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General Edmund Kirby Smith, C.S.A. (Southern Biography Series) Paperback – July 1, 1992

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Here is the first critical biography of the confederate general who commanded the largest theater of the Civil War, the Trans-Mississippi Department, and who held the same important command post longer than any other officer on either side.

About the Author

Joseph H. Parks, born in Lincoln County, Tennessee, taught for many years at Memphis State University, Birmingham Southern College, and the University of Georgia. He is the author of several books, including General Leonidas Polk, C.S.A.: The Fighting Bishop; John Bell of Tennessee; and Joseph E. Brown of Georgia.

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Product Details

  • Series: Southern Biography Series
  • Paperback: 537 pages
  • Publisher: LSU Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807118001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807118009
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #546,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Kevin M. Derby VINE VOICE on October 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Edmund Kirby Smith remains one of the most neglected of the important figures of the Civil War era. Best known for his command of the Trans-Mississippi Department from 1863 until the close of the war, Kirby Smith found himself acting with military, civil and economic authority after the Union essentially divided the Confederacy in two. He was an important figure and yet his tale is perhaps better told in studies of his administration rather than in a biography.

Joseph Parks gives a solid if not particularly compelling account of Kirby Smith's career. Kirby Smith, a Floridian, served under Joseph Johnston at the First Battle of Bull Run and was seriously wounded. After recovering from the wound, Kirby Smith commanded Confederate forces in East Tennessee and showed some tactical ability in the invasion of Kentucky which culminated in the battle of Perryville. During that campaign, Kirby Smith feuded with Braxton Bragg who commanded the main wing of the Confederate invasion. Kirby Smith would later command the Trans Mississippi region and, while there were some successes such as the Red River campaign, all in all Kirby Smith was content on the defensive, much in the style of his mentor Johnston. Parks offers little on Kirby Smith's post war career which is fairly odd since Kirby Smith taught at the University of the South, an institution that Parks was affiliated with.

This is all well and good. However, the chief problem with the book is Parks' lack of interest in Kirby Smith's roles in politics and economics. Kirby Smith's role in the Confederacy was not simply that of a general. He was the highest ranking Confederate offical west of the river and was isolated after the fall of Vicksburg in 1863.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent companion book to Kirby Smith's Confederacy: The TransMississippi South, 1863-1865, for information about the history of Kirby-Smith's history before and after his TransMississippi leadership.
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This was a very detailed, information rich, book on Kirby Smith. A man caught in a position he wasn't prepared for and was not supported in by his government. After finishing what I thought was a book on a Civil War General who oversaw the area which produced such battles as Vicksburg and the Red River Campaign I was left knowing more about the economic situation of the Trans-Mississippi Dept. and surrounding areas then about any battle fought in the entire area. If you are interested in a book about the south and the political problems they faced and how the areas economic condition was tied to cotton and speculators then this is a very good book. If you are looking to see how Kirby Smith, The General, handled troops in battle and how he contributed the the war effort on the battlefield I do not recommend it. A lot about Kirby the person and the administrator but little about Lt. General Kirby Smith, the battle tested, wounded warrior of First Manassas (Bull Run)and I'm not sure without re-reading it, what other battles.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very well researched biography of Edmund Kirby Smith who fought from Virginia to Kentucky to the Trans Mississippi in the Civil War.
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