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The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won by [Edward H.  Bonekemper]

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The Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 362 ratings

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About the Author

Edward H. Bonekemper III was an adjunct lecturer on military history at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania, an attorney for the U.S. government, and the book review editor of Civil War News. He wrote many books on the Civil War, including Ulysses S. Grant: A Victor Not a ButcherGrant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished VirginianLincoln and Grant: The Westerners Who Won the Civil WarThe Myth of the Lost Cause: Why the South Fought the Civil War and Why the North Won, and The 10 Biggest Civil War Blunders.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B012LMP2MK
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Regnery History (October 5, 2015)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 5, 2015
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 3188 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 378 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 362 ratings

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After decades of Civil War reading and with encouragement from his late father-in-law, Ed Bonekemper wrote a highly critical analysis of Robert E. Lee's Civil War generalship in his first book, HOW ROBERT E. LEE LOST THE CIVIL WAR. That book was successful in all respects and opened the door to a C-Span appearance and ultimately to hundreds of Civil War speaking engagements -- especially to Civil War Roundtables.

In the course of researching his Lee book, Ed discovered that many "Lost Cause" and other pro-Lee historians had denigrated Ulysses S. Grant in order to deify Lee. So Ed next produced a positive analysis of Grant in A VICTOR, NOT A BUTCHER: ULYSSES S. GRANT'S OVERLOOKED MILITARY GENIUS. Another C-Span appearance followed. That book was published by Regnery History in 2004 and republished by Regnery History in 2010 as a softcover under the title ULYSSES S. GRANT: A VICTOR, NOT A BUTCHER.

His next books were McCLELLAN AND FAILURE: A STUDY OF CIVIL WAR FEAR, INCOMPETENCE AND WORSE (McFarland, 2007), in which he discusses the abject failures and virtual treason of George B. McClellan, and GRANT AND LEE: VICTORIOUS AMERICAN AND VANQUISHED VIRGINIAN, in which he traces the careers and contemporaneous Civil War experiences of Grant and Lee. Through narrative and statistical analysis, Ed presents a compelling case for Grant being the greatest general of the Civil War and Lee being an overrated general who was more aggressive than the South needed or could afford and who was a Virginian first and a Confederate second. The Grant/Lee book was published by Praeger (now ABC-CLIO) as a hardcover in 2008 and by Regnery History as a softcover in 2012.

Ed's fifth book was LINCOLN AND GRANT: THE WESTERNERS WHO WON THE CIVIL WAR. He explores the common backgrounds and personality traits of Lincoln and Grant, traces their pre-Civil War lives, focuses on their respective growth and successes during the Civil War, and provides a 50-page synopsis of the reasons for their success as one of the greatest partnerships in American history. That synopsis is available as a stand-alone e-book, LINCOLN AND GRANT'S TEAMWORK: KEYS TO THEIR CIVIL WAR SUCCESS. LINCOLN AND GRANT was published as a softcover by Regnery History in 2015.

THE MYTH OF THE LOST CAUSE (Regnery History, 2015) is Ed’s most important book because it deals with many controversial issues that still resonate today. These include the cause of the Civil War, the nature of slavery, the likelihood of slavery disappearing without an explosive development such as the Civil War, and the alleged inevitability of Union victory in that war.

Beginning in 2003, Ed became an adjunct lecturer in military history at his original alma mater, Muhlenberg College, in Allentown, PA. For eight years (2003-2010), he taught military history -- and writing skills -- to classes at Muhlenberg on the Civil War, World War II and American Military History. (In addition to his BA from Muhlenberg, Ed has an MA from Old Dominion University and a JD from Yale Law School.) Between 2010 and 2016, Ed served as the Book Review Editor of the CIVIL WAR NEWS, a national monthly newspaper. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Quarryville, PA Library.

For over fifteen years, Ed has discussed his six books and related Civil War topics at hundreds of Civil War Roundtables and other forums, such as the Smithsonian Institution (ten times), the Delta Queen, the Lincoln Forum of the District of Columbia, and The Chautauqua Institution.

He lives with his wife Susan and their cockapoo Ruby in Pennsylvania. Susan taught kindergarten for 42 straight years and now volunteers at three local libraries and in dog therapy visitations with Ruby to hospice, skilled nursing, and oncology patients.

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
362 global ratings

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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 28, 2015
34 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 8, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Cause Dismantled.
By James Anderson on November 7, 2021
Edward Bonekemper III released this book in 2015 . I am a serious Civil War buff and have read many books on the subject but never this one until now.
I can imagine when this book came out, Neo-Confederates howled the same way Georgia howled when General Sherman marched to the sea. The writer dives right in, exposing the biggest lie of the Lost Cause Myth , that the South seceded from the Union over " states' rights " and not slavery. He shows from historical documents of Confederate leaders, in their own words, that they considered slavery and white supremacy to be the foundation of their nation. Even as the Confederacy was collapsing in 1864 and some suggested that Black slaves be freed and armed to fight the Union, the Confederate government rejected that proposal for they feared a massive slave revolt and felt freeing the enslaved people would undermine their belief in white supremacy. Bonekemper shows how the pre-war antebellum South had become a virtual police state with armed patrols and militias keeping track of slaves' movement. The South was no paradise for Black slaves, who were often overworked and brutalized and thousands ran away with the help of the abolitionist Underground Railroad. The revolt of Nat Turner in 1831 had shown white slaveowners that that Black slaves were not willingly docile or submissive. In 1860, the South showed no indication they were abolishing slavery and when Abraham Lincoln won the U.S. presidential election, " fire-eating " Southern politicians agitated for secession, formed the Confederacy, and started the Civil War by firing on Fort Sumter.
The writer goes on to debunk another Lost Cause Myth, that Robert E. Lee was the greatest General in the Civil War . In 4 years, Lee lost 55,000 men leading a single army. He won battles but lacked any ability at forming long range strategy. He refused to operate outside Virginia, gave confusing orders, and didn't reinforce other Confederate generals out west. When Lee went on the offensive,
he was overaggressive, invading the North twice and losing thousands of men at the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg. Even worse he blamed others for his mistakes. Lee didn't understand modern war and his outdated tactics ( suicidal charges against repeating rifles and heavy artillery ) cost him many men and eventually the war. Even as the Confederacy was collapsing, he refused to surrender until his army dwindled to a band of ragged starving men and the Union forces had him virtually surrounded.
It was only after the war that Lost Cause propagandists made Lee into an almost godlike King Arthur hero. The reality is Lee was an incompetent general who only won battles because he fought weak Union generals. Once Ulysses S. Grant took command of the Union army, Lee faced an antagonist who was a shrewd strategist , a relentless fighter, and a master tactician. Grant captured Vicksburg, effectively splitting the Confederacy in half, then moved east to launch an offensive against Lee at Petersburg. Grant, unlike Lee, was a modern general in every way and understood the war from a political and social-economic as well as military perspective. Though Grant had heavy casualties at the Battle of the Crater, he prevailed until Lee had no way to turn or escape. Though Grant won the Civil War, many Confederates hated him and denounced him as a drunk and a butcher. The writer shows that neither charge was true and that Grant was not only the greatest General of the Civil War but the greatest General in American History. The Union did not defeat the Confederacy through brute force or superior numbers. The North won by developing an effective war plan which brilliant Generals Grant and William T. Sherman executed effectively . This book has destroyed the Lost Cause Myth once and for all . Highly recommended for serious Civil War buffs and people who like real history.
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 2, 2022
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r.j. potter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on January 9, 2018
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