CrossReaders Book Review: They Met at Shiloh by Phillip M. Bryant

CrossReaders Book Review: They Met at Shiloh by Phillip M. Bryant

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Title: They Met at Shiloh

Author: Phillip M. Bryant

Rating: 5 stars

About the Book

Pittsburg Landing was a place at peace–one that never expected to be the site for one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Peace is shattered as Confederate and Federal troops meet on the fields and farms surrounding a tiny Methodist church. In the midst of death and destruction, friendships form as four soldiers struggle to survive the battle.

Forced to leave his position as minister, Phillip Pearson knows his life is in danger, but not just from the Confederates. The Harper family, incensed at Pearson’s refusal to bury a philandering son, has a vendetta against him that is played out on the battlefield.

Demoted from his command by a West Point graduate, Capt.Michael Greirson is forced to choose between ambition and duty.

When a bumbling youth becomes his shadow, Private Robert Mitchell gains an unlikely friend–something that has been missing from his life. Afraid to trust, he is forced to confront those fears and depend on others in the heat of battle.

War is an adventure to Private Stephen Murdoch and his best friend, William Banks. For months they dream of the glory of war before volunteering together. On the eve of battle, they sense something momentous is about to happen. Their idealistic views fade in the blood of their fallen comrades.


They Met at Shiloh by Phillip M. Bryant was a most interesting book and I liked the way that the story was told from the viewpoint of the enlisted men and not the viewpoint of the generals and other leaders. All war is sad but for me the Civil War was extremely sad for young boys, some not even yet a teenager, joined the army thinking that they were in for a great adventure and that the war would be over in a few months. Those who did not die in battle or from other causes, lived through four long years of bloody battles in which friends and family members were killed or seriously wounded. Most of the soldiers were poorly trained and in my opinion, at times it seemed as if the generals did not know all that much about what was going on. Of course we have to remember that during this war, instant communication was not even a far fetched dream. I know that this was a novel but at times I forgot that fact for everything seemed so real and it read more like an interesting history book. I have to say that I enjoyed the last half of the book more than the first half. It seemed there was more dialogue between the men and I also liked the interaction between the soldiers of the north and the ones from the south. At the end, it really did not matter which side they were on for most of their friends had been killed or suffered injuries that would be with them for life.

It is evident that the author did a great deal of research before writing this book and this enabled him to made all the characters come to life. Battle scenes were so well described that I felt as if I were behind a tree watching what was going on. The only suspense in the story was about which of the characters would make it home alive since the ending of the war is a known fact. The author did a great job in telling how different cannonballs were used, how battles were fought, and how the soldiers lived and survived. There were a large number of characters which at times I had trouble following but at the end it all came together with the story being mainly about four friends, two from the north and two from the south. I have read histories of how the soldiers lined up and marched toward each other killing those in the front and then the second row would start shooting. This has always seemed so unbelievable to me but I guess that is the way wars were fought for centuries. Something that brought tears to my eyes when reading the book was when brother was facing brother, one in blue and one in gray. And so many times a soldier was wearing a coat from a dead soldier from the other side and this often resulted in his death from a soldier/friend who did not see his face but only the color of his coat.

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the battle that took place at Shiloh and how the enlisted men lived and survived the war. The author does not take sides but presents the facts in an easy to read novel.

Thanks to the author, Phillip M. Bryant, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

[easyazon-link asin=”B005FCAIDW” locale=”us”]Check out They Met At Shiloh (The Shiloh Series) on Amazon![/easyazon-link]

This review was submitted by: Deanna Gottreu – please visit her website at

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