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Southern History of the War: 2 Vols. in One Hardcover – May 23, 1990

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 598 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing (May 23, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517228998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517228999
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 2.5 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,841,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Annie Van Auken TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
According to Amazon's info, SOUTHERN HISTORY OF THE WAR is 598 pages. I believe this to be a miscount. The 1300-plus page Pollard tome I read reverts back to page 1 midway through the book, that is, after you complete the year 1862 - '63. The last two years covered total in fact 598 pages.

My copy of this massive book was an incredibly SLOW read, due to the author's penchant for frequent digressive and lengthy footnotes (of infinitesimally small font size). Additionally, there were numerous letters and words that didn't print clearly or were missing entirely, as if damaged 19th Century plates had been used in the reprinting.

Pollard's four volumes appeared in successive years, with each covering roughly a 12-month span, starting with spring of 1861 and the events that led up to it. Three of his works were issued during the war's progression. At first it was fascinating to "hear" the words of the RICHMOND EXAMINER's editor and his reactions to unfolding history. Unfortunately, Mr. Pollard proves to be anything but an impartial observer. An extreme pro-South bias permeates almost every page of his writings.

Examples: Consistently, according to Pollard, if Union men retreated after an armed encounter they were a panicked mob, while the Confederates always did so "in good order," facing the enemy. His casualty figures are ridiculously skewed: when a hundred or more Union soldiers fell in battle, only a handful of Confederates would join them in death. Pollard even audaciously claimed Gettysburg as a Southern victory! His only complaint was that Lee didn't make a stand in Maryland on his retreat south, instead of continuing on into Virginia. Finally, the author blamed the war's outcome solely on Jefferson Davis, a man he clearly had no tolerance for.

Unique as an extensive contemporary observation of a war-in-progress, E.A. Pollard's SOUTHERN HISTORY OF THE WAR greatly fails the test of time, accuracy and thus credibility.
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