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Battle Flag [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Bernard Cornwell
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1995 Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series (Book 3)
Third volume in the Starbuck Chronicles. The battle for control of Richmond, the Confederate capital, continues through the hot summer of 1862. Available for the first time as a downloadable audio file. Captain Nate Starbuck, yankee fighting for the Southern cause, has to survive and win with his ragged Company in the bitter struggle not only against the formidable Northern army but equally in opposition to his own superiors who would like nothing better than to see Nate Starbuck dead and dishonoured. Starbuck's courage is tested to the limit in his desperate manoeuvres to retrieve his own and the Legion's honour in this the thrid narrative of Bernard Cornwell's sweeping epic of the American Civil War.

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Review

"A superb series." -- San Jose Mercury News

"Cornwell is more than a great storyteller.... An excellent history of the Civil War in the eastern theater." -- Flint Journal

"The best thing to hit Civil War fiction... one of the finest authors of military historical fiction today." -- Washington Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC TV for seven years, mostly as Producer on the Nationwide programme, before taking charge of the Current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television's Thames at Six. Married to an American, he now lives in the United States.

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CAPTAIN NATHANIEL STARBUCK FIRST SAW HIS NEW commanding general when the Faulconer Legion forded the Rapidan. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak Third Entry in a Weak Series Dec 10 2002
By A. Ross
Format:Paperback
Cornwell's terribly disappointing Civil War series (Rebel, Copperhead) here continues the trials and triumphs of Nathaniel Starbuck, Northerner turned Confederate rebel. The story here concerns Nate's rise in the ranks, along with the stunning transformation of the drunkard Col. Swindon, while his old best friend Adam finds refuge in a Yankee cavalry unit. The battle sequences-most notably Cedar Mountain and the second Manassas-are typical Cornwell, blood, guts, smoke, terror, and mayhem everywhere. But ultimately the series falls flat because the characters aren't very compelling, and thus we don't really care about them. Some readers seem to find Starbuck a wonderful creation, a troubled soul, struggling with his Northern heritage, God, morality, and soforth. I personally don't get it, Starbuck is a spoiled teenager turned soldier mostly as an act of reflexive rebellion against his father, and there's little to recommend him as a hero-he's certainly no Sharpe.
Another problem is that characters from previous books seem to wax and wane to the point of inconsistency. For example, Nate's archnemesis, Gen. Faulconer all but disappears from this book, as does Nate's Sgt. Harper substitute Sgt. Treadwell, not to mention any of the ladies who figured so prominently in the two previous books. Meanwhile, Nate's father gets a much more prominent role, and new characters are introduced, like the black servant Lucifer, and the nasty Billy Blythe, who is a virtual reincarnation of Sgt. Obediah Hakeswill from Cornwell's Sharpe series. One the whole Cornwell's writing is just a bit sloppier and more careless in this series. For example, in all three books he's had Starbuck spy a young soldier in battle reloading an unfired rifle and stop him, giving him a dead soldier's rifle instead. I mean... come on!
In any event, the series is far below Cornwell's Sharpe series, but I suppose I'll keep reading just to see if it improves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars His battles are always good Sept. 19 2000
By Allan
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As I said to my father when we were discussing the Starbuck series, "Ah well, at least we can rely on Bernard to give us a good battle".
The Starbuck books are good, and had anyone else's name appeared on the cover they might even qualify for an excellent rating. But they're not worthy of Bernard Cornwell. The problem really is Nate, the lead character. Or maybe it's with me and my dear old dad: neither of us can get a handle on him. Nate Starbuck's a ditherer who is also a fine leader. He's certainly confused morally. His position as a Northerner in the Southern armies wasn't all that unique as to raise as much rancour as it does...
Not the best book Cornwell's written, by a long chalk. There are only two bright spots: the battle scenes, which are vintage Cornwell; and I love the appearance of Sharpe's son. I'd love to know a lot more about his adventures!
No - give the American Civil War / Starbuck series the elbow, and write to Bernard Cornwell asking for more Sharpe.
Or pretend to yourself that someone else wrote the book... You'll enjoy it a lot more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good entertainment, mediorce history March 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I continue to read and enjoy Cornwell's Civil War series. I do however, have problems with these books in two areas: 1) the same themes recur to the point of monotony; and 2) Cornwell is not all that competent historically.
With respect to the latter, he makes several errors in _Battle Flag_. These seem not so much due to ignorance, carelessness, or convenience, as to a desire by Cornwell to re-characterize history to fit his own prejudices.
For example, he attributes to Jackson an active role in troop management during the battles at Cedar Mountain and Second Manassas. The truth is quite the opposite; Jackson remained largely passive during both of those battles. That was one of his few notable weak points during the entire campaign.
Cornwell's treatment here is odd, in that he supposedly based the historical portions of this novel largely on John Hennessy's fine history, _Return to Bull Run_, which details Jackson's passivity during those battles at some length, calling his performance "mediocre".
If a bit of gratuitous generosity on Jackson's behalf can be excused, the unnecessary swipe Cornwell takes at Longstreet in the Historical Notes section is not so easily forgiven. Cornwell makes the statement that "Lee's victory might have been more complete had Longstreet attacked [sooner]." Hennessy explicitly expresses the opposite opinion: Longstreet and Lee independently choose the exact same moment for the attack, and it was at that precise moment when the Union forces were at their most vulnerable.
Cornwell is, in essence, another Jackson/Lee groupie who thinks all faults belong to Longstreet -- and he's willing to re-write history in order to advance his prejuduces. Stuff like that is fine for arguing about over beers, but it's dishonest.
Corwell's books are fun to read though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pushing On April 19 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"I think I died and went to hell. Maybe that's it Colonel. Maybe none of this is real. We're all in hell"
I cannot rate this book without talking about the brilliance of the whole series. Cornwell takes you from your reading room, and teleports you back to a simpler time. And you find out that it's not so simple. Set against the backdrop of the Eastern Theatre in the American Civil War, he portrays the massive carnage and greatest bravery in minute detail. You actually hear the cannons, and smell the rotting flesh of the wounded. Yet, the main plot does not take place amongst the gunfire outside. But, rather, within. It is a story of a soul, and his struggle with God, man, who he is, and what he stands for. Amidst the shouting, crying, blasting, and dieing...is a poor heart, searching for peace. I found Cornwell's protrayal of Nate Starbuck to be no less than perfect. I found myself rooting, questioning, hoping, and praying for this fictional character. For, I saw myself in Nate. The same questions, fears, and desires. When done, I walked away from this story with a different outlook on life, liberty, and what's truly important. As will you.
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