Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Confederate War Hardcover – September 22, 1997
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Library Journal
Historians have often looked backward from the surrender at Appomattox to explain the failure of the Confederacy. They have concluded that the Confederacy's defeat was due mainly to decay from within resulting from internal strife among different factions of Southern society. Gallagher (American history, Pennsylvania State Univ.; editor of Lee the Soldier, LJ 4/15/96) disputes that interpretation. While he concedes that there were disagreements, he points to numerous letters and diaries that support his contention that Confederate society rallied around the Stars and Bars until Appomattox. Popular will gave rise to national sentiment whose morale depended on the battlefield victories won by Lee's army. Only Lee's surrender convinced many that the Confederate cause was indeed lost. The author makes a fine case for a new look at an old argument. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with Civil War collections.?Grant A. Fredericksen, Illinois Prairie Dist. P.L., Metamora
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A revisionist examination of the Confederate experience, as much concerned with historians and their methods as with history itself. ``Any historian who argues that the Confederate people demonstrated robust devotion to their slave-based republic, possessed feelings of national community, and sacrificed more than any other segment of white society in US history,'' frets Gallagher (American History/Penn. State Univ.), ``runs the risk of being labeled a neo-Confederate.'' He's right to worry. Making precisely that argument, his history of Confederate military and civilian experience veers dangerously close to hagiography of an entire culture. Challenging the current historical consensus that lack of will, absence of national unity, and flawed military strategy doomed the Confederacy, Gallagher presents contemporary letters, diaries, and newspaper accounts that rhapsodize about the true grit of rebel soldiers and civilians. To his credit, he resists the urge to backtrack from Appomattox when explaining military failure (as he accuses other historians of doing) and instead puts the Confederate war effort in a larger historical framework--namely the successful rebellion of the American Revolution. He poses a number of intriguing questions for fellow historians, suggesting most notably that scholars ask not why an uprising viewed as ``a rich man's war but a poor man's fight'' failed, but why so many non-slaveholders fought for so long. But his parade of testimonials to the nobility of the Lost Cause, unchallenged by critical questioning, sticks in the craw. Soldiers' letters, reenlistment figures, and editorials--which all suggest high morale when taken at face value by Gallagher--could easily be viewed as propaganda. At least their bombastic language enlivens an otherwise stiffly formal academic text. A work of more interest to historians than general readers, and more important for the questions it raises than any it answers. (40 photos, not seen) (History Book Club selection) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
a. POPULAR WILL: In this section we learn that the southerners will to win the war was important in keeping the Confederate nation alive for longer than expected. Gallagher quotes extensively from southern letters to show how their will in being true to the cause burnt brightly until ultimate defeat at Appamattox in 1865. Thousands of southerners developed allegiance to a cause that transcended loyalty and local interests (referring to white southerners). The Southern dream was to establish a slave holding society. The vast majority of the southern civilian and military population believed Nsa that RE Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia would lead them to ultimate victory despite horrendous military defeats and the destruction of the southern economy and military defeats.
b.NATIONALISM: Gallagher asserts that, contrary to popular modern historical opinon, thousands of Confederate soliders and civilians believed strongly in the CONFEDERATE NATION AND CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. Patriotism rather than localism was the prime factor is developing a sense of nationhood among the southern people.
c. MILITARY STRATEGY: Gallagher contends that the south was defeated by the overwhelming numbers and military genius of great northern generals (primarily Grant and Sherman). Western victories for Confederate troops were few and far between. Only RE Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia kept the southern cause alive through battelfield victories. The author does not believe a strictly DEFENSIVE STRATEGY or GUERILLA WARFARE would have proven successful against the North.
d. DEFEAT: Gallagher devotes a few pages to the rise of the Lost Cause mentality in the South following the war.
Gary Gallagher is a brilliant historian and this book, though controversial, is well argued and should be read by anyone interested in the Civil War.