"The acclaimed author of Empire of the Summer Moon and Rebel Yell drills down on the agonizingly slow, murderous crawl that was the last year of the Civil War. At this point in the conflict, all thoughts of the romance of war had been washed away by rivers of blood, leaving the players—Grant, Lee, Sherman, Lincoln, and, surprisingly but fittingly, Clara Barton—exposed and etched like the figures in a Greek tragedy."
—The Daily Beast
"Samuel C. Gwynne is an historian with a novelist’s heart. Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War, will be received enthusiastically by history buffs and all others who enjoy a story well-told.”
—The Civil War Courier
"Too many Civil War books drill so deeply into the conflict that one can lose sight of what it all means. That’s not the case with Gwynne’s lucid and gripping account, in which he strings together a series of vignettes and profiles of wartime figures in novelistic fashion to tell the story of the war’s tumultuous closing months, through Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and Jefferson Davis’ humiliating capture in Georgia."
"Hymns of the Republic is an engrossing examination of the evolution of Union strategy during the Civil War, focusing on a variety of participants from well-known leader such Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman to private citizens like Clara Barton who sought to relieve the suffering wrought by the conflict. Author S.C. Gwynne brings an immediacy to his retelling of familiar events that makes the story seem new."
—Argunners War History Magazine
"With an evocative, yet accessible and easily-readable prose, Gwynne brings the reader from the promotion of U.S. Grant as lieutenant general through the bloody campaigning and ends his book in the wake of Lincoln’s assassination. Between the pages Gwynne highlights the importance of the United States Colored Troops (USCTs) in the Federal war effort, detailing the large mountain of obstacles those men had to climb just to prove themselves."
—Emerging Civil War
"S. C. Gwynne’s “Hymns of the Republic” is an excellent book about the last, vicious, uncertain year of the Civil War, beginning with the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864 and ending with the proper burial of the dead in Andersonville Cemetery in May 1865."
—3 Quarks Daily
“Anyone with an interest in history, the Civil War, or the lives of those who lived it will thoroughly enjoy "Hymns of the Republic: The Story of the Final Year of the American Civil War" by S.C. Gwynne. This is a must buy!”
—Another Opinion with Paul Hosse
"The reviewer applauds Sam for “[c]reating suspense in recounting familiar events marks real talent in a historian; […] covering in detail events of the Civil War’s final year and giving his readers a real sense of wonder, even thrill. In vivid, bloody prose, he lays out the landscapes of the war’s culminating battles, not sparing the reader the gut-punch of inhuman horror such slaughter creates.”
—Star Review from Booklist
“[A] riveting Civil War history giving politics and combat equal attention.”
—Star Review from Kirkus
“Gwynne excels in tightly focused storytelling, beginning most chapters with a well-chosen, often curiosity-provoking photograph. This is a must-read for Civil War enthusiasts.”
“The action of the story which focuses on the fourth and final year of the Civil War is incredible. If you are a fan of this period of American history, then reading this book is a must. Gwynne is clearly a master of nonfiction writing."
—Men Reading Books
“This brilliantly told account of the final year of the Civil War brings to life the vivid personalities who struggled for control of America’s destiny. At once sweeping and intimate, Hymns of the Republic is a masterwork of history.”
—Lawrence Wright, author of God Save Texas
“With Hymns of the Republic, acclaimed author S. C. Gwynne brings the final year of the Civil War to life in the fashion of literary giants Shelby Foote and Bruce Catton. In gripping and poignant prose, Gwynne synthesizes the myriad tragic events into a compelling tale of epic scale. Writing with compassion and rare insight, he also offers vigorous and deeply human portrayals of Lincoln, Grant, Lee, Sherman and less familiar figures whose actions determined the trajectory of the war’s brutal last year. Unquestionably, Hymns of the Republic is one of the most stirring Civil War books to appear in years.”
—Peter Cozzens, author of The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West and Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign
“With Hymns of the Republic, S.C. Gwynne has found the unthinkable: A fresh take on the Civil War. By compressing the narrative into the conflict's fraught and frantic last year, Gwynne breathes new life into a tale we thought we knew. Gwynne's carefully interwoven stories build upon each other like a Greek tragedy. Here, in vivid, muscular language, is the final unraveling of our most uncivil war.”
—Hampton Sides, bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and On Desperate Ground
“S.C. Gwynne's riveting book, Hymns of the Republic, finally made me realize that one cannot fully understand America without understanding the American Civil War. Gwynne's work is deeply researched and yet written like the best kind of fiction...it stopped me in my tracks. Gwynne has to be one of the very best writers working today.”
—Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe and The Perfect Storm