Bust Hell Wide Open: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest

  • Bust Hell Wide Open: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest

By Samuel W. Mitcham

Some called him "the wizard of the saddle." Union General William Tecumseh Sherman damned him as "that devil Forrest." Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee said he was the greatest military genius of the war.

This giant of a man–six foot two, two hundred and ten pounds—was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a general who killed no less than thirty men in man to man combat in the Civil War. He also hunted down a panther when he was fifteen, fought a gunfight in what was then the Western frontier, and amassed a business fortune, which he spent on his troops, after growing up on a ramshackle farm—responsible, as a teenager, for the well–being of his widowed mother and nine siblings.

Gallant, tough, chivalrous, Forrest was the epitome of a Confederate cavalryman, but without the polish and education of a Virginia aristocrat.

He was also controversial—in his own time and ours: charged with losing control of his men and allowing a massacre to happen at Fort Pillow and serving as the first elected leader of the Ku Klux Klan (a group he later helped to disband and disavow).

There have been other biographies of Forrest, but none like this one by Professor Samuel W. Mitcham, which taps all the latest scholarship while approaching Forrest not just as a celebrated general whose campaigns are studied to this day, but as a man in full, a man raised and shaped by the Tennessee frontier, with a conscience sharpened by his devoutly Christian wife.

Forrest said he would "bust hell wide open" rather than surrender to the Federals during the siege of Fort Donelson. In Samuel W. Mitcham, Forrest has found the perfect biographer to capture his defiant and courageous spirit.

About the Author

Thomas A. Bogar has taught theatre for forty years, most recently at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. He is also the author of John E. Owens (2002), American Presidents Attend the Theatre (2006), and numerous journal articles. He has served as a judge for Washington, D.C.'s Helen Hayes Theatre Awards, and lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Regnery History (October 4, 2016)
Price: 29.99
ISBN: 9781621575931

Bust Hell Wide Open: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest

  • Product Code: 9781621575931
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Tags: Nathan Bedford Forrest, Mitcham, Civil War