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What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman's Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta Hardcover – December 4, 2012


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What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman's Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta + The Battle of Peach Tree Creek: Hood's First Sortie, July 20, 1864 + Kennesaw Mountain: Sherman, Johnston, and the Atlanta Campaign (Civil War America)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Mercer University Press; 1ST edition (December 4, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881463981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881463989
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The burning of Atlanta has taken on such mythical proportions that it long ago became separated from historical fact. In What the Yankees Did to Us, Davis has reexamined original sources and discovered new ones to retell the story but this time with feet planted firmly in reality. The result is the best and most accurate work on this topic to date. If you think you already knew about this famous chapter in Civil War history, think again. --Gordon L. Jones, Ph.D., Senior Military Historian and Curator, Atlanta History Center

Author Steve Davis does not think much of Gen. William T. Sherman. And if you know anything about Davis or his prior publications, that news won't surprise you. What might raise your eyebrows is the depth and breadth of WHAT THE YANKEES DID TO US, his micro-history of the damage the Union armies under Sherman's command inflicted upon Atlanta during the latter months of 1864. The general canvas of this sad tale is well known to Civil War students, but the finer brush strokes, the level of damage, cruel deaths, months of intentional destruction for little military gain, are less recognized...Many writers have written about this story before Davis picked up his pen, but his is by far the most well-researched, thorough, and detailed account ever written about the "wrecking" of Atlanta. Even though Davis is a fierce and self-proclaimed partisan, his work is much less so because of the sheer volume of meticulous documentation. The scholarly nature of this work is breathtaking, and thus it is not always as easy to read as some other books about more general Civil War topics. But Davis did not write the book for someone with a passing interest in the conflict. Like an attorney, Davis is setting the record straight before the bar of history. Hundreds of eyewitness accounts, as recorded in letters, diaries and newspapers provide the foundation for this study. Both sides, including civilians caught up in the nightmare of armies fighting on their doorstep, are well represented...Complete with dozens of maps, photos and illustrations, as well as outstanding notes, a complete bibliography, and a bibliographic review of resources, Davis's book is a real contribution to the war's literature. Both sides participated in atrocities, but for the first time the sheer breadth and depth of Atlanta's destruction is set forth between two covers. Sherman was right: war is hell. And according to Davis, the general played Satan for several months in the Deep South. Not everyone will agree, but such is the nature of writing history. This volume is highly recommended. --Theodore Savas, Civil War News

About the Author

Stephen Davis of Atlanta earned a PhD in American Studies, an MA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a BA from Emory University. His hobby since the fourth grade has been the Civil War, on which he has written more than one hundred articles. For over twenty years, he served as book review editor for Blue & Gray Magazine. His book, Atlanta Will Fall: Sherman, Joe Johnston and the Yankee Heavy Battalions, was published in 2001.

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Customer Reviews

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A must read for all Civil War historians.
R. Stanford
And one thrust that lingers is the malevolence of William Sherman.
T. P. S.
This is an outstanding book for it's in depth research.
Thomas M. Fleming

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By T. P. S. on August 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman's Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta, by Stephen Davis

Author Steve Davis does not think much of General Sherman. And if you know anything about Davis or his prior publications, that news won't surprise you. What might raise your eyebrows is the depth and breadth of What the Yankees Did to Us: Sherman's Bombardment and Wrecking of Atlanta, his micro-history of the damage the Union armies under Sherman's command inflicted upon Atlanta during the latter months of 1864.

The general canvas of this sad tale is well known to Civil War students, but the finer brush strokes (the level of damage, cruel deaths, the months of intentional infliction for little military gain) are less recognizable. From May to July, Sherman's army group outmaneuvered and out-fought Joe Johnston's Army of Tennessee all the way south to the gate's of the important logistical and manufacturing center of Atlanta. In mid-July Johnston was sacked in favor of Gen. John Bell Hood, who assumed the offensive in a series of bloody battles that did not defeat Sherman, but did (for some six weeks) keep him out of the city. In the midst of these battles, and under Sherman's direction, Union batteries began to shell Atlanta, destroying buildings and killing innocent civilians. And that was just a taste of what was coming.

Many writers have written about this story (or some segment of it) before Davis picked up his pen, but his is by far the most well-researched, thorough, and detailed account ever written about the "wrecking" of Atlanta. Even though Davis is a fierce partisan (something he is never shy about admitting), his work is much less so because of the sheer volume of meticulous documentation.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By avidreader on August 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Almost everyone knows about Sherman and have heard about Sherma's March. The impact his drive had on the Civil War is widely discussed and appreciated in most circles. Rarely do we really consider what teh citizes went through in the areas where Sherman went through. Now we get an in depth report conveyed in a well written form. Some will read this and think less of Sherman. Others will say - this was war. Few will put this book down once they start reading it and all will come away alittle enriched about the effects of war on the general populace,
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jude on January 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am assume it is a coincidence that two of the finer history books I have read are by Atlantans about Atlanta during the War---this one and Russell Bonds's "War Like the Thunderbolt." Each are very distinct from each other. Where Bonds is a majestic storyteller, Davis presents himself as a scholar. This book is heavy on primary sources, with much of the text testimony from people who actually were in Atlanta at the time.. It explores many of the myths surrounding the bombardment, and cites numerous primary sources to either corroborate, or not, those myths. I love the fact that the book uses footnotes, rather than endnotes, saving the reader from having to go back and forth. Another great thing is that after the author provides copious evidence, he recaps that evidence with a clear outline.

There is very little of the fighting and milieu of the battle in this book, for that go to Bonds. The focus is on the wrecking of the city. The only minor complaint I have is that the photos and maps in the book are too small, making them very difficult to read. (As an aside,I would stay away from Castel's book--"Decision in the West"--its annoying use of the present tense, a lame ploy to give the reader a you are there feel, made it unreadable for me.)
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Morris on June 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Davis has done an amazing job of research but reading multiple accounts of the same incident drags this book down to a reading chore. Use this book as a reference book and not for casual reading of the darkest hours of Atlanta's history.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kyle russell on February 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Best book I've read on subject.Good detail. Liked a lot of the new pictures and the use of new info from Atlanta History Center.Easy read . Kyle
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By GLW on June 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Stephen Davis has written an exhaustive and thorough review of what really happened during the fighting for Atlanta and General WT Sherman's role. First, he starts with an impressive array of maps and photos highlighting not only the placement of troops but the civilian areas of the city. He goes over every conceivable aspect of the destruction (or trashing) of the city, until now veiled in folk lore about the hero Sherman (Northern perspective) or villain Sherman (Southern perspective). He writes about many varying topics especially detailing everything from the plight of the civilians to the hijacking of the locomotive, the General. His description of the destruction of Confederate supplies only serves to highlight the waste and logistical challenges of war. Davis takes away the romance and myth and brings in the true to life struggle for survival in a realistic yet gritty style. And he makes no bones about his disdain for Sherman and his concept of war but his grudging admiration for Sherman the soldier. An incredibly sourced and footnoted work, this volume should serve as a comprehensive reference for those who really want to know about those dark days for the city of Atlanta and the surrounding areas. Well done! Gregory Wade, author of Broken Valley
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