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Diehard Rebels: The Confederate Culture of Invincibility Hardcover – November 15, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (November 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820328367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820328362
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,833,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Diehard Rebels is a major contribution to the history of the Confederacy and the history of Southern culture. It offers an important corrective to the hindsight perspective that portrays an irreversible slide down the slippery slope of demoralization and defeat after the twin defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg."--James McPherson, author of This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War


"Phillips persuasively answers a Civil War mystery. Why did so many Confederates doggedly keep fighting when any rational observer would have recognized looming defeat? Examining a most impressive array of sources, he finds that religious faith, cheerleading propaganda, admiration of the officer class, hatred of Yankees, military discipline, bonding in the ranks, stubborn denial of the obvious were all factors. Phillips eloquently and poignantly recounts the deprivations and sacrifices that were endured in vain hope of eventual victory. Every Civil War student, both the professional and lay reader, will find Diehard Rebels highly moving and tragic."--Bertram Wyatt-Brown, author of The Shaping of Southern Culture


"An important contribution to Confederate historiography in that it provides insight into the Southern will in the waning years of the war."--Charleston Post and Courier


"Phillips makes a very good case for the diehards' importance and invites further work on comparable sentiment among civilians in the Confederacy."--Gary Gallagher, American Historical Review


"Well written and copiously researched in the diaries, letters, and other papers of Confederate soldiers as well as in the secondary literature."--Journal of Mississippi History


“Persuasive and richly documented. . . . Highly original and constitute[s] important new contributions to the study of Civil War soldiers. . . . [Phillips] has succeeded admirably in building on previous scholarship while forging ahead on a number of fronts.”--H-CivWar


"This fine work will be of interest to Civil War historians, although it speaks most directly to broader issues of nineteenth-century Southern culture. . . . Phillips’s bold case for cultural continuity should contribute insightfully to that seemingly endless debate. And, like most good studies, Diehard Rebels will prompt as many questions as it answers."--Journal of Military History


"Chapter by chapter, Phillips vividly constructs the pillars of the invincibility culture: religious justification; stereotyping of the enemy; optimistic outlooks on endurance and the immediate war; and a cloudy view of what it would take to end the conflict. He routinely offers insight into how these factors shaped Confederate mentalities and the broader war effort. . . . The combination of Phillips's engaging writing style and viable primary accounts makes Diehard Rebels a quick and delightful read for anyone interested in Southern culture, the Civil War, and the ways in which the two intersect."--North Carolina Historical Review

About the Author

Jason Phillips is an associate professor of history at Mississippi State University. He has also taught at Texas A&M University.

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Henry Berry on January 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A mythos of invincibility was the source of the diehard experience of a significant proportion of Confederate military forces refusing to give up even though they suffered serious reversals and did not have the resources to ever overcome these. Decisive defeat at Gettysburg and Sherman's march through the South culminating in the capture of Atlanta were two such reversals coming after a couple of years of warfare during which the South had never managed to gain the upper hand despite some successes in early parts of the War.

"Elements that supported Confederate notions of invincibility--religion, stereotypes, combat, rumors, camaraderie, and more--formed the fabric of the diehard experience." Phillips--assistant professor of history at Mississippi State U.--treats these different facets of this mythos of invincibility with cultural study of the Southern states, reading of historical circumstances, military analysis, and also letters, battle reports, and newspaper stories both feeding into the myth and subtly questioning it. Demonization of Northern troops played with a belief in the superiority of the Southern soldier. Rumors trumped facts, as when reports circulated that New Orleans had been retaken. Slanted or incomplete newspaper articles were seized upon as gospel. Confederate soldiers deified their generals; and many generals and field officers developed strategies for prolonging combat as long as possible when a rational, objective assessment of circumstances would lead to the conclusion that defeat was inevitable.

Phillips' book is engaging and illuminating for bringing together diverse material in support of his topic; and in so doing, bringing out new perspectives on always interesting subjects such as cultural differences between North and South and the course of the Civil War.
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