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Gone for Soldiers

With his acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, Jeff Shaara expanded upon his father's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War classic, The Killer Angels--ushering the reader through the poignant drama of this most bloody chapter in our history. Now, in Gone for Soldiers, Jeff Shaara carries us back fifteen years before that momentous conflict, when the Civil War's most familiar names are fighting for another cause, junior officers marching under the same flag in an unfamiliar land, experiencing combat for the first time in the Mexican-American War.
In March 1847, the U.S. Navy delivers eight thousand soldiers on the beaches of Vera Cruz. They are led by the army's commanding general, Winfield Scott, a heroic veteran of the War of 1812, short tempered, vain, and nostalgic for the glories of his youth. At his right hand is Robert E. Lee, a forty-year-old engineer, a dignified, serious man who has never seen combat.
Scott leads his troops against the imperious Mexican dictator, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana. Obsessed with glory and his place in history, Santa Ana arrogantly underestimates the will and the heart of Scott and his army. As the Americans fight their way inland, both sides understand that the inevitable final conflict will come at the gates and fortified walls of the ancient capital, Mexico City.
Cut off from communication and their only supply line, the Americans learn about their enemy and themselves, as young men witness for the first time the horror of war. While Scott must weigh his own place in history, fighting what many consider a bully's war, Lee the engineer becomes Lee the hero, the one man in Scott's commandwhose extraordinary destiny as a soldier is clear.
In vivid, brilliant prose that illuminates the dark psychology of soldiers and their commanders trapped behind enemy lines, Jeff Shaara brings to life the haunted personalities and magnificent backdrop, the familiar characters, the stunning triumphs and soul-crushing defeats of this fascinating, long-forgotten war. Gone for Soldiers is an extraordinary achievement that will remain with you long after the final page is turned.

"From the Hardcover edition.

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About the Author

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of A Chain of Thunder, A Blaze of Glory, The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure--two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father's Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives in Gettysburg.


Shaara's latest historical novel abandons the Civil War era of his two previous works, Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, which completed a trilogy begun by his father with the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Killer Angels. Striving this time to reimagine the Mexican-American War of 1847, Shaara paints a respectable if uneven group portrait of the men who fought south of the border. Gen. Winfield Scott--accompanied by future Confederacy leaders Robert E. Lee, George Pickett and Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, and soon-to-be Union Army Gen. Ulysses S. Grant--lands at the port of Vera Cruz, intent on piercing straight through to the heart of Mexico and defeating General Santa Anna. Shaara is at his best when describing the all-too-real horrors of hand-to-hand combat, enveloping the reader in the sounds, smells and realities of battlefield carnage. "Now, when a man dies by your side, you don't expect the man who replaces him to survive either, you don't even want to learn his name. And now, when you march into the guns, you accept that this time it might be you, as if it's already decided." The author sometimes tries to hard to distinguish his characters by their traits, interjecting superfluous details verging on caricature, such as Scott's distaste for veal. "Try never to eat the stuff... Horrible, barbaric. Baby cows." However, a scene describing the delayed hanging of a group of American deserters so that they may watch and cheer the raising of the Stars and Stripes over the castle of Chapultepec is gripping and all too believable. Though the stilted, "in the mind of the soldier" narrative becomes a wearisome contrivance at times, the action scenes are fluid and compelling. 15-city author tour; Random House Large Print, BDD Audio. (May) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Noted for the Civil War saga he took over from his father, Michael, Shaara steps back--all the way to the Mexican-American War, where the young Robert E. Lee proves his mettle. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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