Read Glorious War: The Civil War Adventures of George Armstrong Custer by Thom Hatch Online


Glorious War, the thrilling and definitive biography of George Armstrong Custer's Civil War years, is nothing short of a heart-pounding cavalry charge through the battlefield heroics that thrust the gallant young officer into the national spotlight in the midst of the country's darkest hours. From West Point to the daring military actions that propelled him to the rank ofGlorious War, the thrilling and definitive biography of George Armstrong Custer's Civil War years, is nothing short of a heart-pounding cavalry charge through the battlefield heroics that thrust the gallant young officer into the national spotlight in the midst of the country's darkest hours. From West Point to the daring military actions that propelled him to the rank of general at age twenty-three to his unlikely romance with Libbie Bacon, Custer's exploits are the stuff of legend.Always leading his men from the front with a personal courage seldom seen before or since, he was a key part of nearly every major engagement in the east. Not only did Custer capture the first battle flag taken by the Union Army and receive the white flag of surrender at Appomattox, but his field generalship at Gettysburg against Confederate cavalry General Jeb Stuart had historic implications in changing the course of that pivotal battle.For decades, historians have looked at Custer strictly through the lens of his death on the frontier, his last stand, casting him as a failure. While some may say that the events that took place at the Little Big Horn are illustrative of America's bloody westward expansion, they have in the process unjustly eclipsed Custer's otherwise extraordinarily life and outstanding career and fall far short of encompassing his incredible service to his country. This biography of thundering cannons, pounding hooves, and stunning successes tells the true story of the origins of one of history's most dynamic and misunderstood figures. Award-winning historian Thom Hatch reexamines Custer's early career to rebalance the scales and show why Custer's epic fall could never have happened without the spectacular rise that made him an American legend....

Title : Glorious War: The Civil War Adventures of George Armstrong Custer
Author :
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ISBN : 9781250028501
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Glorious War: The Civil War Adventures of George Armstrong Custer Reviews

  • Matt
    2018-11-30 16:56

    It is George Armstrong Custer’s curious fate to have gained immortality from the manner of death alone. When he died on June 25, 1876, he was just one of a thousand fading stars from the American Civil War. His reputation as an “Indian fighter” was more a work of imagination than reality. He only had one major fight with the Indians before losing disastrously at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, and that was the controversial dawn attack of Black Kettle’s village of peaceful Cheyenne camped along the Washita River in present-day Oklahoma. Custer was destined to be forgotten by all but serious Civil War buffs. And then he led 5 companies of his regiment to their doom, and now his name is unforgettable. He is the subject of countless books, movies, miniseries, and a Far Side cartoon. The lesson, I suppose, is that if you are going to fail, fail spectacularly. Thom Hatch wants us to remember a different George Custer. A less dead, more successful version of the same man. He wants us to remember the Boy General with the golden ringlets, who lead daring cavalry charges and wooed the prettiest girl in Monroe, Michigan, back when being the prettiest girl in Monroe, Michigan meant something. Glorious War focuses on the Civil War exploits of Custer, and never gets anywhere near the hot, dusty Montana hillside where he died along with two of his brothers, a nephew, and a brother-in-law. Hatch’s book is entertaining, and an obvious must for Custerphiles (there are many, surprisingly) and Civil War buffs (for whom the exploits of a flamboyant divisional commander might be of interest). For the rest of you, including my wife, my oldest daughter (no, this is definitely not like Frozen), my friends, my wife’s friends, my extended family…well, this book will probably be of little interest. But read on, anyway! (This review, I mean. Not this book). Hatch (who has written a number of books about Custer) begins the book with a brief look at Custer’s early history, including his inglorious stint at the United States Military Academy. He doesn’t waste a lot of time – Glorious War is just over 300 pages of text – and gets to the Battle of Bull Run before page thirty. Custer’s early career is not marked by any tactical greatness. Indeed, he spent the first part of the war without a command of any kind, serving as an aide to General George McClellan. To Custer’s credit, he made the most of his position by being exceptionally daring. He leveraged his heroic exploits, and his ability to latch onto powerful mentors (first McClellan, later General Alfred Pleasonton), into command of a regiment of Michigan cavalry: the famed Wolverines. (Yes, fans of 80’s movies, Custer was screaming “Let’s go, you Wolverines!” long before Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell took on the Russian Army in Red Dawn). Custer has come to mean a lot of things. For critics of America’s western expansion during the post-Civil War period, he is the symbolic locus of all the sins perpetrated on the Indians. (And there were many). In that sense, his character has been distorted beyond all recognition. Some of this is a bit unfair. At the time of his death, he was the acting regimental commander of the 7th Cavalry. His input into strategic decisions vis-à-vis the Indians was zero. He was a violent functionary of policy way above his pay grade. I’ve reviewed a lot of Custer books, and I occasionally get messages from people all too eager to tell me that Custer is an avatar of genocide, a monster, a murderer, an arrogant nut, the cowardly brigand who attacked villages at dawn. These are all interpretations, based on the interpreter’s perspective. What we know from the historical record is this: he was brave. Like, head-of-the-charge, I-give-zero-poops-about-all-these-bullets brave. Hatch, to his credit, never fawns over Custer (though he fawns over Jeb Stuart, which I’ll get to in a minute), but I think this is worth mentioning since a lot of current reconstructions of the Little Big Horn fight focus on the poor performance of the 7th Cavalry, attributing their wan defense to their overhyped leader. This is clearly an unfair survey of his military qualities. Like him or hate him, Custer was a fighter. He was, to put it bluntly, a killer. Those attributes were on full display during the Civil War.In Hatch’s telling, Custer’s greatest glory during the Civil War was at Gettysburg, when he faced Jeb Stuart in the Union rear while George Pickett made his failed charge. Stuart’s 6,000 men came down the Hanover Road, three miles east of the main event, hoping to sow chaos. Custer stood in his way: Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer, his long yellow curls flowing behind him, galloped up to Colonel Town, saluted, and politely indicated he would assume command. The young general, much to the surprise and admiration of his troops, had decided to lead the First Michigan on this dangerous charge. Custer rode to the front, where every eye could see him, unsheathed his heavy Toledo blade, and trotted forward with his customary bravado. He watched intently as his enemy approached down Cress Ridge…When the Rebels had advanced to within about one hundred yards away, Custer, from a position four lengths ahead of his troops, kicked his mount to a gallop, and shouted, “Come on, you Wolverines!” The blue column surged forward in what Colonel Alger would later call “the most gallant charge of the war.”Hatch’s chapter on the Gettysburg skirmish neatly encapsulates my utterly mild response to this book. As a narrative history, it is exceedingly average. It relies on mundane prose punctuated with clichés and purple flourishes. The primary sources that he chooses are often hyperbolic or unenlightening. This was not a chore to read, but there is a lot better writing on the Civil War out there. In the realm of analysis, Glorious War is even more a disappointment. I don’t necessarily think that the American Civil War calls out for a humorless scholarly approach. This is history, not particle physics. The greatest Civil War balladeer of all time – Shelby Foote – never met an endnote in his life. But the lack of rigor here really stood out. There is no examination of Custer’s generalship, his tactical acumen (other than to charge one way when attacking, and to charge the opposite way when retreating); instead, this is a breezy tour of Custer’s exploits, with conclusions taking the place of argument. Hatch states that Custer saved the Union at Gettysburg. But instead of laying out a careful proposition based on the documentary record, he relies on equivocal assumptions. For whatever reason, I didn't feel that Hatch had a full grasp on his own tale. He gets sidetracked by devoting an entire chapter to Custer’s courtship of Libbie Custer. (The subtitle of Glorious War is The Civil War Adventures of George Armstrong Custer. If I’m charitable, I suppose the Libbie chapter can be taken as some sort of double entendre. As in, Libbie was Custer’s greatest adventure. Or something). There is also an off-putting strain of Lost Cause-ism running through Glorious War. Hatch spends a lot of time with the Confederacy, including such tertiary figures as Major John Pelham. When he writes about General Lee, he calls him “Robert,” as though Lee was his buddy. And his treatment of Jeb Stuart straddles the line of fetishization. There was also a moment or two when obvious factual errors led me wonder how critically Hatch looked at his sources, especially the secondary sources. (One example: Hatch states that 7,000 men were killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor. This is clearly wrong – nearly as many fatalities as both sides suffered at Gettysburg – and speaks to someone who breezed through a secondary source of dubious quality). Custer buffs will want to read this. Civil War buffs – such as myself – might want to check out Gregory Urwin’s Custer Victorious, which covers the same ground. I did not mind Glorious War, but it did not give me anything that I didn't get better in Wert’s biography. It felt – well, for lack of a better word – superficial. I don’t require my histories to be written by serious historians. But I do want them to contain serious history. I don’t think I got that here.

  • Travis Starnes
    2018-11-22 18:03

    I read a lot of biographies and to me they are really hit or miss. While the subject is important in getting me interested in a biography it is really the tone the author uses that makes or breaks it for me. In Glorious War Thom Hatch uses a flowing narrative style that does an excellent job of combining the need to relay information about the subject’s life while still making it an enjoyable read. For me this is one of the most enjoyable biographies I have read and joins a small group of similar books that I would consider reading again. That is even higher praise considering I only had a passing interest in the man prior to reading this book.The battle scenes were especially well described and reading it I could not help but liken it to the work of Shelby Foote, who for me is the most enjoyable author to read on the Civil War era. The battles and Custer’s place in them was high paced and exciting to read. Again not something that is found in most biographies.The research is well done and, while some things might have been left out, I felt no holes or deficiencies in my understanding of Custer’s life and actions during the war. I had always known he had notable exploits during the war years and that his future placement leading the soldiers at Little Big Horn was in no small part to his legacy from the war.

  • Louise
    2018-11-19 19:06

    This man was so famous for his death, we forget about his life. The death in an ambush, wiping out his entire unit for a cause which we, today, consider dubious obliterates what appears to be an outstanding record for cause, which we, today, consider noble.Author, Thom Hatch, shows how Custer’s friends in the West Point class of 1861 class were primarily from the south. While Custer stayed to graduate they left to protect their homes or join the rebellion. He meets some of them aggressively on the battlefield. The ferocity he has in fighting them he puts aside when he takes them prisoner. Hatch provides a marvelous photo (which Harper’s Weekly used to illustrate the “cause”) showing one such friend/prisoner whom Custer took to a photographer before he took to the prison camp.He boldly rode in the front of his men, saber in hand matching the rebel battle cry with a cry of his own and music to boot. He won his engagements even when the Union Army didn’t. He held off Jeb Stuart at Gettysburg, and was part of the campaign that eventually laid him to rest. I lost count of the number of horses who were shot out from underneath him. For his heroic record he was made a general the youngest ever general and given many honors.While pursuing the rebels, Custer was pursuing Libbie Bacon. The courtship and marriage of the later steadfast keeper of his flame is described.The book could use some maps. I could have used some battle diagrams.Hatch’s Custer is every inch a hero.

  • Shelly♥
    2018-11-27 21:01

    George Armstrong Custer, best known for his violent death at the Battle of Little Bighorn, started his military career during the Civil War where he served with distinction. In this book, the author seeks to familiarize readers with this chapter of Custer's life - and a remarkable chapter it is. As a fresh faced West Point graduate, he served at nearly all major engagements in the East, working his way through the ranks and distinguishing himself amongst his peers.The book basically chronicles Custer's service in context with that of the Eastern Theater of the Civil War. Readers who might not be familiar with the timeline of events, will get a basic overview of the battles and outcomes, along with where Custer's place is in all this. The author also strikes a comparison between Custer and the flamboyant Jeb Stuart, who along with his group of invincible cavalry men, dominated the Union army during the first part of the Civil War. We also get an idea of the intimacy of the war, as we see Custer face former friends and classmates from his West Point class.The text is written in a way that every reader can enjoy the narrative. It is annotated with plenty of footnotes and references - letters, reports and detailed accounts of Custer and other Civil War events, to give life and breath to this incredible warrior.Thanks to the publisher for providing me a copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

  • Erin
    2018-11-29 19:44

    Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....One has only to watch Bill Hader's performance as General George Armstrong Custer to understand the stereotypic legacy that dogs the memory of this career army officer and cavalry commander, but is that legacy deserved? Author Thom Hatch doesn't think so and makes a compelling argument the that affect in his latest release, Glorious War. Though listed in the nation's history books for his disastrous defeat at Little Big Horn, his career with the Union Army was marked almost exclusively by victory. Graduating West Point in June 1861 his first assignment found him on the field at the first battle of Bull Run (or first Manassas). Time and again he proved himself a capable if unconventional commander who kept his head under pressure and held the admiration and trust of his men. By the time he collected the first flag of truce from the Confederates at Appomattox, the exploits that had propelled him up the ranks had also earned him a fair amount of celebrity.Hatch's carefully researched civil war biography chronicles Custer's early life and military career, shedding light on man Custer was both on and off the battlefield. What is surprising though is how objective the author is despite his rather obvious agenda. Rather than ignore his failings (real or imagined) Hatch answers each accusation fairly, allowing his readers to come to their own conclusions about his subject.All told, a well-written and thought-provoking mini biography of a controversial American legend.

  • P.e. lolo
    2018-11-26 19:08

    This is a much different story about Custer. You see a little bit of his early home life but then you move on to West Point. Where he may not have looked like his was a good student but he had to be for all of the demerits he got. Because those took off points of grade or marks but he still had enough to come back every year. He did make a name for himself there and for the most part he was looking at having a good time. It was said that he was an excellent horse rider. When he was going there it was a five year school but with war being a possibility they changed it to four years. He was looking at graduating in 1861. Before graduation was the beginnings of the. Some of the cadets came in and left before graduating to go fight for the south. One was his roommate and some of his closest friends. He tried to talk them out of leaving at least until after graduating. He could not see going so soon, but they all shook hands and knew that at some point they would see one another again. He then was sent to Washington and meet with General Scott, who gave him a choice to stay in Washington or go out “He said he wanted to go out to the action”. With that he was sent to the 2nd cavalry, it was the beginning of Bull Run. From this time forward he was involved in most every battle except the ones in the west He of course is known for Gettysburg. But his men would not have followed that day if there were not days before that one. Battles that looked hopeless he would somehow change. Not change the big picture but change it so his men could come out and fight another day. He really believed in not leaving anyone behind. In more than one instance he would ride in where a group of his men were surrounded and then look for a weak point. Then leading the way in a saber charge with his men following they would break free. A few times the enemy didn’t know what happened he turned around and attacked. Simply amazing. He destroyed supply lines and yes he even argued with people. But he was always fighting for with his men. The Michigan cavalry were given some of the tougher assignments and they always followed troughed. In one battle he had his cannons open up from one side and part of his troops there they started the attack to draw out the south. Once the South committed to the attack he had the rest of his troops attack from the other side. Once the Southern general knew what was happening it was too late to call retreat. It was battles like these that made a name for himself. He would stand and fight with his men and he led them into battle. As a general that impressive not everyone did that. It was also towards the end of the war that he runs into Major Reno, yes the same one who does not show up at Little Big Horn. Here you find out he was the first to capture an enemy flag and then accepted the surrender. And he stood and fought at Little Big Horn just like he did during the civil war. With his men thinking they were going to overcome. This time the Indians had Springfield rifles and the troopers had to reload after every shot. The tables were turn but he stood in and did his duty. That is what this book was trying to get people to see. That Armstrong was following orders and was doing his duty and for that he should be honored as the true soldier that he was and for the proud way he cared himself as an officer in the U.S. ARMY and with that I agree. A fantastic book and a different story about a man that we only see one side.

  • Tony
    2018-12-03 16:00

    GLORIOUS WAR: The Civil War Adventures of George Armstrong Custer. (2013). Thom Hatch. ***.This work focuses on the early life of Custer, from his early life in small towns in Ohio, to his school days, to his admission to West Point as a Cadet, to his entry into the Union Army at the start of the Civil War. There are lots of documented historical facts here, but with a liberal scattering of “perhaps,” “might have beens,” and “it was likelys.” What you end up with is a history akin to Parson Weems’ “Life of Washington:” a decent read but with some literary license thrown in. Custer was in the thick of things during the war. The number of battles he participated in was amazing. He received many citations for bravery for many of these battles. What is obvious to me is that when he yelled “Charge,” I would personally drag my feet a bit. He took no notice of his personal safety in battle. This means, too, that his troops followed him at their own risk. His major claim to fame was his ability as a horseman. His knowledge of tactics was minimal, as was his accomplishments in other military disciplines. All that aside, though, he was a dashing figure during this period and created the center for an ongoing legend. One of the things I didn’t know was that he received the white flag of surrender at Appomattox. The high point of his activities during the war was his maneuvers during the battle of Gettysburg, when he was able to divert the forces under J.E.B. Stuart from supporting the charge of Pickett and his men. That activity likely turned the tide of the battle and ultimately led to the defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia. We tend to think of the campaign at the end of his career, and let his failure there color our perception of his worth. This book attempts to remedy that thinking.

  • Doug
    2018-11-25 14:46

    George Armstrong Custer is characterized by history almost exclusively based on the last day of his life. I suspect I must have read at least six or eight books on the Battle of the Little Big Horn and have visited the Custer Battlefield many times. However, I knew little else about him that couldn't be gleaned from watching the old Errol Flynn film, They Died With Their Boots On. I learned quite a lot about his Civil War exploits while reading an excellent biography of Gen. Phil Sheridan last year. When I saw that Glorious War was coming out, I bugged my library mercilessly until I got my hands on it. Thom Hatch has written an extremely readable biography of Custer from childhood through the end of the War of Northern Aggression (I was raised in the west but now live in South Carolina). Custer may have been a "boy General" but according to Hatch, there was no Union leader who displayed more raw courage or a greater understanding of cavalry tactics. His many detractors dismiss Custer as a glory seeking buffoon but I am inclined to agree with Hatch in thinking that he has received short shrift from the history book writers. For starters, Phil Sheridan did not suffer fools gladly and became his mentor and remained as such until the end. I think the following quote from Col. Henry Capehart, a member of Custer's Third Cavalry Division and Medal of Honor winner pretty much sums it up, "He was counted by some as rash; it was because he dared while they dared not...". This is an excellent account that I would recommend to any Civil War buff.

  • Mike
    2018-12-08 14:58

    This book fills in some of the areas about Custer's experiences at West Point and during the Civil War that helped form him into the commander he became. There is no doubt that he was an incredibly brave soldier who earned a brevet promotion to Brigadier General at the age of 23. Bold, brave and brash, say what you will, he was a helluva commander whose military brilliance is overshadowed by his one monumental mistake at the Little Bighorn in June 1876.

  • Daleb.
    2018-11-25 16:50

    Sat. Jan. 18, 2014Started this one yesterdayPretty interesting so far. I remember being very interested in Custer as a teenager in school and reading several biographies about him.Don't see very much at all written about his civil war service but for a brief sinopsis here and there.I'm already 4 chapters in.xoDaleB.xo

  • Mark
    2018-11-22 17:05

    I gave this book one star because I couldn't figure out how to give it zero. Poorly written and researched. Lacks proper historical context. See the Spring 2014 edition of the Civil War Book Review for my full review.

  • Bob
    2018-11-22 15:56

    Thom Hatch thinks George Custer has gotten a bad rap. Most of us only know him as an Indian fighter who died with most of his troops at Little Big Horn. His involvement in this morally questionable aspect of American history and the allegation of strategic mistakes that led to this debacle has cast a pall on Custer's character.Hatch resorts to the Civil War record of Custer to balance the account. He begins with the early life of Custer, rising from poor backgrounds and being something of a hell-raiser to a mediocre West Point experience where he barely remained in the academy to a sober but daring fighter shaped by both his love for Libbie Bacon and his command experience.Custer had the good fortune to be assigned to McClellan's headquarters and his actions at the first battle of Bull Run led to promotion to captain. After McClellan was replaced, he was appointed to the staff of Alfred Pleasonton and was promoted to brigadier general at age 23, just before the battle of Gettysburg. Stationed east of Gettysburg, he holds off the much larger force of Stuart in a courageously fought cavalry battle on the critical third day. Hatch argues that Stuart's objective was to attack the Union line from behind while Pickett charged from the front and that Custer's resistance and decisive leadership was critical to the Union victory.He continues to distinguish himself in the pursuit of Confederate forces and it was under his command that Jeb Stuart was fatally wounded, perhaps one of the greatest blows to the Confederacy apart from the loss of Stonewall Jackson. He leads his troops in what was thought to be a suicide mission in what was later called the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren raid, designed to be a diversion to a Union thrust toward Richmond. The raid is a startling success, the thrust a dismal failure.Only under Phil Sheridan do Custer's skills of careful strategic planning and daring personal leadership come to the full in a series of engagements that broke the Confederate cavalry and devastated the Shenandoah valley, the Confederacy's breadbasket. He also plays a decisive role in the Battle of Five Forks, after which the Confederates surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.Parallel to Custer's fight for the Union is his fight for the heart of Libbie Bacon, blocked by her father, a distinguished judge who remembered Custer's poor beginnings and one dissolute episode in his early life. Through an intermediary, he communicates with Libbie, and through his personal reformation and military success wins over the judge, and the daughter's hand. Hatch emphasizes the moral influence Libbie has on him and apparently it was through her that Custer had a conversion experience under the ministry of a Presbyterian pastor.Hatch gives us an engaging account of Custer that portrays him as a man of character, a courageous leader and a genuine Civil War hero. My only critique of this otherwise engaging work is that at times it seems to drift into hagiography. A more nuanced approach that was more candid about Custer's flaws might have actually made the point more powerfully. Nevertheless, this helped me see a side of Custer of which I was unaware that changed my perceptions of this interesting character.

  • Joseph
    2018-12-04 13:45

    What struck me most about this book was how little I actually knew about General George Armstrong Custer. Like many people, when the name Custer comes up, we automatically reference his defeat at Little Bighorn. In Glorious War, Thom Hatch uses all of the archival data available to tell the true story of Custer's beginnings at West Point. We learn of his upbringing, his love for his mother,his childhood, as well as his courageous deeds during the Civil War. For those of us who only know Custer from his infamous defeat at Little Bighorn, within these pages we learn of how instrumental Custer was in the Union's defeat of the Confederates during the Civil War, such as the fact that he captured the first enemy battle flag, or that he was responsible for the defeat and subsequent surrender of Lee's forces at Appomattox.Glorious War is actually an invitation to the world to rethink Custer's place in American Military History- from that of bungling General who recklessly charged into a no-win situation, to the undefeated War hero that he was during the Civil War. The man made General at the age of 23, he defeated the South's most feared generals such as Jeb Stuart and captured more battle flags than any of his peers, not to mention his bravery at Gettysburg. Yet, he is remembered only for his crushing defeat at the hands of the Cheyenne and Sioux in 1876.Thom Hatch writes history that feels like an action novel. His depiction of battle had me at the edge of my seat, while his detailed explanation of strategy and the daily life of military men during this brutal war was vivid and enlightening. For those who wish to read further on the subject, there is a treasure trove of references listed, giving the reader the opportunity to search out the writer's sources to research for themselves.I found Glorious War to be not only enlightening and informative, but quite easy to follow, as well as highly entertaining. That is all one could possibly ask for in a good book. I personally have a new respect for, and a greater knowledge of one of America's most misunderstood war heroes, a man that can truthfully be named one of the most important generals of the Union Army during the Civil War. I highly recommend Glorious War to anyone who is a student of the American Civil War, American History, and the history of the U.S. Military.

  • Nestor Rychtyckyj
    2018-11-30 13:45

    The name "George Armstrong Custer" is now almost synonymous with tragic military blunders due to the one day at the Little Big Horn. But Gen. Custer was much more than a symbol of a war against the Indians that many want to forget. George Armstrong Custer became famous as a brilliant cavalry commander during the Civil War and this book recounts that almost unbelievable story. Somehow George Custer went from finishing last in his class at West Point to becoming the youngest general in the Union Army. Custer and his Michigan cavalry participated in most of the major battles between the Army of the Potomac and the Lee's army of Northern Virginia. Custer's civil war military record was astounding and Thom Hatch does a great job of describing those battles where commanding generals would charge into battle leading their men. It's amazing that Custer was not killed or seriously wounded during all these battles.The book is a great read for anybody interested in the American history and the Civil War. At times the author goes overboard with his praise of Custer but it's hard to argue with the fact that Custer was very successful and extremely popular with his troops. His failure at Little Big Horn seems to have overshadowed all his previous successes. This book forces us to look at Custer as a man and a soldier that did everything (and more) that his country demanded. War is really never "glorious" as the title suggests, but the book is certainly a good start to giving Custer credit for his role in winning the Civil War and saving the Union.

  • Ron
    2018-12-02 18:12

    Today, George Armstrong Custer is best remembered for his actions at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876 that wiped out half of the U.S. 7th Cavalry. But in 1876, General Custer was better known as a Civil War hero for actions at Gettysburg, Brandy Station, Yellow Tavern, and Appomattox. Glorious War tells the tale of Custer's Civil War adventures.Thom Hatch provides a heroic partial biography of George Armstrong Custer that covers his time at West Point and during the Civil War, ending with the Army of the Potomac marching through Washington, D.C. He discusses the part played by Custer in numerous battles, his time as aide-de-camp for McClellan, his wooing of Elizabeth Bacon, and his meteoric rise in rank from 2nd Lieutenant at Bull Run to Major General at Appomattox. He also illustrates that Custer was a leader that men adored, willingly following him during charges against seemingly unbeatable odds. Hatch provides a Custer that has some warts, but he does not dig into all the known faults and issues that other officers had with Custer. He also spends a number of pages on Jeb Stuart that seen to have no bearing on Custer except to contrast the two cavalry icons. But, if you want a hero to lead you through most of the Eastern Civil War battles, Glorious War will satisfy that itch.

  • Nick
    2018-12-11 13:00

    Even better than Hatch's later book on Custer's postwar career and end at the Little Bighorn, this book convincingly portrays Custer as a military man of high qualities.My only quibble with Hatch's writing is that he sometimes includes odd factual errors in side stories. For example, he has the wrong list of candidates opposing Lincoln in 1860. I don't know whether this was Hatch's error, or a confusing mis-edit during the editing stage, but it cast doubt on bits of the story where the focus was not directly on Custer. The research and the writing about Custer himself were detailed and seemingly flawless, although Hatch does editorialize a bit. Not as much as in his later book, which was welcome.Overall, for anyone interested in what brought Custer his remarkable wartime reputation, this is an excellent book.

  • Kenneth Barber
    2018-12-10 16:03

    This book was a good overview of the early life of George Armstrong Custer. It covers his life from birth to the end of the Civil War. It shows his determination to get into West Point and his career there. The book then follows his exploits during the war. Custer was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time for many of his opportunities, but he also took advantage of them when they presented themselves. The author shows that he was good in combat and was and inspirational leader. He led the charges of his men. Another aspect that is developed is that Custer always seemed to have a patron that helped his career: McClellan,Pleasonton,and lastly Sheridan. Nice overview of his early career.

  • Jan
    2018-11-21 19:10

    I'm so surprised to find myself saying this book was enthralling, although I sort of hurried past battle terms and tactics. the author wanted to highlight General Custer's beginnings and Civil War career, saying he doesn't deserve to be remembered for only one bad day. During the Civil War, Custer rose rapidly thru the ranks, due mostly to his leadership, bravery, and brilliance. He was a hero in his day. the book is well written and difficult to put down. I am much better informed about the conditions of war at that time. It added to my enjoyment to read about the movements of the armies through places like Burke Station, Fairfax Courthouse, Rockville, Littlestown, Cashtown, and Carlisle and others, all places I have been!

  • David
    2018-11-27 17:06

    A biography of Custer focused around his role in the Civil War. Custer rose very quickly through the ranks becoming an outstanding general. He may have saved the Union victory at Gettysburg by negating Jeb Stuart's historically controversial attempt to attack the Union from the rear. Hatch argues, persuasively, that Custer's career needs to be reviewed as a whole and not solely by what happened at the Little Big Horn. While Thatch does a good job of describing Custer's Civil War career, the description of battles is like a court deposition and other major events - like the fall of Vicksburg - are given a paragraph. This book seems best read by students of the Civil War.

  • Tom Buske
    2018-12-15 13:55

    The author, in the foreword, states that Custer is mostly known by people for the debacle at Little Big Horn that led to his death and that he wishes to present a more nuanced and even-handed picture of Custer the soldier. This he does admirably, although he is monomaniacal, on this subject, to the point where he almost implies that Custer single handedly won the Civil War for the Union. But the book will definitely give you an appreciation for some of the military skills that Custer did indeed possess.

  • Bill Bennett
    2018-12-06 18:43

    While interesting, this book reeks of hero worship. While I agree that Custer's legacy has been unduly tarnished by his defeat at the Little Big Horn I find it hard to believe that he was so unspeakably amazing during the Civil War. All of his actions were dashing, courageous, stunning, astounding..... probably not so much. Still the book will be fun to read if you're interested in the Civil War. But do take it with a grain of salt.

  • Kstansel
    2018-12-09 18:52

    An interesting biography of George Armstrong Custer's performance in the Civil War. Not knowing anything about Custer beyond "Custer's Last Stand," I really enjoyed learning more about him and this period of his life.

  • PWRL
    2018-12-11 21:03


  • J.e. Braun
    2018-12-16 19:44

    Fascinating to learn so much about a historical figure whose name I knew so well, but about whom I knew so little. Well-written and engaging.