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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great balance of strategy and tactics
I thought this book was terrific, one of the best Civil War books in my collection. Gott writes lucidly and in an easy-to-read style. He covers the personalities and the strategies of the campaign in a manner well-balanced with the tactical details of the battles. Although the maps are rather crudely drawn, they are rich in useful detail. (As an instructor at Ft...
Published on February 20, 2006 by H. Jespersen

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flood stage, bad planning, poor command structure and the war was lost early
Lived around civil war battlefields for a while and never paid them much attention.

My first book on the subject was Battle Cry of Freedom. It was in this book that I first learned about Forts Henry and Donaldson and how that battle was the lynchpin to the entire war and Grants rise. This book goes into detail explaining and exploring various aspects of this...
Published 17 months ago by Joseph Or


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great balance of strategy and tactics, February 20, 2006
By 
H. Jespersen "Hlj" (Redwood City, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
I thought this book was terrific, one of the best Civil War books in my collection. Gott writes lucidly and in an easy-to-read style. He covers the personalities and the strategies of the campaign in a manner well-balanced with the tactical details of the battles. Although the maps are rather crudely drawn, they are rich in useful detail. (As an instructor at Ft Leavenworth, he knows what to put into Army battle maps. But he also covers the naval aspects well, too.) He is unafraid to inject his candid opinions about the strengths and weaknesses of the key players and he backs these opinions well. Highly recommended.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Analytical History Done Right, July 1, 2003
By 
John Bauer (Ft. Leavenworth, KS) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
This is a fine piece of old-school history: rich, objective, and thorough. Mr. Gott's writing is excellent and the story is fresh. The book is heavy on content, which I found satisfying, and the absence of leftist mythology and psychobabble is a reminder that there are still good historians out there. (Read McPherson if you want a discussion of Southern "paternalism" or Stonewall Jackon's psychological profile.)
As with most Civil War narratives, the story offers entertainment value in its own right. The collection of personalities includes inept Confederate generals, smarmy politicians and rugged country boys doing the soldiering. The unusual genesis of the Union army's river fleet is explored. Further, the battles followed a fascinating course unforeseen by either side. Fort Henry, for instance, was being abandoned by Confederate forces when it was attacked by Grant and his supporting gunboats. The resulting "defeat" at Henry was caused as much by floodwaters as by Union tactics.
Yet as the title suggests, the real story here is how the battles for Henry and Donelson shaped the events that followed. Gott never releases this theme; indeed, it is woven into his exploration of the battle from the very first page to the last. Gott's perspective as a professional battle historian is reflected in his emphasis on thorough analysis. Again, satisfying. He doesn't miss much. This book is a compelling drama for a reader interested in something deeper than the standard casual treatment of our country's bloodiest war.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good History of two Important Battles, February 24, 2005
This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
Sub-Title: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862

There are a lot of battles where it might be said that the South lost the war. In this book, Kendall Gott says it was lost in 1862 at these two battles. He certainly presents a good case. This early in the war both armies had their share of "peacetime" generals who weren't very good on the battlefield.

I've never understood for instance why Nathan Bedford Forrest found it so easy to escape Fort Donelson while the other generals were so determined to surrender the fort and their men.

The biggest outcome of these two battles was the rise of Grant. After this came Shiloh, Vicksberg, and the march to Appomattox. The North had found a fighting general.

All in all, I don't think you can say that this is where the South lost the war. I believe that the war was lost before it started. The North had the population, the manufacturing capacity, and the moral high ground (because of slavery) that prevented England and France from coming in on the Southern side.

This is a splendid history of these two battles which have been so often neglected in the general histories of the war.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the book flap, July 3, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
"For too long one of the Civil War's decisive campaigns has been ignored by historians. In Where the South Lost the War, Kendall Gott tells the story of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson campaign, the operation that shattered the initial Confederate defense line in the west and enabled Union amphibious forces to thrust deep into the Southern heartland. Gott blends his experiences as a combat veteran with those of a military historian to provide a gripping narration of day-to-day operations. Particulalry relevant are his penetrating analyses of the leaders, their command decisions, and their strengths and weakensses. These elements combine to give the readers a masterful account of the campaign that served as a major milepost on "Unconditional Surrender" Grant's road to Appomattox Court House and the White House" Edwin C. Bearss, Historian Emertius, National Park Service.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Starting to fight the war, December 28, 2003
This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
This is an excellent campaign study, well written and informitive. The maps while not really good, do allow you to follow the action and provide the position information needed. They seem to be the only weak point in the book and this seems common to current ACW history books.
The first thing you find is how bad leadership was in 1862! Only Grant seems to be willing to fight and take chances. Halleck and Buell worry and find reasons why things can not happen while Grant is doing them. Of intrest is Halleck's actions against Grant and how he is pulled up short by Lincoln. This books continues to show Halleck as the fool that he was. It shows that Lincoln getting him out of the field was one of the best things he did.
Pillow seems to be the only fighter the CSA had in the area and his performance has ups and downs. For the balance, infighting, stupidity and indifference are the nicest things you can say about them. AS Johnston comes in for the usual blame in this are, all of it well deserved. He is unable to command and unwilling to take real postive action when attacked.
If you have an intrest in the early days of the war and or U.S. Grant this is a "must read" and well worth the money.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Is Where The South Lost The War, November 21, 2006
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This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
If you want a comprehensive, informative and easy to read account of Fort Donelson, Fort Henry and the tactical genius and errors of both sides, this is the book to read. The author does a fantastic job of providing accurate details of how the south did, in fact, lose the war by losing Kentucky and Tennessee. The war probably could have been over in 1862 had Lieutenant Phelps destroyed the bridge at Florence. Not doing so provided a retreat for A. S. Johnston to move his men to Corinth and then to Shiloh and allowed the railroad in the western confederacy to remain in tact. This is a GREAT book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'm just a student..., February 19, 2011
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This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
I've been a student of the War for over 40 years. Bought this book as background reading before traveling to visit some of the sites of the battles of the Western Front.

The author seems to try to say the South lost because of poor leadership. And, he uses the Southern leadership at Fort Henry-Fort Donelson as his example. Nice to read good descriptions of a battle that has not received as much commentary as some of the more popular ones.

The maps are not very good.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A MUCH NEEDED VOLUME BREAKS DOWN THIS IMPORTANT, YET MUCH OVERLOOKED, EARLY CAPMPAIGN., December 13, 2009
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This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
The Forts Henry and Donelson Campaign is presented in an easy to follow, relatively short volume that breaks it all down and leaves you with a great understanding of what happened, and why. Though explaining so much, the book does not get bogged down in minute details.

The personalities involved on both sides, the preperations (or lack thereof on the Confederate side) and planning are covered, as well as the execution of the Unions combined Army/Navy operations on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers in Tennessee, and the Confederate attempts to repel Ulysses S. Grant and Flag Officer Foote's movements. The battles at both forts are broken down and explained so that both actions are easy to understand. The bizarre chain of events that make up the Confederate surrender are covered in detail, and the aftermath of the campaign is also discussed.

The only problem with this book are the maps, as in so many history books. The Area of Operations (strategic) maps are fine, But the battle maps, while doing a great job of showing the actual locations of roads, rivers/creeks/streams, fortifications, and military units, do not show the elevations and depressions that make up the terrain, and the symbology used for Confederate forces (instead of standard NATO unit symbology that is used for Union forces) is awkward. The map for the area between the forts could have been better, and in the volume I purchased, the tactical situation map for the Battle of Fort Donelson 15 February, 1862 at 6am (page 193) is actually the the situation map for 6pm (page 236), so I really didnt have a map showing the initial position and movement of forces at the start of the battle. (I dont know if this is the same in all editions of the book? I have a 2003, first edition hardcover) The number of maps is right, it is just the symbology for Confederate forces, area map between the forts, and the misprint mentioned above that keep me from giving this book 5 stars.

This is a great book, one that any Civil War buff needs in their library. It analyzes and explains in detail the events that made up this important Campaign that did so much to ensure the outcome of the war.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine description--but "Where the South Lost the War"?, August 25, 2006
By 
Steven A. Peterson (Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL)) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
This book presents one of the best detailed descriptions of the Fort Henry and Fort Donelson campaign. The volume lays out the preparation, the logistics, and the actual campaign. The book details the futile (and brief) defense of the poorly designed Fort Henry. It demonstrates the willingness of General Ulysses Grant, unlike many of his general officer brethren in the Union Army at that time, to take action with his immediate move against Fort Donelson, even though he was not sure of what awaited him.

It shows some of his sloppiness in combat situations (as at Shiloh, where he did not bother preparing a stout defense or at Belmont when he lost control of his troops), for instance, when he left Fort Donelson to meet with the naval commander--leaving his army leaderless at the time when the Confederates attempted a breakout. But the book also well describes his tenacity. After the near breakout, Grant takes initiative once again.

The description of the dysfunctional Confederate command structure (from Albert Sydney Johnston on down to the commanders on the ground at Fort Donelson) is done well, although--perhaps--Simon Bolivar Buckner may not have been quite as ineffective as depicted.

All of that said, though, it is hard to see that this campaign was "Where the south lost the war." It certainly destroyed Johnston's defensive line and forced him to retreat all along his line. But with a bit of luck, Shiloh could have recouped some of the loss, had the South prevailed on that bloody battlefield. And many other campaigns and battles--east and west--were critical in their own way.

Nonetheless, a valuable book that probably warrants being in the library of Civil War history buffs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good, September 23, 2009
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This review is from: Where the South Lost the War: An Analysis of the Fort Henry-Fort Donelson Campaign, February 1862 (The American Civil War) (Hardcover)
This book offers a good analysis of an often overlooked campaign. My only criticisms are the somewhat poor maps and some (in places) poor editing.
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