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Battle Flag Hardcover – Large Print, May 1 1995


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Hardcover, Large Print, May 1 1995
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 626 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Pr; large type edition edition (May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786203994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786203994
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 839 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,103,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
CAPTAIN NATHANIEL STARBUCK FIRST SAW HIS NEW commanding general when the Faulconer Legion forded the Rapidan. Read the first page
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross on Dec 10 2002
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 By Allan on Sept. 19 2000
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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This serise is the best thing to happen tocivil war fiction since "The Killer Angel's". Nate and his crew suffer much in this book, but in the end they come out on top just like always.
This book has something for everyone, from the old Cornwell fan to the new Inductee. You get humor, great batttles and even some musing on the meaning of life.
Overall-Wonderful story, wonderful serise
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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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