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Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running during the Civil War Paperback – August 1, 1991


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Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running during the Civil War + Blockade Runners of the Confederacy + Confederate Blockade Runner 1861-65 (New Vanguard)
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Product Details

  • Series: Blockade Running During the Civil War
  • Paperback: 403 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (August 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872497992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872497993
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #883,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Red Harvest on October 4, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Stephen Wise, the author of Gate of Hell: Campaign for Charleston Harbor, 1863, has written another excellent book. This objective treatise about Confederate steam powered blockade running is thorough, without being exhausting to the reader. It covers the subject with ample maps, sketches/photos, tables and text. Summarizing from the book: nearly 300 steamers made 1300 attempts, of which 1,000 were successful. 221 vessels were captured or destroyed. The South imported 400,000 rifles (60%), 1/3rd of its lead, 2/3rd of its salt peter for gunpowder, as well as a great number of blankets, clothing, shoes, and leather goods.

This is not a romanticized, detailed retelling of many blockade running stories. A reader in search of such a tactically oriented story telling work would likely be disappointed. However, neither is the book simply a dry collection of statistics and organizational descriptions, for it also has concise retellings of many pertinent blockade running attempts. These accounts provide the reader with a feel for the trade, the skill and resourcefulness of the captains, and how methods evolved over time as both the blockade runners, and the blockaders improved in quality and numbers.

The book focuses almost exclusively on steam powered blockade runners, dismissing the numerous sailing ship attempts as having a negligible impact on the war effort. One of the few omissions from the book is adequate statistics and detailed explanation of why this was so (size, vulnerability, etc.)

There is a treasure trove of information in this work for anyone seeking a better understanding of the strategic aspect of arming and supplying the South. The strengths and weaknesses of the Union blockade are exposed from the vantage point of the blockade runners.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Stephen R. Wise's opus on the blockade runners is not to be missed! He ably describes the blockade itself, the ships and men that challenged it, and backs it all up with valuable charts and tables. Truly definitive.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Stephen Wise has managed to both write a comprehensive history packed with information which is also very readable. Truly a remarkable feat. The book succeeds at both imparting the general course of the blockade running and the many fascinating incidents which make up the history of blockade running.
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