We’re pleased to announce that Robert C. Conner’s fascinating new biography General Gordon Granger: The Savior of Chickamauga and the Man Behind “Juneteenth” is now available!
The first full-length biography written on this Civil War general sheds light on Granger’s career and life as a commander who saved the Union army from defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, and went on to play major roles in the Chattanooga and Mobile campaigns.
To learn more about this work, we talked with author Robert C. Conner to learn about his fascination with history and the research that went into the writing of this book.
What fascinates you about revisiting the past and bringing it to life in a book?
It has something in common with the journalism I enjoyed doing for many years, i.e. finding out the truth and getting it down in an accessible way for the public. Also, as the biographer David McCullough said recently in a TV interview, writing history and biography involves the use of one’s imagination, not to make things up but to put oneself in the place of people who were different from us, and lived in different, equally complicated circumstances.
When and how did you become interested in Military History?
I’ve always been interested, because of its obvious drama, intensity and significance.
Could you tell us a bit about any history of military service in your family?
Two of my ancestors, a father and son both called Cornelius Conner, served on the American side in the Revolutionary War.
My Uncle Joseph Gaffney, born in Brooklyn to Irish immigrants, was killed on Jan. 21, 1945 in the Ardennes counter-offensive, serving in Patton’s Third Army. He was 19-and-a-half years old.
My daughter is currently a sergeant in the U.S. Army, and has served two tours in Afghanistan. My son-in-law was recently honorably discharged after serving three deployments in Afghanistan.
How much research did you do for this book?
I did a lot of research, much of it online. While Internet sites, even useful ones like Wikipedia, can be unreliable, there is now an incredible amount of information available free online, such as the memoirs of Civil War generals and the complete Official Records of the Union Army.
What do you like most about your book? Why should we read it?
It’s a great story, and Granger is a great character. The Civil War era is full of them, most of them obscure, yet what these people were doing was of enormous significance.
Order your own copy of General Gordon Granger here.