- Series: The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (July 25, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0742551253
- ISBN-13: 978-0742551251
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,832,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863–1865 (The American Crisis Series: Books on the Civil War Era)
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Controversial and compelling from first page to last, Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy achieves a trifecta. It affirms Lee's stature as a perceptive strategist who understood Confederate independence could only be achieved by breaking the Union's will in battle, it demonstrates the Army of the Potomac as a fighting force and its successive generals as competent commanders, and it establishes Rafuse in the front rank of a new generation of scholars applying fresh perspectives to the Civil War.
Is it really possible there's anything new to say about Robert E. Lee, who probably has had more written about him than any other Civil War military figure? Ethan Rafuse clearly thinks so, and in [this book] he argues his case. . . . Rafuse brings impeccable credentials to his quest. (America's Civil War)
Ethan Rafuse . . . has written one of the most objective, balanced, and perceptive accounts of Lee's strategy and tactics that one could wish for. It is a masterful blend of narrative and analysis. (Civil War News)
[A] clear, solidly researched, and stimulating book full of sensible, balanced judgments wholly free from the polemical self-indulgence bequeathed to this subject by the late Thomas L. Connelly. Rafuse is thus able to explore controversial issues in a no-nonsense fashion. (Journal of American History)
Rafuse's book contains many provocative passages and his thesis about Lee's inability to win Southern independence may well be valid. (Blue & Gray Magazine)
Combining lucid writing, judicious analysis, and refreshing common sense, this new study of Robert E. Lee's generalship shows once again why Ethan S. Rafuse is one of the finest Civil War military historians at work today. (Mark Grimsley, The Ohio State University, author of And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May–June 1864)
The author achieved a fresh perspective in this campaign study by structuring his analysis within the framework of the current Army typology of the levels of war: strategic, operational, and tactical. . . . This well researched book is one of the more significant contributions to the historiography of the Civil War in the past decade. (The Journal Of Military History)
This is an important book for young people who are just starting to learn about our American Civil War. . . . I highly recommend this book as a learning tool for our young people who are studying our nation's history. (The Lone Star Book Review)
Rafuse's study thus reflects a reasonably stable scholarly consensus with regard to the high operational quality of Lee's generalship. . . . Rafuse also shows that some historians have too easily conflated a preference among McClellan's successors for the Peninsula as a line or operations with the earlier general's irresolute behavior on the battlefield. (Journal of Southern History)
Controversial and compelling from first page to last, Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy achieves a trifecta. It affirms Lee's stature as a perceptive strategist who understood Confederate independence could only be achieved by breaking the Union's will in battle, it demonstrates the Army of the Potomac as a fighting force and its successive generals as competent commanders, and it establishes Rafuse in the front rank of a new generation of scholars applying fresh perspectives to the Civil War.(Dennis E. Showalter, Colorado College; author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the Twentieth Century)
About the Author
Ethan S. Rafuse is associate professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff college at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. His previous books include McClellan's War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, George Gordon Meade and the War in the East, and A Single Grand Victory: The First Campaign and the Battle of Manassas.
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I have approximately 148 books on the Civil War and I would rate this one highly
This is not a book about failure. This is a story of hanging on in the face of long odds, of maximizing resources and managing upward. The secondary story is how Washington's decisions helped Lee maintain his army until US Grant has the political capital to overrule Washington and pin Lee to Richmond. The author has the knowledge to write this book and the ability to communicate the nuances of strategy to us, allowing the reader to understand the problems Washington created for the Army of the Potomac and how this helped Lee. Washington's insistence on "covering the capital" severely limits operations in Virginia. The refusal to consider an approach up the James River, a holdover from the Seven Days, frees Lee to conduct a war of maneuver.
The book contains one of the few good accounts of the period covering Lee's retreats from Gettysburg to the start of the Overland Campaign. The chapter "Waltzing with Meade" is a revelation to those who know about this but have not seen how it fits into the overall war. This is not a detailed battle history. Battles occur and have a huge impact on the army. However, the reasons for accepting battle, the reaction to it and how this changes the army's position is where the author spends his time.
This is a well-written intelligent account. The author's positions are well supported and footnoted. It can be a challenging read but is never a boring one. Ethan S. Rafuse continues to challenge the standard history of the war with intelligent analysis that is free of existing traditions. In doing so, he is showing us a war that is more historic accurate than anything we have seen. This is another of his great books.