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The Confederate War - How Popular Will, Nationalism and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat (Hardcover, illustrated edition)
The Confederate War - How Popular Will, Nationalism and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat (Hardcover, illustrated...

The Confederate War - How Popular Will, Nationalism and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat (Hardcover, illustrated edition)

Gary W. Gallagher

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A revisionist examination of the Confederate experience, as much concerned with historians and their methods as with history itself. "Any historian who argues that the Confederate people demonstrated robust devotion to their slave-based republic, possessed feelings of national community, and sacrificed more than any other segment of white society in US history," frets Gallagher (American History/Penn. State Univ.), "runs the risk of being labeled a neo-Confederate." He's right to worry. Making precisely that argument, his history of Confederate military and civilian experience veers dangerously close to hagiography of an entire culture. Challenging the current historical consensus that lack of will, absence of national unity, and flawed military strategy doomed the Confederacy, Gallagher presents contemporary letters, diaries, and newspaper accounts that rhapsodize about the true grit of rebel soldiers and civilians. To his credit, he resists the urge to backtrack from Appomattox when explaining military failure (as he accuses other historians of doing) and instead puts the Confederate war effort in a larger historical framework - namely the successful rebellion of the American Revolution. He poses a number of intriguing questions for fellow historians, suggesting most notably that scholars ask not why an uprising viewed as "a rich man's war but a poor man's fight" failed, but why so many non-slaveholders fought for so long. But his parade of testimonials to the nobility of the Lost Cause, unchallenged by critical questioning, sticks in the craw. Soldiers' letters, reenlistment figures, and editorials - which all suggest high morale when taken at face value by Gallagher - could easily be viewed as propaganda. At least their bombastic language enlivens an otherwise stiffly formal academic text. A work of more interest to historians than general readers, and more important for the questions it raises than any it answers. (Kirkus Reviews)
If one is to believe contemporary historians, the South never had a chance. Many allege that the Confederacy lost the Civil War because of internal divisions or civilian disaffection, others point to flawed military strategy or ambivalence over slavery. This book argues that we should not ask why the Confederacy collapsed so soon, but rather how it lasted so long. The book re-examines the Confederate experience through the actions and words of the people who lived it, to show how the home front responded to the war, endured great hardships and assembled armies that fought with spirit and determination. This portrait of the period highlights a sense of Confederate patriotism and unity in the face of a determined adversary. Drawing on letters, diaries and newspapers of the day, the author challenges current historical thinking by showing that Southerners held not only an unflagging belief in their way of life, which sustained them to the bitter end, but also a widespread expectation of victory and a strong popular will closely attuned to military events. The book also claims, in contrast to the beliefs of many historians, that the South's offensive-defensive strategy came very close to triumph. To understand why the South lost, Gallagher says we need look no further than the war itself - a long struggle with enormous loss of life and property and the final realization by the Southerners that they had been beaten on the battlefield.

General

Imprint: Harvard University Press
Country of origin: United States
Release date: September 1997
Authors: Gary W. Gallagher
Dimensions: 209 x 184 x 26mm (L x W x T)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 230
Edition: illustrated edition
ISBN-13: 978-0-674-16055-2
Categories: Books > Humanities > History > American history > 1800 to 1900
Books > Humanities > History > History of specific subjects > Social & cultural history
Books > Humanities > History > History of specific subjects > Military history
Books > Social sciences > Warfare & defence > War & defence operations > Civil war
Books > History > American history > 1800 to 1900
Books > History > History of specific subjects > Military history
Books > History > History of specific subjects > Social & cultural history
LSN: 0-674-16055-X
Barcode: 9780674160552

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