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The rise of Civil War general John Bell Hood, his command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee, and the decisions that led to its downfall. Though he barely escaped expulsion from West Point, John Bell Hood quickly rose through the ranks of the Confederate army. With bold leadership in the battles of Gaines' Mill and Antietam, Hood won favor with Confederate president Jefferson Davis. But his fortunes in war took a tragic turn when he assumed command of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. After the fall of Atlanta, Hood marched his troops north in an attempt to draw Union army general William T. Sherman from his devastating "March to the Sea." But the ploy proved ruinous for the South. While Sherman was undeterred from his scorched-earth campaign, Hood and his troops charged headlong into catastrophe. In this compelling account, Wiley Sword illustrates the poor command decisions and reckless pride that made a disaster of the Army of Tennessee's final campaign. From Spring Hill, where they squandered an early advantage, Hood and his troops launched an ill-fated attack on the neighboring town of Franklin. The disastrous battle came to be known as the "Gettysburg of the West." But worse was to come as Hood pressed on to Nashville, where his battered troops suffered the worst defeat of the entire war. Winner of the Fletcher Pratt Award for best work of nonfiction about the Civil War, The Confederacy's Last Hurrah chronicles the destruction of the South's second largest army. "Narrated with brisk attention to the nuances of strategy-and with measured solemnity over the waste of life in war," it is a groundbreaking work of scholarship told with authority and compassion ( Kirkus Reviews ). "Sword compellingly re-creates the heroism, missed chances, political backbiting, and flawed Rebel leadership underlying the outcome at these killing grounds. . . . Narrated with brisk attention to the nuances of strategy-and with measured solemnity over the waste of life in war." - Kirkus Reviews "This is the fullest, most judicious narrative produced to date on the mortal wounding of the Confederacy's second principal army. The book also ranks among the best narratives of Union activities in that climactic campaign for control of Tennessee." -James Robertson, The News Leader (Richmond) "A blockbuster . . . Narrative history at its best." -Edwin C. Bearss, chief historian emeritus, National Park Service "Civil War history superbly reported by a master storyteller. Thoroughly researched, rich in drama and detail, rendered in vivid colors with flesh-and-blood characters-just as it occurred." -Rod Gragg, author of Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher "By far the best book written on Hood's Tennessee campaign. Sword's description of the Confederate tragedy at Franklin is superb; it could serve as a model for painting combat in words." -Albert Castel, author of Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864 "A masterful combination of historical fact and human interest . . . both brilliantly informative and deeply moving." -Richard Wheeler, author of Sherman's March "The best book ever written on the campaign. There is no way anyone can write a better one." -Thomas Y. Cartwright, curator, The Carter House, Franklin, Tennessee Wiley Sword (1937-2015) was an award-winning author and historian. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Sword spent six decades amassing one of the nation's most extensive private collections of Civil War memorabilia. He wrote many books on the subject, including The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin , and Nashville (1992), which won the Fletcher Pratt Award for best work of nonfiction about the Civil War, Mountains Touched with Fire: Chattanooga Besieged, 1863 (1995), and Southern Invincibility: A History of the Confederate Heart (1999). President Washington's Indian War: The Struggle for the Old Northwest, 1790-1795 (1985) was nominated for the Pulitzer, Parkman, Bancroft, and Western Heritage Prizes. In 2015, Sword's collection of more than one thousand soldiers' letters and other artifacts was acquired by the Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg, Virginia.


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