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Short Synopsis
In Thunder at the Gates, Douglas R. Egerton offers a riveting new perspective on the Civil War as he chronicles the formation and battlefield triumphs of the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Infantry and the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry—regiments led by whites but composed of black men born free or into slavery.

Full Synopsis
Soon after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, abolitionists began to call for the creation of black regiments. At first, the South and most of the North responded with outrage; southerners promised to execute any black soldiers captured in battle, while many northerners claimed that blacks lacked the necessary courage. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, long the center of abolitionist fervor, launched one of the greatest experiments in American history.

In Thunder at the Gates, Douglas R. Egerton chronicles the formation and battlefield triumphs of the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Infantry and the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry—regiments led by whites but composed of black men born free or into slavery. He argues that the most important battles of all were won on the field of public opinion, for in fighting with distinction the regiments realized the long-derided idea of full and equal citizenship for blacks.

A stirring evocation of this transformative episode, Thunder at the Gates offers a riveting new perspective on the Civil War and its legacy.

"Narrator Sean Crisden speaks authoritatively about the men's courage as they risked everything for freedom. . . . Crisden effects a distinctive voice for each of the soldiers, giving him a unique identity." ---AudioFile

"A thoroughly researched, comprehensive look at the Civil War regiments who took the first step in the struggle to make their countrymen see them as intelligent, capable men." ---Kirkus

"This is a great book, worthy of the men who inspired it.” ---Elizabeth R. Varon, author of Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War

Thunder at the Gates

The Black Civil War Regiments that Redeemed America

Author Douglas R. Egerton

Narrated by Sean Crisden

Publication date Nov 1, 2016

Running time 13 hrs 12 min

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