Fanny & Joshua

The Enigmatic Lives of Frances Caroline Adams and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Diane Monroe Smith

Joshua Chamberlain has fascinated historians and readers ever since his service in the Civil War caused his commanding officers to sit up and take notice when the young professor was on the field. What makes a man a gifted soldier and natural leader? In this compelling book, Diane Monroe Smith argues that finding the answer requires a consideration of Chamberlain’s entire life, not just his few years on the battlefield. Truly understanding Chamberlain is impossible, Smith maintains, without exploring the life of Joshua’s soul mate and wife of almost fifty years, Fanny. In this dual biography, Fanny emerges as a bright, talented woman who kept Professor, General, and then Governor Chamberlain on his toes. But you don’t have to take Smith’s word for it. Liberally quoting from years of correspondence, the author invites you to judge for yourself.

Cover Image of Fanny & Joshua: The Enigmatic Lives of Frances Caroline Adams and Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
Paper: $35 | E-book: $34.99
ISBN-13: 9781611684391
Pages: 432 | Size: 6.25 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: April 16, 2013


  • Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain has become a Civil War icon, and deservedly so. But while we know a great deal about his military exploits and his later public career, we have known little of his personality and inner life. This biography of a marriage humanizes both Joshua and Fanny Chamberlain. It explores the trouble and triumphs of two real people who come to life in this intimate portrait drawn from hundreds of family letters.

    Dr. James McPherson
    Pulitzer Prize winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom
  • Up until now Fanny Chamberlain has been a dimly seen, often negatively resented figure. Now Diane Monroe Smith has cleared away the mists and brought her to life with a wealth of hitherto unpublished letters and other information that also adds considerable illumination to Joshua’s life and character. A tremendous contribution to Chamberlain scholarship and literature.

    John Pullen
    author of The Twentieth Maine and Joshua L. Chamberlain: A Hero’s Life and Legacy

About the Author

DIANE MONROE SMITH’s most recent book is Command Conflicts in Grant’s Overland Campaign: Ambition and Animosity in the Army of the Potomac.

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