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Lee and His Army in Confederate History (Civil War America) Paperback – August 7, 2006
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In these essays Gary Gallagher once again demonstrates the mastery of sources, elegance of style, and lucidity of explanation and interpretation that have made him the foremost historian of the Army of Northern Virginia. (James M. McPherson, Princeton University)
A stimulating and thought-provoking book.
"Journal of Southern History"
Gallagher has reinforced his position as one of the nation's leading Civil War historians.
"Florida Historical Quarterly"
"Gallagher's work, both in "Lee and His Army" and elsewhere. . . sets a high standard for the history profession.
"Civil War Book Review""
Gallagher and the University of North Carolina Press have performed a valuable service for current and future students of Lee and the Lost Cause.
"Civil War News"
Gallagher demonstrates in his latest book that he is . . . the foremost historian of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia today.
"Journal of Military History"
"A very valuable work."
-- "Nymas Review"
"A very valuable work."
- "Nymas Review"
"This paperback reprint of one of his collections of essays provides another welcome look at Gallagher's perspectives on compelling aspects of Confederate historiography."
-- "Military History of the West"
Gallagher demonstrates in his latest book that he is, without question, the foremost historian of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia today. . . . Gallagher has proven adept at standing established scholarship on its head and posing important new questions that are bound to revise our understanding of the American Civil War.--Journal of Military History
Gary Gallagher's Lee and His Army in Confederate History is a wonderful blend of traditional and the 'new' military history, a balance from the perspective of high command, the soldiers, the home front, and their collective memory. By anyone's standards, this is a terrific book.--Joseph T. Glatthaar, University of Houston
Distinguished by the compelling prose, command of relevant primary and secondary sources, and superb insights Civil War enthusiasts have come to expect from Gallagher, these essays deserve wide readership. . . . By bringing them together under a single cover Gallagher and the University of North Carolina Press have performed a valuable service for current and future students of Lee and the Lost Cause.--Civil War News
Gallagher [is] one of the best of a new generation of Civil War scholars. . . . Gallagher's work, both in Lee and His Army and elsewhere. . . sets a high standard for the history profession.--Civil War Book Review
This book is a distillation of years of thought and research by a skillful and respected historian. Its interpretations are thought provoking and solidly grounded in primary research. . . . Not only valuable to professional historians but accessible to the casual reader as well. This book informs and surprises, and all the while it is a pleasure to read. . . . Gallagher has reinforced his position as one of the nation's leading Civil War historians.--Florida Historical Quarterly
Drawing on massive primary evidence, Gallagher has limned attitudes toward Lee and his army from a wide spectrum of Confederate society. The result is a formidable, definitive delineation of the subject. This book punctures the notional and otiose premise that postwar Southerners created an image of Lee that had not existed during the conflict.--Robert K. Krick, author of Lee's Colonels and Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain
In these essays Gary Gallagher once again demonstrates the mastery of sources, elegance of style, and lucidity of explanation and interpretation that have made him the foremost historian of the Army of Northern Virginia. The reasons for the morale and esprit that made this army such a feared fighting force are set forth more clearly here than anywhere else.--James M. McPherson, Princeton University
This paperback reprint of one of his collections of essays provides another welcome look at Gallagher's perspectives on compelling aspects of Confederate historiography.--Military History of the West
Better than any other historian of the Confederacy, Gallagher understands the importance of . . . contingent turning points that eventually made it possible for superior numbers and resources to prevail. He understands as well that the Confederate story cannot be written except in counterpoint with the Union story.--New York Review of Books
Top customer reviews
Gallagher begins by examining Lee's Maryland campaign, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and the army's campaigns in 1864. His conclusions on the Battle of Gettysburg and its effects on the Confederate home front are particularly interesting. He concludes that the battle was not the overwhelming defeat to the Army of Northern Virginia and the Confederate home front that it would later be portayed as by historians. He makes the argument that the loss of Vicksburg was seen as a vastly bigger loss and Gettysburg was more seen as a small defeat or even a victory because of Meade's failure to chase the Confederates in retreat.
Gallagher also includes an interesting essay evaluating the claims of some historians that Lee was not fighting a modern war with modern tactics and if he had done so, the Confederacy would have been better off. He ably demonstrates that indeed Lee did understand the difference in technology such as the minie ball and its impact on strategy and tactics.
However, the best essay is Gallagher's essay on the Lost Cause "myth". Gallagher explains that many of the claims that were later associated only with Lost Cause historians such as Jubal Early or Douglass Southall Freeman, were actually developed during the war and immediately following the war prior to any claims made by Early and others. Thus some of the "myths" such as the overwhelming numerical superiority of the Union as part of the central cause of the Confederacy's defeat, is actually true. He draws the wonderful and correct conclusion that to dismiss the Lost Cause myths in their entirety does a major disservice to the historical profession and that discussing those Lost Cause claims that do have a basis in fact is not in fact giving any legitimacy to any neo-Confederate point of view concerning the centrality of slavery to the origin of the Civil War.
The one quibble, and the reason I gave this book four stars instead of five concerns Gallagher's essay "Fighting the Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church." I really couldn't find a point as to why this essay was included in the book, unless it was to demonstrate a hard and fast friendship link between Early and Lee that Gallagher does build upon in his essay on the Lost Cause. However, I still think the essay about Fredericksburg really doesn't belong in this format.