Last Of The Blue And Gray

Last Of The Blue And Gray : Old Men, Stolen Glory, and the Mystery That Outlived the Civil War

3.33 (92 ratings by Goodreads)
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Richard Serrano, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Los Angeles Times, pens a story of two veterans. In the late 1950s, as America prepared for the Civil War centennial, two very old men lay dying. Albert Woolson, 109 years old, slipped in and out of a coma at a Duluth, Minnesota, hospital, his memories as a Yankee drummer boy slowly dimming. Walter Williams, at 117 blind and deaf and bedridden in his daughter's home in Houston, Texas, no longer could tell of his time as a Confederate forage master. The last of the Blue and the Gray were drifting away; an era was ending.
Unknown to the public, centennial officials, and the White House too, one of these men was indeed a veteran of that horrible conflict and one according to the best evidence nothing but a fraud. One was a soldier. The other had been living a great, big lie.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 232 pages
  • 160.02 x 226.06 x 25.4mm | 430.91g
  • Washington, United States
  • English
  • 10 B&W PHOTOS
  • 1588343952
  • 9781588343956

Table of contents

1 Two Old Soldiers
2 Reunion
3 Old Age and Stolen Valor
4 Albert Woolson
5 Walter Williams
6 Old Men in Blue
7 Old Men in Gray
8 Centennial
9 Last in Blue
10 Debunked?
11 In His Memory-Clouded Mind
12 Last in Gray
13 Of the Dead, Speak No Evil
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Review quote

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Starred Review As late as the 1950s, two veterans of the bloodiest conflict on American soil were still living. Or rather, one vet and one fraud, both very, very old. In this quintessentially American tale, Serrano (One of Ours), a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Los Angeles Times, marshals a formidable amount of research and a winning prose style to solve the mystery of which man--Union loyalist and drummer boy Albert Woolson, or rebel soldier and forage master Walter Williams--was the real deal. Both were well into their 100s as the Civil War centennial drew near, and neither was lucid enough to be counted on to provide dependable testimonies of their time at war. Adding to the uncertainty was the fact that many soldiers lied about personal details in order to serve. Serrano's grand narrative brings a wealth of American history into its scope and features plenty of larger-than-life characters, cussin', hollerin', smoking cigars, and chewing tobacco, and proudly donning their wartime uniforms. Serrano masterfully maintains the tension throughout, until he finally reveals the truth (which some still find controversial). Told with clarity and skillfully paced, Serrano's story of two old men and the mythology that grew up around them is intimate, expansive, and thoroughly entertaining. Photos. (Oct.) BOOKLIST In the late 1950s, as the centennial of the start of the Civil War loomed, historians and pundits actively sought out the few surviving veterans of the conflict. Unfortunately, any true survivors would be well past 100 years old; their memories, to be charitable, would be foggy, and the value of their recollections questionable. Eventually, attention was riveted upon two men, Union veteran Albert Woolson and Confederate veteran Walter Williams. When each man passed, national reaction was a combination of mourning, celebration of their service, and acknowledgment of the closing of a historical chapter. It was ap
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About Richard A. Serrano

RICHARD A. SERRANO, former reporter for the Kansas City Times, is currently a Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. Serrano shared in two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of the Hyatt sky walks disaster in Kansas City and the King riots in Los Angeles. He is author of One of Ours: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing.
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Rating details

92 ratings
3.33 out of 5 stars
5 14% (13)
4 25% (23)
3 43% (40)
2 15% (14)
1 2% (2)
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