Burke Davis' 1957 biography on Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart was a fantastic read.
Mr. Davis quotes extensively from first hand accounts of Stuart's life, some of whom were as colorful themselves as was the general. The writing style is highly engaging and keeps one turning the pages.
Through this book, I got a picture of JEB Stuart as a man who was extremely quick on his feet--both in battle and in wit. He had a tremendous sense of humor as these short excepts will demonstrate:
In one skirmish Stuart's troopers captured a Federal captain and took him to headquarters, where Jeb questioned him:
There are multitude of other short one-liners of similar sort that left me laughing and wondering how anyone can be so quick on their feet.
Stuart, for all his flirtation with pretty young ladies, was completely devoted to his wife and children.
Most importantly, the general was a man of firm Christian faith--a faith which rivaled that of Stonewall Jackson and Lee. He was fearless in battle for he confessed that no harm would befall him unless such was God's will.
These are a few of the observations I came away with concerning the man himself.
Mr. Davis naturally spends a deal of time on the actual conflicts that Stuart was engaged in, but never do they become dull or boring. He keeps the reader attached to the narrative...I appreciate how he draws from multiple sources, both Confederate and Union, for different views and perceptions of events. If I am allowed a rabbit trail here, I find it highly amusing at times the vast discrepancies between Southern and Northern battle reports. Both sides frequently claim the victory and tell of the foe's flight and disorganization as though the other were mere cowards. Interesting, but not necessarily surprising, I suppose.
All in all, I would recommend the book; it seems to me to be a very level-headed account, written by a man who perhaps had Southern sympathies (I never could quite tell). Because I enjoyed this one so well, I look forward to reading Burke Davis' biography of General R.E. Lee (which I was recently delighted to find amongst some books I had packed away).
A Reformed Presbyterian girl who enjoys a good movie or a good book any ol'
Note: All images picked up online. No copyright infringment intended.