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Never Call Retreat  By  cover art

Never Call Retreat

By: Newt Gingrich,William R. Forstchen
Narrated by: Boyd Gaines
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen conclude their inventive trilogy with this remarkable answer to the great "what if" of the American Civil War: Could the South have indeed won? 

After his great victories at Gettysburg and Union Mills, General Robert E. Lee's attempt to bring the war to a final conclusion by attacking Washington, D.C., fails. However, in securing Washington, the remnants of the valiant Union Army of the Potomac, under the command of the impetuous General Dan Sickles, is trapped and destroyed. For Lincoln there is only one hope left: that General Ulysses S. Grant can save the Union cause. 

It is now August 22, 1863. Lincoln and Grant are facing a collapse of political will to continue the fight to preserve the Union. Lee, desperately short of manpower, must conserve his remaining strength while maneuvering for the killing blow that will take Grant's army out of the fight and, at last, bring a final and complete victory for the South. 

Pursuing the remnants of the defeated Army of the Potomac up to the banks of the Susquehanna, Lee is caught off balance when news arrives that General Ulysses S. Grant, in command of more than 70,000 men, has crossed that same river, a hundred miles to the northwest at Harrisburg. As General Grant brings his Army of the Susquehanna into Maryland, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia maneuvers for position. Grant first sends General George Armstrong Custer on a mad dash to block Lee's path toward Frederick and with it control of the crucial B&O railroad, which moves troops and supplies. The two armies finally collide in Central Maryland, and a bloody week-long battle ensues along the banks of Monocacy Creek. This must be the "final" battle for both sides. 

In Never Call Retreat, Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen bring all of their critically acclaimed talents to bear in what is destined to become an immediate classic.

©2005 Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen (P)2005 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

"A swiftly paced and authentically grounded novel....The authors' research is impeccable, and their presentation brings events down to a personal level, and, as in any good alternate vision of history, the reader is left believing it could really have happened this way." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Never Call Retreat

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Never Call Retreat (Unabridged)

The action is first rate, if you enjoyed the first two books then you won't want to miss this one.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

This is the best series around!!!!

Well, very well, researched and realistic. I think it shows how a very small event can have such ernormous effect on history. I do not think that there is anything that is out of the realm in this book. Do yourself a favor and listen to this whole series...

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible imagination

This is a great 'alternative' ending to the Civil War. It reads so true with historically correct personalities, some who survived the actual war don't survive the book. The book is also breathtaking in its geographic accuracy. I happen to be in the area while listening to the book and was able to drive around some of the battle sites....and they are in real life as described in the book.

1 person found this helpful

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great story

loved the overall story. it was great fast paced. the only problem I've had with was inconsistency of rank of the some . Ely Parker was colonel in the second book and he was major in this book. with no explanation.

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Alternate History Writer’s Guilt

Although the writing and prose was just as wonderful as the first two novels, the storyline of this novel struck me as utterly fantastical and ridiculous. The writers clearly suffered some form of writer’s guilt where, having made a scenario in which the South comes perilously close to winning, the North was instead made the victor instead. This was supported by completely implausible events such as the sudden use of armoured railroad artillery in the offensive form, the complete sabotage of railroad lines due to ‘patriotism,’ an omnipotent character in the form of Grant, ridiculous escapades by Custer, and of course, the 3rd resurrection of the Army of the Potomac. The unlikely and unprecedented battle of military forces to nearly the last man on both sides, combined with Lee waiting or pulling himself back into a trap while knowing it was a trap, is utterly absurd. The use of canal boats to sail up and down a canal ignores the requirement for supply and stores and assumes there was enough boats in DC to accommodate. Finally, the overall picture, where the Western Theater remains virtually unchanged despite the removal of an Army from the field and the earlier assertion that ‘they were placed in the defensive’ is, again, absurd. The civil war ending two years early as a result of multiple complete victories by the Confederate Army simply because the will and love of the Northern people for the Union, is nothing short of Patriotic Propaganda. Sorry but this was painful to listen to and I only completed it in order to determine how the North somehow won after multiple catastrophic defeats. The answer was simple: fairytale magic.

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A truly great series

This audiobook series his bed very moving to me in that I was able to see real characters with their flaws, weaknesses and positive attributes. I now feel that I have a much better understanding of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant and Robert E Lee along with their staff. The Civil War was a very complex war with many factors in play and this series does and excellent job of demonstrating the push tug and pull in our country during the time of slavery. I came away from this series with a better understanding of my countries past and perhaps it’s future.

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Well written and well read by great voices...

A story of what could have been and isn't that with all history. One decision to change the course of history. The story may change but the honorable men of that time stay the same. Well written would recommend to all who study the Civil War...

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I’d have given it a five but for a few things.

I really like the idea of looking at history and saying “what if”, which this book does very well. There were just a few things in the story that to me were either incongruous or contrived that kept me from giving it 5 stars. However Boyd Gaines did a masterful job of bringing the characters to life.

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  • JW
  • 09-11-18

Excellent book.

Great content, excellent presentation. It brings you side by side with the characters as they struggle through the war.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Aim, Ready, Fire...bloody

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

There is no real plot to this story. I don’t consider it true historical fiction because there is no real character development.

I couldn’t finish because it was monotonous. Every battle was exactly the same.