Book picks similar to
Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience by Emory M. Thomas
Sherman: A Soldier's Life
Lee B. Kennett - 2001
Others are often summed up in a few words: the stubborn, taciturn Grant; the gentlemanly, gifted Lee; the stomping, cursing Sheridan; and the flamboyant, boyish Stuart. But the enigmatic Sherman still manages to elude us. Probably no other figure of his day divides historians so deeply-leading some to praise him as a genius, others to condemn him as a savage.Now, in Sherman, Lee Kennett offers a brilliant new interpretation of the general's life and career, one that embraces his erratic, contradictory nature. Here we see the making of a true soldier, beginning with a colorful view of Sherman's rich family tradition, his formative years at West Point, and the critical period leading up to the Civil War, during which Sherman served in the small frustrated peacetime army and saw service in the South and California, and in the Mexican War Trying to advance himself, Sherman resigned from the army and he soon began to distinguish hiniself as a general known for his tenacity, vision, and mercurial temper. Throughout the spirited Battles of Bull Run and Shiloh, the siege of Vicksburg, and ultimately the famous march to the sea through Georgia, no one displayed the same intensity as did Sherman.From the heights of success to the depths of his own depression, Sherman managed to forge on after the war with barely a moment of slowing down. Born to fight, he was also born to lead and to provoke, traits he showed by serving as commanding general of the army, cutting a wide swath through the western frontier, and finally writing his classic -- and highly controversial -- memoirs. Eventually Sherman would die famous, well-to-do, and revered -- but also deeply misunderstood.By drawing on previously unexploited materials and maintaining a sharp, lively narrative, Lee Kennett presents a rich, authoritative portrait of Sherman, the man and the soldier, who emerges from this work more human and more fascinating than ever before.
Valor's Measure: Based on the heroic Civil War career of Joshua L. Chamberlain
Thomas Wade Oliver - 2013
From his legendary bayonet charge down the slopes of Little Round Top hill during the Battle of Gettysburg, to the startling calling of Union troops to salute as the defeated Confederate Army surrendered to him at Appomattox, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain redefined the scale of greatness in this country. Wounded six times in battle, twice assumed to be a fatality, the volunteer officer from Maine continued to lead gallantly until the final shot was fired during the Civil War. Valor's Measure tells the death-defying tale of this Medal of Honor hero and captures his spirit as no autobiography can.
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War
Tony Horwitz - 1998
But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart.Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America's greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of 'hardcore' reenactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag; at Andersonville, he finds that the prison's commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and in the book's climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the 'Civil Wargasm.'Written with Horwitz's signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones 'classrooms, courts, country bars' where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt drawn to the mythic South and to the dark romance of the Civil War.
Meade at Gettysburg: A Study in Command
Kent Masterson Brown - 2021
Meade guided his forces to victory in the Civil War's most pivotal battle. Commentators often dismiss Meade when discussing the great leaders of the Civil War. But in this long-anticipated book, Kent Masterson Brown draws on an expansive archive to reappraise Meade's leadership during the Battle of Gettysburg. Using Meade's published and unpublished papers alongside diaries, letters, and memoirs of fellow officers and enlisted men, Brown highlights how Meade's rapid advance of the army to Gettysburg on July 1, his tactical control and coordination of the army in the desperate fighting on July 2, and his determination to hold his positions on July 3 insured victory.Brown argues that supply deficiencies, brought about by the army's unexpected need to advance to Gettysburg, were crippling. In spite of that, Meade pursued Lee's retreating army rapidly, and his decision not to blindly attack Lee's formidable defenses near Williamsport on July 13 was entirely correct in spite of subsequent harsh criticism. Combining compelling narrative with incisive analysis, this finely rendered work of military history deepens our understanding of the Army of the Potomac as well as the machinations of the Gettysburg Campaign, restoring Meade to his rightful place in the Gettysburg narrative.
The Civil War: A Narrative
Shelby Foote - 1963
Collected together in a handsome boxed set, this is the perfect gift for any Civil War buff.Fort Sumter to Perryville"Here, for a certainty, is one of the great historical narratives of our century, a unique and brilliant achievement, one that must be firmly placed in the ranks of the masters." -Van Allen Bradley, Chicago Daily News"Anyone who wants to relive the Civil War, as thousands of Americans apparently do, will go through this volume with pleasure.... Years from now, Foote's monumental narrative most likely will continue to be read and remembered as a classic of its kind." -New York Herald Tribune Book ReviewFredericksburg to Meridian"This, then, is narrative history-a kind of history that goes back to an older literary tradition.... The writing is superb...one of the historical and literary achievements of our time." -The Washington Post Book World"Gettysburg...is described with such meticulous attention to action, terrain, time, and the characters of the various commanders that I understand, at last, what happened in that battle.... Mr. Foote has an acute sense of the relative importance of events and a novelist's skill in directing the reader's attention to the men and the episodes that will influence the course of the whole war, without omitting items which are of momentary interest. His organization of facts could hardly be bettered." -AtlanticRed River to Appomattox"An unparalleled achievement, an American Iliad, a unique work uniting the scholarship of the historian and the high readability of the first-class novelist." -Walker Percy"I have never read a better, more vivid, more understandable account of the savage battling between Grant's and Lee's armies
Mosby's Rangers: A Record Of The Operations Of The Forty-Third Battalion Virginia Cavalry, From Its Organization To The Surrender
James Joseph Williamson - 1982
Under the command of Col. John S. Mosby they executed small raids behind Union lines, raiding at will and then vanishing quickly into the countryside to remain undetected. Formally known as the 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, they were formed after the Partisan Ranger Act of 1862. By the summer of 1864 Mosby had around four hundred men at his disposal in six cavalry companies and one artillery company. Their success led to the area around Fauquier and Loudoun counties becoming known as “Mosby’s Confederacy”, due to the grip that he and his men held on the area. James Joseph Williamson was private who fought under Mosby from April, 1863, through until the end of the war. He records in fascinating detail the activity of Mosby and his men from their companies organization until the moment that they were disbanded. Williamson provides brilliant insight into the campaigns that Mosby’s men fought, how they were organized, who led them, the difficulties they faced, as well as their greatest victories. The effectiveness of Mosby and his small band can be seen in these two statements: General Lee said that Mosby was “zealous bold, and skillful, and with very small resources he has accomplished a great deal.” While on the Union side, “General at one point reported that seventeen thousand of his men were engaged in keeping Mosby from attacking his weak points, and thus away from active service on the firing line. Finally it was not safe to send despatches by a courier unless a regiment was sent along to guard him." Yet, after the war, Grant held no animosity against his former foe, and stated “I have come to know Mosby personally and somewhat intimately. He is a different man entirely from what I supposed. … He is able and thoroughly honest and truthful. There were probably but few men in the South who could have commanded successfully a separate detachment in the rear of an opposing army, and so near the borders of hostilities as long as he did without losing his entire command.” Thus demonstrating the respect that Mosby and his men engendered with their enemies even after the war. Mosby’s Rangers is a perfect book for anyone interested in the partisan activities of Mosby and his men through the course of the American Civil War. James Joseph William was one of Mosby’s Rangers from 1863 through until the end of the war. His book was first published in New York in 1896 and he passed away in 1915.
Drawn with the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War
James M. McPherson - 1996
McPherson is acclaimed as one of the finest historians writing today and a preeminent commentator on the Civil War. Battle Cry of Freedom, his Pulitzer Prize-winning account of that conflict, was a national bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The New York Times, called history writingof the highest order. Now, in Drawn With the Sword, McPherson offers a series of thoughtful and engaging essays on some of the most enduring questions of the Civil War, written in the masterful prose that has become his trademark.Filled with fresh interpretations, puncturing old myths and challenging new ones, Drawn With the Sword explores such questions as why the North won and why the South lost (emphasizing the role of contingency in the Northern victory), whether Southern or Northern aggression began the war, and whoreally freed the slaves, Abraham Lincoln or the slaves themselves. McPherson offers memorable portraits of the great leaders who people the landscape of the Civil War: Ulysses S. Grant, struggling to write his memoirs with the same courage and determination that marked his successes on thebattlefield; Robert E. Lee, a brilliant general and a true gentleman, yet still a product of his time and place; and Abraham Lincoln, the leader and orator whose mythical figure still looms large over our cultural landscape. And McPherson discusses often-ignored issues such as the development of theCivil War into a modern total war against both soldiers and civilians, and the international impact of the American Civil War in advancing the cause of republicanism and democracy in countries from Brazil and Cuba to France and England. Of special interest is the final essay, entitled What's theMatter With History?, a trenchant critique of the field of history today, which McPherson describes here as more and more about less and less. He writes that professional historians have abandoned narrative history written for the greater audience of educated general readers in favor ofimpenetrable tomes on minor historical details which serve only to edify other academics, thus leaving the historical education of the general public to films and television programs such as Glory and Ken Burns's PBS documentary The Civil War.Each essay in Drawn With the Sword reveals McPherson's own profound knowledge of the Civil War and of the controversies among historians, presenting all sides in clear and lucid prose and concluding with his own measured and eloquent opinions. Readers will rejoice that McPherson has once againproven by example that history can be both accurate and interesting, informative and well-written. Mark Twain wrote that the Civil War wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations. In Drawn With the Sword, McPherson gracefully and brilliantly illuminates this momentous conflict.
Freedom From Fear: Part 1: The American People in the Great Depression: American People in the Great Depression Pt.1 (Oxford History of the United States)
David M. Kennedy - 1973
In this first installment of his Pulitzer Prize-winning Freedom from Fear, Kennedy tells how America endured, and eventually prevailed, in the face of that unprecedented calamity. Kennedy vividly demonstrates that the economic crisis of the 1930s was more than a reaction to the excesses of the 1920s. For more than a century before the Crash, America's unbridled industrial revolution had gyrated through repeated boom and bust cycles, consuming capital and inflicting misery on city and countryside alike. Nor was the alleged prosperity of the 1920s as uniformly shared as legend portrays. Countless Americans eked out threadbare lives on the margins of national life. Roosevelt's New Deal wrenched opportunity from the trauma of the 1930s and created a lasting legacy of economic and social reform, but it was afflicted with shortcomings and contradictions as well. With an even hand Kennedy details the New Deal's problems and defeats, as well as its achievements. He also sheds fresh light on its incandescent but enigmatic author, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Marshalling unforgettable narratives that feature prominent leaders as well as lesser-known citizens, The American People in the Great Depression tells the story of a resilient nation finding courage in an unrelenting storm.
The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth
Peter Cozzens - 1997
The outcome of this offensive--the only coordinated Confederate attempt to carry the conflict to the enemy--was disastrous. The results at Antietam and in Kentucky are well known; the third offensive, the northern Mississippi campaign, led to the devastating and little-studied defeats at Iuka and Corinth, defeats that would open the way for Grant's attack on Vicksburg. Peter Cozzens presents here the first book-length study of these two complex and vicious battles. Drawing on extensive primary research, he details the tactical stories of Iuka--where nearly one-third of those engaged fell--and Corinth--fought under brutally oppressive conditions--analyzing troop movements down to the regimental level. He also provides compelling portraits of Generals Grant, Rosecrans, Van Dorn, and Price, exposing the ways in which their clashing ambitions and antipathies affected the outcome of the campaign. Finally, he draws out the larger, strategic implications of the battles of Iuka and Corinth, exploring their impact on the fate of the northern Mississippi campaign, and by extension, the fate of the Confederacy.During the late summer of 1862, Confederate forces attempted a three-pronged strategic advance into the North. The outcome of this offensive--the only coordinated Confederate attempt to carry the conflict to the enemy--was disastrous. The results at Antietam and in Kentucky are well known; the third offensive, the northern Mississippi campaign, led to the devastating and little-studied defeats at Iuka and Corinth, defeats that would open the way for Grant's attack on Vicksburg. Peter Cozzens details the tactical stories of Iuka and Corinth, analyzing troop movements down to the regimental level and providing compelling portraits of Generals Grant, Rosecrans, Van Dorn, and Price. He also draws out the larger, strategic implications of the battles, exploring their impact on the fate of the northern Mississippi campaign, and by extension, the fate of the Confederacy.
David Herbert Donald - 1995
Donald goes beyond biography, illuminating the gradual development of Lincoln’s character, chronicling his tremendous capacity for evolution and growth, thus illustrating what made it possible for a man so inexperienced and so unprepared for the presidency to become a great moral leader. In the most troubled of times, here was a man who led the country out of slavery and preserved a shattered Union—in short, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen.
Gods and Generals
Jeff Shaara - 1996
Shaara captures the disillusionment of both Lee and Hancock early in their careers, Lee's conflict with loyalty, Jackson's overwhelming Christian ethic and Chamberlain's total lack of experience, while illustrating how each compensated for shortcomings and failures when put to the test. The perspectives of the four men, particularly concerning the battles at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, make vivid the realities of war.
The Civil War: A Concise History
Louis P. Masur - 2011
Louis P. Masur's The Civil War: A Concise History offers a masterful and eminently readable overview of the war's multiple causes and catastrophic effects. Masur begins by examining the complex origins of the war, focusing on the pulsating tensions over states rights and slavery. The book thenproceeds to cover, year by year, the major political, social, and military events, highlighting two important themes: how the war shifted from a limited conflict to restore the Union to an all-out war that would fundamentally transform Southern society, and the process by which the war ultimatelybecame a battle to abolish slavery. Masur explains how the war turned what had been a loose collection of fiercely independent states into a nation, remaking its political, cultural, and social institutions. But he also focuses on the soldiers themselves, both Union and Confederate, whose storiesconstitute nothing less than America's Iliad. In the final chapter Masur considers the aftermath of the South's surrender at Appomattox and the clash over the policies of reconstruction that continued to divide President and Congress, conservatives and radicals, Southerners and Northerners for yearsto come. In 1873, Mark Twain and Charles Dudley wrote that the war had wrought so profoundly upon the entire national character that the influence cannot be measured short of two or three generations. From the vantage of the war's sesquicentennial, this concise history of the entire Civil War era offersan invaluable introduction to the dramatic events whose effects are still felt today.
Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War
Elizabeth R. Varon - 2013
But as Elizabeth Varon reveals in this vividly narrated history, this rosy image conceals a seething debate over precisely what the surrender meant and what kind of nation would emerge from war. The combatants in that debate included the iconic Lee and Grant, but they also included a cast of characters previously overlooked, who brought their own understanding of the war's causes, consequences, and meaning. In Appomattox, Varon deftly captures the events swirling around that well remembered-but not well understood-moment when the Civil War ended. She expertly depicts the final battles in Virginia, when Grant's troops surrounded Lee's half-starved army, the meeting of the generals at the McLean House, and the shocked reaction as news of the surrender spread like an electric charge throughout the nation. But as Varon shows, the ink had hardly dried before both sides launched a bitter debate over the meaning of the war. For Grant, and for most in the North, the Union victory was one of right over wrong, a vindication of free society; for many African Americans, the surrender marked the dawn of freedom itself. Lee, in contrast, believed that the Union victory was one of might over right: the vast impersonal Northern war machine had worn down a valorous and unbowed South. Lee was committed to peace, but committed, too, to the restoration of the South's political power within the Union and the perpetuation of white supremacy. Lee's vision of the war resonated broadly among Confederates and conservative northerners, and inspired Southern resistance to reconstruction. Did America's best days lie in the past or in the future? For Lee, it was the past, the era of the founding generation. For Grant, it was the future, represented by Northern moral and material progress. They held, in the end, two opposite views of the direction of the country-and of the meaning of the war that had changed that country forever.
Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery
Leon F. Litwack - 1979
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book AwardBased on hitherto unexamined sources: interviews with ex-slaves, diaries and accounts by former slaveholders, this "rich and admirably written book" (Eugene Genovese, The New York Times Book Review) aims to show how, during the Civil War and after Emancipation, blacks and whites interacted in ways that dramatized not only their mutual dependency, but the ambiguities and tensions that had always been latent in "the peculiar institution."