It's difficult to believe that one of this country's true military geniuses was once derided by his own men as "Granny" - partly due to his insistence on discipline and preparation (most Confederate soldiers were volunteers who believed that fighting spirit was enough to ensure a victory). By the time of the Appomattox Court House, however, he was both beloved by his men and admired by friend and foe alike. This book examines his increasingly effective leadership on the field, his interactions with his subordinate commanders and how those successes led to the overconfidence that resulted in his defeat at Gettysburg. (The book concludes with an overview of his generalship through the end of the war). An engrossing assessment of one of America's true military greats.
June 2009Napoleon Childs, a veteran soldier, is on the hunt for Pancho Villa in the rough terrain of northern Mexico. Accompanying him is a group of young soldiers who have not yet seen the brutality of war. After a terrible encounter with a band of renegade soldiers in search of vengeance, Napoleon, beaten and shot, is left stranded to try to survive on his own. Olmstead is incredibly adept at describing the horrors of battle contrasted with the beauty of reflection and hope, and he is at his best in Far Bright Star. -- Sherri Gallentine, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
Set in 1916, "Far Bright Star" follows Napoleon Childs, an aging cavalryman, as he leads an expedition of inexperienced soldiers into the mountains of Mexico to hunt down Pancho Villa and bring him to justice.