Jeff Shaara continues his magnificent writing  with another Civil War historical novel.  A Blaze of Glory takes the reader to the western theater of the war and the battle of Shiloh. It is the first of  a new Shaara trilogy.  Jeff is the son of  Michael Shaara, author of  the Pulitzer Prize winning Killer Angels. 

Gordon’s Good Reads last reviewed Shaara’s The Final Storm , the World War II battle of Okinawa. (June, 2011)   A Blaze of Glory uses the same Shaara style by viewing the horror of battle through characters with boots on the ground. In this case, a Confederate Cavalry Lieutenant and a Union Private. Shaara holds nothing back in the vivid portrayal of the hand to combat and carnage that occurred when armies lined in formation across from one another enduring volleys of musket fire, artillery canister and grape-shot. He captures egos and indecision as well as bravery and heroism.

” The fight around Shiloh Church had come from the plans and ambitions of generals, and no matter the disaster of that, it was the foot soldiers who would still do the deed, who would be asked to decide the fate of the town, of the country, and more important to many, the fate of the men around them.”  You will walk in the footsteps of Lieutenant James Seeley and Private Fritz “Dutchie” Bauer.

April 6, 1862, 100,000 troops on the field of battle, 25,000 casualties,  including the death of a Confederate General that many say could have determined the outcome of the Civil War and the fate of the Union. Egos abound!  Grant, Beauregard, Johnston, Buell and Sherman are all present. A surprise Confederate attack on superior Union forces. Victory is in hand and then, a stunning decision that is the subject of discussion by Civil War historians to this day. Did  a need for personal glory determine the outcome at Shiloh?

Several years ago Shaara completed the initial Civil war trilogy begun by his father’s Killer Angels by writing Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure. This new trilogy which begins with A Blaze of Glory will concentrate on the war in the western theater and follow Grant’s rise to his appointment by President Lincoln as General in Chief of all Union Forces.

Jeff  Shaara’s historical novels on World War II in addition to The Final Storm ( Okinawa and the dropping of the atomic bomb) are: No Less than Victory ( The Battle of the Bulge, and the fall of the Third Reich)The Steel Wave, ( The Normandy Invasion) and The Rising Tide ( The North Africa and Italy campaign).  He also wrote Gone for Soldiers a novel on the war with Mexico and two books on the American revolution Rise to Rebellion and The Glorious Cause. In Gone for Soldiers you will meet many of the Mexican War officers that later became the generals in Shaara’s Civil War novels.



Neil Barofsky’s book  BAILOUT An Inside Account of How Washington Abandoned Main Street while rescuing Wall Street, leaves no doubt that in his mind the American taxpayers have struck out and the big banks continue their winning streak. He also casts a large vote of no-confidence in Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.


From December 2008 until March of 2011 Barofsky served as the Special Inspector General in charge of the oversight of TARP ( SIG-TRAP).  The primary purpose of  SIG-TARP, created by an act of Congress, was to monitor the flow of TARP funds to prevent fraud and misuse of the appropriations.  Barofsky,  appointed by President Bush was later re-appointed by President Obama. His three years of overseeing and reporting to Congress on the administration of TARP played out in an almost daily adversarial relationship with Treasury Secretary Geithner.

In a book, the first chapter of which is titled  Fraud 101! , Barofsky’s conclusions come as no surprise to the reader.  In a prescient view on the day that he accepted the assignment he writes, ” I had no idea what I was in for and what I’d learn. I hadn’t yet understood the degree to which the entire crisis was unleashed by the greed of a small handful of executives who exploited a financial system that guaranteed that no matter what risks they took, they’d be able to keep the profits and lavish pay those risks generated with the assurance that if their outsized bets went wrong, the U.S. taxpayer would cover their loses. ” 

BAILOUT  is well written, to the point and Barofsky  successfully reduces complex issues in layman’s terms.  The book is also a lesson in how Washington insiders operate and why the system is broken. It is a disturbing read, not only because of  enlightenment about what went wrong with TARP, but moreover, Barofsky makes a case that nothing has changed and that the banking system is heading back down the same disastrous road. It is important to remember that the author resigned from his position and was not fired, which adds objectivity to the writing

Barofsky holds out little hope that the watered down Dodd- Frank legislation will make a difference. “As recent history has repeatedly shown, through massive campaign contributions, relentless lobbying, and multi-million dollar payouts awaiting government officials who join Wall Street firms, no legislation can confer the necessary fortitude upon the regulators. ”

Not an optimistic outlook for the nation’s ability to deal with financial institutions that are “Too Big To Fail,” particularly when some used TARP money to purchase additional banks!

BAILOUT is an important read, particularly during this election cycle.   Ironically TARP is not a campaign issue but Barofsky leaves little doubt that ” To Big To Fail” remains a looming disaster for the U.S. economy and American taxpayers.

Another important book on this general subject is Reckless Endangerment by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner. See gordonsgoodreads October 19, 2011.