I did not like this story as much as Gogol's other stories. I do not like that the main character is so attracted to starting wars. I read in the afterward, however, that this was kind of a story of cultural celebration kind of like the Illiad. I suppose you could compare it to the King Arthur stories in a way. I can understand that, but I did not enjoy reading it as much as Gogol's other stories.
Overall, I thought that Gogol's stories are thoroughly enjoyable. I appreciate the fact that he gives those in the society that are invisible visibility. Gary G48 brought up the fact that some people argue that the story of Taras Bulba is anti-semitic. I can see why people would see that. I also do not necessarily think that Gogol was anti-semitic even if his major character was. I think there are assumptions about Jewish people written in that were Gogol's assumptions. I do not think that they were mean-spirited, however. I think they were just assumptions of the culture that Gogol was in and he sincerely thought that they were attributes of being Jewish. I really think that Gogol was trying to show Jewish people in a positive light, despite the fact that he did not question the stereotypes, necessarily. In fact, Yakel becomes a major player at the end. And he makes it possible for Bulba to be reconnected to his son in a way.
Reading this book definitely makes me want to seek out more stories by Gogol. He was an interesting, creative writer.