibly pushing toward a decisive battle deep in the heart of the Union.
Bound by duty to take a position he did not seek and does not want, Meade reluctantly accepts Lincoln’s appointment, and overnight, the fate of nearly 100,000 Union soldiers is in his hands.
Meade is a planner—a quiet, capable engineer whose commitment to modesty and restraint is second only to his commitment to honor, duty, and country. While the winds of war swirl around him, he struggles to concoct a battle plan without even the most basic information, in order to defeat an enemy he cannot find, on ground he has not yet seen. Thwarted by insufficient military intelligence, and betrayed by the machinations of an unscrupulous general with dreams of glory, Meade knows it will take all his skill and the heroism of his troops to best the formidable and hitherto undefeated Lee. The fate of the Republic itself hangs in the balance.
Without Warning is the gripping saga of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Union patriots who fought it, and the man who led them. It scrutinizes the role character plays in leadership and the challenge of the unexpected. Built firmly upon the annals of history, this epic historical novel brings to vivid life seven unforgettable days in the lives and trials of a Union general and his men as they brave the winds of war to save the United States of America.
The beautiful cover art is based on Expecting a Battle by Dale Gallon.
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This is one of a few civil war texts that looks at the battle from General George Meade's side of the battle. He was appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac just 3 days before the fateful collision of the Union and Rebel armies. The author gives a minute by minute account of George Meade, his officers and enlisted men in the battle of Gettysburg. He describes Meade’s interactions, thoughts and leadership as the battle develops. I Highly recommend this author's account of General Meade and the battle of Gettysburg to understand the the workings of the Union Army and its leadership in winning at Gettysburg, which changed the dynamics of the civil war. Well done.
Terry Pierce has written a captivating, powerful, factual novel of the Union Forces at Gettysburg. General Meade embarks on a journey of self-discovery with challenging, inspirational results that changed an entire country. The cast of characters are real, complex and controversial. I didn’t know what to expect from a historical Civil War novel-but found myself thoroughly engrossed in the heart wrenching and heart warming tale. The author has complete control of his story and his style. It is a book well worth your read...
Without Warning is without equal! Terry Pierce’s Gettysburg drama is a literary marvel, consumable for the causal reader and avid Civil War historian alike. Pierce’s work is meticulously researched and compellingly written, simultaneously satisfying the history buff’s scrupulous eye for accuracy while maintaining the casual reader’s interest. In the vast library of Civil War contributions, Without Warning is the needed the complement to Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Killer Angels and immerses the reader in “the other side” of the story. Without Warning is superb and has all the markings of another Pulitzer Prize Civil War novel!
A historical novel focuses on the Battle of Gettysburg from the perspective of the North.
Pierce begins this detailed work on June 27, 1863. It is the middle of the Civil War, and President Abraham Lincoln and his team in the White House want a change. The Rebels have invaded Pennsylvania. A wrong decision could very well lead to an attack on the nation’s capital. A messenger is dispatched to the front lines to tell Gen. George Meade that he is the new head of the Army of the Potomac. Meade is a West Point graduate and career soldier, though he has some doubts that he is the right one to command so many men. He lacks the charisma of more well-liked generals and is known for his hot temper. But orders are orders. Meade is soon at the helm of what will be remembered as the bloodiest engagement of the Civil War. The narrative follows Meade and a few other characters on the Union side as they fight the enemy, the oppressive summer heat, and problems in their own ranks. Perhaps the biggest thorn in Meade’s side is Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles. Although Sickles thinks quite highly of himself, Meade has quite the opposite opinion. Sickles, who has political connections and was once acquitted of killing his wife’s lover, presents a major problem on the battlefield when he decides to place his troops in a foolhardy position. Yet even when Sickles must exit the battle with a wounded leg, there are still lots of pounding artillery, infantry charges, and Rebel yells to fill the once-tranquil Pennsylvania landscape.
The book deftly outlines the enormous task that lay before Meade. From the difficulties of simply communicating to his troops to men like Sickles who might decide to do what they wanted regardless of orders, leading the Union forces in a major engagement is certainly no cakewalk. Not to mention that Meade takes command mere days before the epic battle. And those are just the logistical problems. The tale effectively depicts how even a general like Meade has plenty to fear from enemy fire, as when a shell bursts near a group of officers, “raining down steel fragments.” But not all of the details are quite as informative. Meade and others, as one could imagine, have a penchant for coffee. Yet readers need not care how a private “poured a steaming cup” and how “Meade’s cook walked onto the porch and handed Meade a cup of coffee.” Such moments lengthen an already sprawling novel without supplying much substance. Meanwhile, opportunities for providing more depth are missed. For example, much is made of the many participants in the war who are West Point graduates. But what might West Point have been like in the 1800s? Why do some leave the school with a sense of duty while others see fit to break their “solemn oath to protect and honor the Republic”? Nevertheless, the novel delivers an astute angle from which to consider the crucial events of those deadly days in July. In the end, Meade, a figure often overshadowed by other heroes, has a lot to tell readers.
This tale skillfully shows the complexities and bloodshed of three famous days in American history.
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