Mini Book Review – The Crater by John Cannan

Abraham LincolnI hope everyone is having a great holiday break. I’ll be back with more on Nikola Tesla later, but here’s a mini book review of The Crater by John Cannan (just published on Goodreads).

Author John Cannan brings us into what became a disastrous assault by Union forces on the Confederate fortifications at Petersburg, Virginia in June 1864. A dubious idea from the beginning – explode 8000 pounds of gunpowder in a mine dug under the Confederate positions, then rush into the crater – the animosity between Generals Burnside and Meade assured the idea would turn out to be poorly executed. Cannan does an excellent job giving us an inside view of the communications between the two commanders and their subordinates, the faulty design, the insanity of sending brigade after brigade into what amounted to a dead end, and the inevitable conclusion. Brief, but informative, the book provides a good introduction to what Ulysses S. Grant would later call “a stupendous failure.”

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David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity. You can order a signed copy directly from me, download the ebook at, and find hard copies exclusively at Barnes and Noble bookstores.

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