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Why The North Won The Civil War Hardcover – July 28, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 126 pages
  • Publisher: Literary Licensing, LLC (July 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1258445050
  • ISBN-13: 978-1258445058
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,717,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Herbert Donald is the author of Lincoln, which won the prestigious Lincoln Prize and was on the New York Times bestseller list for fourteen weeks, and of Lincoln at Home. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for Charles Sumner and the Coming of the Civil War, and for Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe. He is the Charles Warren Professor of American History and of American Civilization Emeritus at Harvard University and resides in Lincoln, Massachusetts. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Charles C. DiVincenti Jr. on June 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Reissue of a classic collection of essays from the 60's...Currents's "God and the Strongest Battalions" is alone worth the price!...Economic, political, social, etc., aspects are all considering by the "big-gun" historians of 40 years past...Scholarly enough for the serious student, yet very reader-friendly for the novitiate...recommended in the strongest possible terms!
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By J. Grattan VINE VOICE on July 24, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It seems that much more attention is paid to debating the causes of the Civil War, but as this slim volume of essays reveals there are any number of varying and subtle arguments for explaining the outcome of the Civil War.
It is probably the common view that the North winning the Civil War was inevitable, that the overwhelming preponderance of the North in terms of supplies, industrial infrastructure, and manpower ensured victory. Only one of these authors somewhat accepts the thesis of Northern material superiority. These authors are far more mindful of the fact that mismanagement or deep-seated flaws within the losing side of a conflict can be larger factors in the ultimate outcome than positive actions by the winning side.
The authors all note some inherent advantages of the South: a need to only defend territory, the vastness of the South, a transportation network, the ability to produce large quantities of foodstuffs, a commodity, cotton, of great value in the international market, a huge labor force of three million slaves, and a certain psychological advantage in the defense of a way of life.
But these authors discuss any number of factors that led, not necessarily inevitably, to the defeat of the South. The authors point mostly to both military and political malfeasance, as well as personalities and inherent characteristics of Southern society, as leading to defeat. The manner of financing of the War produced tremendous inflation; the supplies of cotton were mismanaged both as a source of revenue to fund the war effort and as a tool to force European nations to recognize the Confederacy; food supplies were confiscated at below market prices; and manpower was poorly utilized both in recruitment to the Southern army and in the deployment of labor on Southern farms.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By WryGuy2 TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 7, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a slim book (approximately 124 pages) that contains essays by different writers who each examine a major factor that contributed to the South losing the Civil War. Although in hindsight it appears that the South was doomed to lose, in reality, it was a close contest that literally could have been won by either side. Although the North had significant material advantages, the authors point out internal factors and decisions made (or not made) by the South that contributed greatly to it's eventual defeat. This book, although originally published nearly 50 years ago, remains surprisingly relevant and thought-provoking today.

As an interesting aside, the forward to the book was written by retired Major General U. S. Grant III, the grandson of Union General (and later President) U. S. Grant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Graczewski VINE VOICE on January 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
Half a century ago some of the nation's leading Civil War era historians put together this collection of essays seeking to explain, from a variety of perspectives (economic, military, political, diplomatic), why the North prevailed in the epic contest of wills between the states. We have arrived at the sesquicentennial of the great conflict and yet the insights and arguments found in "Why the North Won the Civil War" have lost little of their cogency.

Many could (and have) argue that the southern cause was doomed from the start. Richard Current makes this conventional case in his contribution "God and the Strongest Battalions." In short, he maintains that northern victory was practically guaranteed owing to the Union's insuperable advantages in manpower (2.5 times the south), capital (4 times larger), and industrial output (an order of magnitude greater), among other areas of comparative strength. Sure the Confederacy made mistakes, Jefferson Davis and Treasury Secretary Christopher Memminger could have crafted better policies, but the ability to overcome the South's economic handicaps went far beyond the power of any man or group of men, Current (and many others) argue.

But is that a fair and complete view of the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the competing sides? Did not the American colonists and Vietnamese communists face longer odds in their improbable quests for independence? Did not the Confederacy hold the advantage of interior lines, a long and difficult to blockade coastline, some of the best military officers of the war, a three-million strong involuntary labor pool (i.e. slaves), great natural defenses, and the strategic advantage of being able to win simply by not losing?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is written by David Herbert Donald, two time Pulitzer Prize winner and author of the book Lincoln. "Why the North Won the Civil War" details the overwhelming power the Union Armies and Naval superiority, combined with the economic superiority of the northern states and many other reasons why the South would enevitatably succomb to the North's power and assure the Union Forces would win this war. Small phamplet sized offering, packed with much economic and political information which convinces the reader the South was never to be successful in it's Confederate cesessionist goals. This read convinces me why the Southern States manuver today, to amass manufacturing, armament and military facilities of our current Nation, so the next time they will be ready. I recommend this little book.
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