The American Civil War: A Military History by John Keegan3.5?? Interesting international views of the U.S. Civil War. For instance, Britain leant heavily toward the South, which sought diplomatic recognition, but was put off by north British mill owners and workers who were staunchly anti-slavery.
Many generals of both North and South were graduates of the West Point Class of 1846. Grant and Sherman, I already knew, were supremely competent fighters. But I did not know that Robert E. Lee was so highly regarded among that class, nor that he was a brilliant fighter who acquitted himself admirably in the Mexican–American War (1846-48). Certainly his showing against Grant at Petersburg was masterful, even if he ultimately lost. Lee was almost put in charge of the Union army before deciding to go with my state [of Virginia]. Stonewall Jackson, too, is here considered a military genius and a master of tactical maneuver, though he was not as skilled in battle because of the personal faults of aloofness and poor communication with his subordinates. The chapter Civil War Generalship lays out each generals strengths and weaknesses.
Lincolns growth as strategist for the Union, a skill learned only after much trial and error, is fascinating to read about. Churchill greatly admired him. How the North shut down Southern ports and initiated a naval blockade, virtually starving the South of foreign exchange, is cogently explained. The Union strategy was called the Anaconda Plan, which sought to deprive the non-industrial south of imports as well as exports (King Cotton). It was arrived at only after much wringing of hands because Lincoln had no good advisors at the start of the war. He was to become, however, quite proficient as a war-time leader. Something that cant be said of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.
The Norths bumbling in the early years of the war is depressing. The incompetence of the generals, especially McClelland, who was risk-averse if not downright timid, and Hooker, who quailed before Chancellorsville, is painful to read about.
Slavery had however kept the South primitive. It had no industry. The North was able to bankroll the war, and they did not stint, relying on the ancient idea of selling government bonds and imposing a temporary income tax. By contrast, the South, because of the Union blockade, was cut off both from proceeds for exports and imports, which were essential since it manufactured little. The North also had exquisite quartermasters handling logistics and communications. It helped, too, that the lions share of the railroads were in the North.
If Robert E. Lee had taken command of the Northern armies, and had at his service the Norths top-notch communications and logistics, the Civil War might have been concluded in far less time than four grueling years. Its tremendous fun, this narrative, as it sorts the heroes and idiots on both sides for the readers delectation. The account of Stonewall Jacksons death is harrowing, unforgettable. Keegan breathes life into what in anothers hands would be undistinguished drivel. This is my fourth Keegan book. I look forward to reading many more.
For me, the real fighting in the eastern theater, as opposed to skirmishing and retreating, doesnt start until Sharpsburg, Chancellorsville and Antietam. Gettysburg is mayhem, utter hell, droves slaughtering droves. And why? For what? To keep persons of color in slavery and not seek industrial development? What a waste of effort. Its like insisting on remaining Neolithic. The storys mind-numbingly effective in Keegans telling, though hes done little original scholarship. All Americans should have as clear an understanding of our national calamity as this fine book affords. I have not read Shelby Foote yet, though I hope to. But theres much to be said for the one-volume approach Keegan uses here for the way it crystalizes the story of the war into a crisp and memorable narrative.
[READ] Magic Treehouse #21: Civil War on Sunday
The Civil War is cemented in history as the deadliest war fought on American soil. For four years, the Unioners of the North fought the Confederates of the South, hoping to dismantle the institution of slavery. This led to the loss of over , lives and, ultimately, the assassination of President Lincoln in
Civil War Book List
If, like me, you received a necktie with reindeer on it from Santa instead of a good Civil War book under the Christmas tree, then you might try selecting one for yourself from my own list of the top 12 Civil War books, which I offer here in the spirit of the season and, even more appropriately, as the th anniversary of the war is about to begin. Perhaps your own observance of the sesquicentennial could include reading one of these books a month over the next year. If so, I can promise you'll be edified by every one of them, even if they do not end up on your own personal list of favorite Civil War books. And something more: there'll be no exam next December. Putting together such a list is, of course, a nearly impossible task, given the stacks and stacks of excellent books on the Civil War that have been published since
As result, if you want to learn more about the Civil War, it may be hard to know where to start. These books mentioned here are some of the best-selling books on the topic and have great reviews on sites like Amazon, Goodreads and etc. I have also used a lot of these books in my research for this website and can personally recommend them as some of the best books on the Civil War. Disclaimer: This article contains Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Published in , this book is considered one of the best books ever written about the Civil War.
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Matthew Gallman, Matthew C. Below are their responses. Ulysses S. Grant Often described as the best book by a U.
Explores the world through literature, movies, words, and quotes for the intellectually curious. July 1, marks the th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, fought between July in The battle is notable for several reasons: many historians recognize it as a turning point in the bitterly fought Civil War, it was one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War the highest casualties sustained in a single day of any U. Bookshelf presents some of the notable numbers behind this legendary battle:. For further reading: civilwar.
There are over 60, books on the war, with more appearing each month. Perhaps a hundred thousand books have been published about the Civil War. There is no complete bibliography to the war; the largest guide to books is over 40 years old and lists over 6, of the most valuable titles as evaluated by three leading scholars. The books on major campaigns typically contain their own specialized guides to the sources and literature. The most comprehensive guide to the historiography annotates over a thousand major titles, with an emphasis on military topics. It emphasizes cultural studies, memory, diaries, southern literary writings, and famous novelists.