Bloody Roads South


This is Noah Andre Trudeau’s book about the Overland Campaign.  The book makes an excellent supplemental reading to other studies of the campaign, such as Gordon Rhea’s four volumes or Mark Grimsley’s one-volume book.  This is not the book to go to, though, if you seek an understanding of the campaign.  Trudeau’s strength is that he’s combed through the various memoirs and reports on the battle and has weaved a narrative that incorporates an incredible number of these firsthand accounts.  What we get is a chronological story of the campaign told by those who lived through it.  The book is very light on historical analysis, and it needs more maps.  While one can get a full story of the campaign from Rhea and can understand the basics of the campaign by reading Grimsley’s book, Trudeau’s book gives you the human accounts.

While the book does have an excellent bibliography at the end, it is marred, in my opinion, by the absence of footnotes or end notes detailing where each quotation or vignette was found.

The narrative is very compelling and follows both armies in a chronological format throughout the campaign.  In my opinion this book is best read after reading one of the other studies of the campaign to give a fuller picture of what the soldiers experienced.


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