The story of what becomes one of the defining battles of the Civil War is recounted in "A Blaze of Glory: A Novel of The Battle Of Shiloh" (Ballantine 2012; $28), the first book of a trilogy by famed author Jeff Shaara.
Commanding Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston has learned Grant has camped near a small country church with the name of Shiloh in southwestern Tennessee. So, he stages a surprise attack.
Writing about the Civil War is a family affair for Shaara, whose father Michael wrote the Pulitzer prize winning "Killer Angel." The retelling of the Battle of Shiloh will be followed by books on Vicksburg to be released next spring and Sherman’s March in 2014. Each release coincides with the 150th anniversary of the event.
“It’s a challenge because doing a book a year is tough,” says Shaara, noting it takes about twice as much time to research a book than to write it. “I have so much research material already that I think gives me a leg up and I’m very excited about this, as is my publisher and people I’ve talked to around the country.”
Shaara’s book takes place in the Western theater of the Civil War, one less well known to many.
“I’ve received a lot of letters from people in Tennessee and Mississippi who says that they’re kind of tired of hearing about just Robert E. Lee and Virginia,” says Shaara, who also wrote several New York Times best-sellers including "Gods and Generals."
“They told me that there’s a whole lot more story that no one seems to want to find out about. I’ve tried to respond to that as best as I can.”