Gettysburg Requiem

Gettysburg Requiem : The Life of William C. Oates

3.92 (27 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

William C. Oates is best remembered as the Confederate officer defeated at Gettysburg's Little Round Top, losing a golden opportunity to turn the Union's flank and win the battle-and perhaps the war. Now, Glenn W. LaFantasie-bestselling author of Twilight at Little Round Top-has written a gripping biography of Oates. Oates was no moonlight-and-magnolias Southerner, as LaFantasie shows. Raised in the hard-scrabble Wiregrass Country of Alabama, he ran away from home as a teenager, roamed through Louisiana and Texas-where he took up card sharking-and finally returned to Alabama, to pull himself up by his bootstraps and become a respected attorney. During the war, he rose to the rank of colonel, served under Stonewall Jackson and Lee, was wounded six times and lost an arm. Returning home, he launched a successful political career, becoming a seven-term congressman and ultimately governor. LaFantasie shows how, for Oates, the war never really ended-he remained devoted to the Lost Cause, and spent the rest of his life waging the political battles of Reconstruction. Here then is a richly evocative story of Southern life before, during, and after the Civil War, based on first-time and exclusive access of family papers and never-before-seen archives. "Exhaustively researched and elegantly written, this captivating biography is a signal contribution to Civil War historiography...In LaFantasie's penetrating analysis, Oates becomes the avatar of everything both objectionable and laudable in the antebellum and postwar South as well as in the intervening Civil War." -Library Journal (starred review)show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 33.02mm | 657.71g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 37 halftones, 2 maps
  • 0195331311
  • 9780195331318

Review quote

"LaFantasie's book is a brilliant example of how diligent research and skillful writing can turn a soldier known mainly for his role on one historic day into a fully rounded character, as movingly depicted as in a Tolstoy novel. William Oates's life, before, during and after the battle of Gettysburg, illustrates his times better than that of grander figures whose public virtues and sins overshadow their inner complexity. But never until now has anyone as talented as LaFantasie taken the pains to do it right." -Ernest B. Furgurson, author of Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War and Chancellorsville 1863 "As Glenn LaFantasie makes clear in this candid and penetrating biography, William C. Oates was a man who reflected, throughout his long life, the violent, tragic, and often self-deceptive world of the American South in the nineteenth century. Lyrically written, challenging in its conclusions, this is an important book about the wartime generation of southerners and how they adjusted to the realities of the post-war South." -Craig L. Symonds, author of Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History "Beautifully written and superbly researched...Oates' story is a richly compelling one, set against the most dramatic period in United States history."-Joan Waugh, University of California at Los Angeles "William C. Oates and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain faced one another in a storied confrontation on Little Round Top at Gettysburg. This fine biography demonstrates that Oates's life fully matched his more famous opponent's in drama and importance. LaFantasie's perceptive narrative uses Oates to explore major themes relating to the Civil War, the turbulent postwar years, and the struggle to shape the memory of the conflict."-Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War "In LaFantasie's absorbing and penetrating account, Oates emerges as an iconic figure to mirror the urbane Chamberlain...offering 'a fascinating-and sometimes unsettling-portrait of Southern manhood and the dynamics of violence, heroism, and memory.'"-Michael Kenney, The Boston Globe "Until now, Confederate Colonel William C. Oates is remembered-if he is remembered at all-for losing to the celebrated Joshua Chamberlain in the fight for Little Round Top at Gettysburg. Here at last is Oates in full dimension, a fascinating, Faulknerian figure out of the Old South." -Stephen W. Sears, author of Gettysburg "Exhaustively researched and elegantly written, this captivating biography is a signal contribution to Civil War historiography.... In LaFantasie's penetrating analysis, Oates becomes the avatar of everything both objectionable and laudable in the antebellum and postwar South as well as in the intervening Civil War."-Library Journal (starred review) "An engaging biography."-Publishers Weekly "No one will ever write a more detailed and comprehensive biography of William C. Oates than Glenn LaFantasie. Gettysburg Requiem is the definitive account of the life of the commander of the 15th Alabama Infantry."-John Deppen, The Civil War News "Fantasie has done a terrific job of telling Oates's tale, and of using him as a tool to delve into the greater issues that filled Oates's own life and times.... This fine biography does him the justice denied him in times past."-George C. Bradley, The Civil War Couriershow more

About Glenn W. Lafantasie

Glenn W. LaFantasie is the Frockt Family Professor of Civil War History and the Director of the Center for the Civil War in the West at Western Kentucky University. He is the bestselling author of Twilight at Little Round Top. He has also written for several magazines and newspapers, including American History, North & South, MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, The New York Times Book Review, America's Civil War, Civil War Times Illustrated, and The Providence Journal.show more

Rating details

27 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 33% (9)
4 30% (8)
3 33% (9)
2 4% (1)
1 0% (0)
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