In the bestselling tradition of The Killer Angels and Gods and Generals, Richard Croker has written a vivid, exciting, and realistic novel of oneof the most important battles of the Civil War. Itwas fought on September 17, 1862, at Sharpsburg, Maryland, and in just twelve hours over 22,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed or wounded, making the Battle of Antietam the bloodiest day in American history.
From Abraham Lincoln's White House to battles outside Dunker Church, To Make Men Free brings to life this legendary battle and the events surrounding it. Abraham and Mary Lincoln grieve over the loss of their son while Robert E. Lee mourns the death of his daughter. And General Lee must be a commander when his youngest son pleads not to be sent "back in there." Croker paints flesh-and-blood portraits of such larger-than-life figures as George McClellan, John Pope, Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart, and A. P. Hill. Hill is seen nearly entering into a duel with Stonewall Jackson, and he also has something to prove to his old West Point roommate, the Union commander George McClellan -- who married Hill's first true love. Much of the battle is seen through the eyes of Stonewall Jackson's fun-loving young adjutant, Kyd Douglas, and a little-known reporter named George Smalley, who dabbled briefly in mutiny and in the service of Horace Greeley, scooping the other reporters covering the story.
With verve and insight, Croker offers an indelible picture of this single day that dashed Southern hopes for a quick victory, denied the Confederacy crucial support from European allies, afforded the North the first clear indication that its troops had the dogged persistence to win, and ultimately cleared the path for Lincoln's most enduring legacy -- the Emancipation Proclamation.
The Emancipation Proclamation and the Battle of Antietam are married in history but divorced in literature. To Make Men Free reunites them in their original unhappy, bloody, and inseparable bonds.
A stirring tale of blood, glory, intrigue, mutiny, deceit, jealousy, revenge, nobility, and power, To Make Men Free introduces a new voice in historical fiction.
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Richard Croker is an independent documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on TBS, The Learning Channel, and the Discovery Digital Networks. A native of the South whose great-grandfathers fought for the Confederacy, Croker lives in Marietta, Georgia.From Publishers Weekly:
The bloodiest day of the Civil War, a Union victory that crushed Lee's first invasion of the North and gave Lincoln a triumphal pretext for the Emancipation Proclamation, is the subject of this rousing, panoramic debut historical. Documentary filmmaker Croker skillfully fictionalizes a meticulously researched account‚€"of the battle, the campaign that preceded it and its momentous political fallout‚€"that is more comprehensive than many nonfiction treatments. In vivid, punchy scenes, occasionally illustrated with maps, readers follow the strategic maneuvers of the Union and Confederate armies, learn how to operate a cannon and amputate a leg, and get swept up in the panic and pathos of combat. Croker fleshes out the gore and gallantry on the battlefield with a sprawling cast of well-drawn characters, from Lincoln and his cabinet down to lowly privates. Particularly interesting is his portrait of Union General-in-chief George McClellan, one of the more fascinating psyches in American history, whose mixture of insufferable vainglory and paralyzing insecurity constituted a major obstacle to a Northern victory. Croker's didactic impulses occasionally get the better of him‚€"one scene is inserted mainly to correct a common mispronunciation of a general's name‚€"and his determination to convey the entire range of perspectives on Antietam sometimes clutters the stage with incidental figures. But his combination of period detail, gripping battle scenes and psychological insight bring the epic to life.
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