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The Civil War in the West: Victory and Defeat from the Appalachians to the Mississippi (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era) Hardcover – March 12, 2012
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Hess is a master chronicler of this region.--America's Civil War
"Hess has provided Civil War scholars and lay readers with an excellent volume that promises to be the seminal work on the subject for years to come.--North Carolina Historical Review
The rich Civil War historiography of the western theater has needed a much-updated and comprehensive examination. . . . Recommended. All academic levels/libraries.--Choice
A well-researched and intelligent narrative that is essential to understanding America's bloodiest conflict.--The Annals of Iowa
A notable book that stands out in the crowded field of Civil War scholarship. Scholars and general readers alike will find it useful and accessible. Hess is to be commended especially for his ability to weave together the military narrative and the administrative difficulties faced by Federal commanders in occupied territory.--Journal of Southern History
Concisely and judiciously examines the military campaigns and battles and weaves them into a seamless narrative accessible to both novice and expert. . . . Thought-provoking, well-argued, engagingly written, and thoroughly enjoyable. . . . By far one of the best general accounts of the war in the West.--Indiana Magazine of History
This excellent and suitably broad summary work should serve as a valuable introduction to the western war for a wide reading audience. With The Civil War in the West, it's safe to say we have in our hands the subject's new standard single volume history.--Civil War Books and Authors blog
Hess's book should be lauded for its crisply effective prose, sweeping but well-paced narrative, command of both primary sources and the relevant historiography, and well-reasoned arguments." --Louisiana History
In one volume, Earl Hess has given readers as complete a study as can be found of this theater of battle.--New York Journal of Books
This is another outstanding book by Hess. This book is a great addition to the libraries of enthusiasts of the Western Theater, and those interested in the Eastern Theater will find it an intriguing contrast to the war in that region.--Blue & Gray Magazine
Hess has done it again. He has delivered a wonderfully researched and elegantly written volume that reveals his mastery of military history west of the Appalachians. Students and scholars are sure to profit from his insightful analysis and bold assertions, making for a better understanding of this complicated conflict.--Journal of American History
A sure-handed and detailed overview of military operations in the western theatre.--Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains
Everyone interested in learning about the war beyond the Appalachians should start with Hess's work. It is an outstanding overview of the Civil War in the West.--The Charleston Post and Courier
A comprehensive and thought-provoking history of the Civil War in the western theater. . . . A valuable asset to anyone hoping to make sense out of a complex subject and place it within the larger story in a meaningful way.--Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
This book will define the study of the Civil War's western theater for the foreseeable future and is highly recommended.--The Historian
Earl Hess has produced another fine study, this one long needed and much anticipated.--Civil War Book Review
Asserts a primacy to the war's western theater, establishes operations as a vital aspect of warfare, and defines mastery of logistics as a critical component of Union victory.--West Virginia History
No historian is better equipped than Earl Hess to tell the important story of the Civil War in the West and none does a better job of explaining why it was important and how it decided the outcome of the broader conflict.--Steven E. Woodworth, author of Manifest Destinies: America's Westward Expansion and the Road to the Civil War
An excellent overview of the Civil War in the western theater. Covering all significant campaigns and incorporating subjects either ignored or only lightly touched on in other operational histories, this is a book of unusual breadth and depth.--William Shea, University of Arkansas at Monticello
Top Customer Reviews
Can the book be more than an "if it's Tuesday, it must be Belgium" book?
Can the book get past the Forts, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Atlanta and March to the Sea formula?
The answer to these questions is YES.
Earl J. Hess is one of our best authors.
Starting with a sound understanding of the war, he adds excellent writing skills coupled with the experience to properly organize a book.
The result is informative, understandable and a pleasure to read.
The scope of this book may have tested his considerable skills but he passed with flying colors.
This is possibly the best one volume book on the subject and one that will be in bookstores for years to come.
The author presents this theater in a logical sequence with minimal backtracking.
He manages to include the problems caused by army politics and government interference within context.
Meridian, Forrest in Alabama, Mobile gets the space needed without detracting from the major campaigns.
This is one of very few books that includes the need to feed civilians and how the government dealt with freed slaves.
Conclusion is excellent and more than worth the price of the book. This chapter covers the differences between the North and South in the west.
Included is a look at the differences between the West and the East during the war too.
This is a serious history with a full set of endnotes, Bibliography, Index, Maps and Illustrations.
Hess describes the campaigns well, but military history buffs should know up front that Hess doesn't present detailed, regimental-level accounts of every battle, or even major ones like Shiloh and Chickamauga. That suited my purposes fine, but this doesn't promise to be a full-blown, definitive military history. In a concluding chapter, Hess argues that the Western theater was the definitive theater primarily because control of the Mississippi divided the South geographically. He also leaves the impression that Western generals and soldiers (especially Union ones) were better than their Eastern counterparts, although it's not consistently demonstrated throughout his narrative and he never really explains why this situation developed.
At the same time, what were the most interesting parts were those on the political and social aspects of the theater. In brief, as the Union forces marched into some areas, they encountered pockets of allies where you might not expect them. Too, how they handled the occupied civil population was a complicated matter, and this seems to be of great interest to Hess. His approach seems slightly revisionist, in that he generally portrays the Unionists as somewhat conflicted in how to treat Southerners in occupied places and exploiting the South's resources when they could. Inconsistent, ad-hoc policies toward freed black labor stand out in this regard.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a non-american civil war buff, this excellent read placed in perspective the importance of the Western Campaign. Very well written with good insights into the key people.Published 1 month ago by N. S. Redford
Well organized and thorough. I would have liked mike maps instead of photos of the leaders. Dr m Deeb.Published 2 months ago by Michael J. Deeb
The book didn't have a dust jacket as advertised.The front of the book was.
Soiled I am very dissaponted.
Very good clear and concise history of the CW in the West. Pretty fair & even handed presentation of both sides. Good portraits of Sherman, Bragg
& a host of others. Read more
For fans of military history, interested in a delineated narrative of the overwhelming Union victories and the morose Confederacy defeats, Earl J. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Maggie
I'll echo other reviewers. This book covers perhaps a million square miles of contested ground over a war that lasted years. Read morePublished 18 months ago by lyndonbrecht