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Why the South Lost the Civil War (Brown Thrasher Books Ser.) Paperback – October 1, 1991
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
[The authors] show that the Southern states were not united around a single leader or cause. . . . In the end, they discovered that God did not wear gray.(New York Times)
The most comprehensive, sophisticated, and well-informed [book on this subject] I have ever read.(New York Review of Books)
Should be required reading for anyone interested in the Confederate experiment. Its superb analysis of the previous literature, including respectful disagreement with many of the conclusions of Owsley, McWhiney, Jamieson and other prominent historians, makes it an ideal starting point for any discussion of Confederate defeat.(Dallas Times-Herald)
Top Customer Reviews
In many ways, the book is a reflection of America's experience in the Vietnam War, where the side with the larger armies, greater wealth, and technological advantages failed to win. To say that the Confederacy lost the Civil War simply because it was outnumbered and outgunned is only half the story. Why did Confederates choose to quit when their forebears in the American Revolution persevered against even more formidable odds? While some may question this book's insufficient nationalism thesis, it is delineated with such grace and authority that the effort demands respect.
The book begins by providing a comprehensive overview of previously offered theories explaining the fall of the Confederacy. That historiographical survey alone makes this book worth the price of admission and makes it an invaluable tool for the serious Civil War student.
As some of the other reviews here attest, this is not a book for those who prefer their Civil War history as vapid entertainment. If you are just interested in killing, there are plenty of good battle and campaign histories to read. But if you are the kind who wonders why nations rise and fall and how wars are won and lost, you will find this a rewarding and thought-provoking experience.
That the South lacked the will to win is "quite a firm consensus" by scholars although not accepted by the dean of academic historians, Gary Gallagher, recorded in his "Lee and His Generals in War and Memory" (1998), page 20, footnote 28.
"Why the South Lost the Civil War" related analyses of academic historians on the collapse of the Confederacy: major military battles, noting if generals followed, ignored, or were oblivious to the military theories of Karl von Clausewitz and Baron Antoine Henri Jomini, in particular; a modest naval blockade and combined army-navy operations; the industrialization of the South; the diplomacy of the South; the frequent states-rights disputes ameliorating key political issues in the Confederacy; the inability of combatants to crush an army in battle; Grant seeking to break the military stalemate in the eastern theater; the roles of religion, Southern nationalism, and political will; and the policy to arm the slaves in early 1865. "So the Confederacy succumbed to internal rather than external causes." (Page 439) "Why the South Lost the Civil War" is comprehensive of, and very relevant to, an understanding of the Civil War.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This had a lot of information that we did not know, a very useful resourcePublished 6 days ago by Laura
I reluctantly give this work three stars, instead of two, only because of its diligent attempt to document the many streams of historical treatment of the vast complex of issues... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mrkopalj Baricevac
Interesting analysis of the Civil War. A lot of the analysis is pretty arcane; but, well done. The basic thesis is that the nationalism of the Confederacy was too weak to sustain... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Theodore F. Schaaf
As someone who enjoys reading a lot about the Civil War, including the reasons for how and why it ended as it did, this book, even at nearly 500 pages of core material, proved to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nathan Albright
I give this a 4-star rating only because of a few disagreements. One is that many readers (unfortunately) will be turned off by its extreme scholarship and detailed writing. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Master Hahn
Complete and utter crap. 75% of their wealth destroyed, 28% of all men between 17-50 dead. No will? Of course, these NY reviews are "experts". Waste of time and moneyPublished 16 months ago by Historian
The book did not go into as much of the cultural differences being a factor in the outcome of the war as I would have liked but it was a good read.Published 23 months ago by AL
This book by a team of academics offers interesting perspective for readers with enough background to grapple with it. Read morePublished on February 4, 2011 by Minnesota Mark
If you are looking for an entertaining book on the American Civil War - this isn't it. The book is very wordy and at times difficult reading. Read morePublished on May 29, 2008 by Thomas R. Fasulo