"In the first major biography of Stonewall Jackson in more than thirty years, Byron Farwell's research into the life of the most charismatic figure of the Civil War reveals a quirky, obsessive, dark personality radically different from the storybook version that grew up after Jackson's untimely death in 1863." "Jackson was an odd country boy who conquered his limitations of education and intellect by excluding any activity not crucial to his work, who showed an almost pathological indifference to danger during the Mexican War, who spent most of his career in disputes and litigation with his professional colleagues. An interesting sidelight on the private Jackson is that his sister, to whom he wrote almost daily for many years, divorced her husband for his secessionist beliefs." "Of Jackson's military genius, of his ability to extract superhuman effort from his troops, there can be no doubt. But the flaws here are fascinating as well: he did not follow orders precisely; he fell asleep at the oddest moments, as in church, or in staff meetings with General Lee; he did not communicate well with subordinate officers; and when Jackson was mortally wounded at Chancellorsville on the verge of a major victory, the advantage was lost because no one knew what he intended to do. One of the most controversial aspects of the book is Farwell's analysis of what would have happened had Jackson survived to fight at Gettysburg and beyond." "Farwell's lively narrative is balanced by careful research on every battle and facet of Jackson's life. The result is an honest, often unflattering, but nonetheless deeply sympathetic portrait of this legendary commander."--BOOK JACKET.