The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction (Paperback)
  • The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction (Paperback)
zoom

The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction (Paperback)

(author)
£26.95
Paperback 288 Pages
Published: 10/05/2010
  • We can order this from the publisher

UK delivery within 4-5 weeks

  • This item has been added to your basket

The Civil War is often portrayed as the most brutal war in America's history, a premonition of twentieth-century slaughter and carnage. In challenging this view, Mark E. Neely, Jr., considers the war's destructiveness in a comparative context, revealing the sense of limits that guided the conduct of American soldiers and statesmen.

Neely begins by contrasting Civil War behavior with U.S. soldiers' experiences in the Mexican War of 1846. He examines Price's Raid in Missouri for evidence of deterioration in the restraints imposed by the customs of war; and in a brilliant analysis of Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley campaign, he shows that the actions of U.S. cavalrymen were selective and controlled. The Mexican war of the 1860s between French imperial forces and republicans provided a new yardstick for brutality: Emperor Maximilian's infamous Black Decree threatened captured enemies with execution. Civil War battles, however, paled in comparison with the unrestrained warfare waged against the Plains Indians. Racial beliefs, Neely shows, were a major determinant of wartime behavior.

Destructive rhetoric was rampant in the congressional debate over the resolution to avenge the treatment of Union captives at Andersonville by deliberately starving and freezing to death Confederate prisoners of war. Nevertheless, to gauge the events of the war by the ferocity of its language of political hatred is a mistake, Neely argues. The modern overemphasis on violence in Civil War literature has led many scholars to go too far in drawing close analogies with the twentieth century's "total war" and the grim guerrilla struggles of Vietnam.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674045958
Number of pages: 288
Dimensions: 200 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

In a perceptive and rigorously argued call to resist the temptation to describe the Civil War as an unusually destructive or brutal war, Mark Neely finds new ways to examine old questions and to challenge prevailing interpretations. This is another first-rate work from one of the best and most imaginative scholars working in the field of Civil War history. - Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Confederate War

Neely tackles a fascinating and important topic: were terror and brutality a key part of the Civil War? He makes a compelling case that the combat was more controlled than we now often accept. His account is original­-in some cases clearly pathbreaking­-and his tone passionate and gripping. This is a major contribution that will capture a wide readership. - Ari Kelman, author of A River and Its City

An intriguing new book...Neely argues forcefully and thoughtfully for a more realistic, less gory understanding of the great war...Whatever you think of Neely's arguments, you cannot reject them as poorly conceived or loosely defended. He is a thoughtful expert who delivers a book that you cannot read without transforming your view of the Civil War and its place in American history. - Cameron McWhirter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Impressive and lively. - David Waldstreicher, Boston Globe

A seminal work on a big issue, The Civil War and the Limits of Destruction should stir up much productive discussion. - John Cimprich, Civil War Book Review

Using comparisons to other wars in other nations in the 19th and 20th centuries, Neely finds that the U.S. Civil War was not nearly as bloody as conventional wisdom (and much scholarly wisdom) has held. - R. G. Lowe, Choice

You may also be interested in...

Che Guevara
Added to basket
£20.00
Paperback
Lost City of the Incas
Added to basket
John F. Kennedy
Added to basket
£19.99
Paperback
Empire of the Summer Moon
Added to basket
Conquistadors
Added to basket
£14.99
Paperback
Battle Cry of Freedom
Added to basket
Benjamin Franklin
Added to basket
1491
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
The Penguin History Of Latin America
Added to basket
The Sugar Barons
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
1776
Added to basket
£16.99
Paperback
Team of Rivals
Added to basket
The American Civil War
Added to basket
The Island at the Center of the World
Added to basket

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.

env: aptum
branch: