The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat (Paperback)
  • The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat (Paperback)
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The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat (Paperback)

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£16.95
Paperback 230 Pages / Published: 31/03/1999
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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.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674160569
Number of pages: 230
Weight: 430 g
Dimensions: 201 x 176 x 19 mm
Edition: New edition


MEDIA REVIEWS
The Confederate War is a significant and thought-provoking addition to the current body of Civil War literature. Gallagher has returned the focus of the war to the theater in which it was decided--military operations. In doing do, he demonstrates the enormous human, financial and material investment that white Southerners put into the struggle for independence. Solidly researched and sharply argued, The Confederate War cannot easily be dismissed by the 'internal causes' historians. Consequently, it is likely to rekindle debate among both academics and popularizers, which is all to the good, particularly in the current stifling climate of political.--Richard F. Welch "America's Civil War "
An important book... The Confederate War is certain to cause controversy. For Gallagher dares to suggest that, despite, 'moral disapprobation' prevalent in many histories about the conflict over the past half-century, the stark fact remains that 'a majority of white southerners steadfastly supported their nascent republic, and that Confederate arms more than once almost persuaded the North that the price of subduing the rebellious states would be too high'... Using published evidence from Confederate diarists, soldiers, statesmen, and newspapers--evidence which by omission or intent seldom seems to find its way into recent Civil War histories--Gallagher makes a compelling case for Confederate unity. The Confederacy did not fall to pieces after Gettysburg; a 'mass of testimony' suggests that Southerners thought the war winnable until virtually the end... Thorough reassessments of the Confederacy and of the interpretations of it have long been overdue, and Gary W. Gallagher succeeds in his initial attempt to rebalance historical portrayals of the Civil War South.--B. Anthony Gannon "Register of the Kentucky Historical Society "
The Confederate War is an impressive volume. The arguments which Gallagher employs to support his central thesis are well constructed and quite persuasive. Gallagher also relies on a wide array of Confederate voices from the past to substantiate his case and this makes for an interesting study. Moreover, Gallagher's extensive review of the literature is incisive and most informative. The Confederate War should provide good reading for all students of Confederate nationalism and will generate lively debate among historians of the American Civil War for years to come.--Bruce Cauthen "Nation and Nationalism "
The best interpretive study of the Civil War, or at least of the Confederacy, to have appeared in a good many years. Gallagher has an almost unparalleled command of sources, both primary and secondary. His sound common sense, incisive analysis, and forceful and lucid literary style have produced a superb book.--James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
The Confederate War is vintage Gary Gallagher. Drawing on vast research, careful reasoning, and a perceptive understanding of the use of evidence, Gallagher deftly slays some of the Civil War's most lasting interpretations. It is one of the best books on the Confederacy in this decade and is a must read for anyone interested in the Civil War.--Joseph T. Glatthaar, author of Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers
In this bold, high spirited, well argued--and indispensable--book, Gary Gallagher does justice to the extraordinary courage and tenacity with which the white people of the South fought to establish their claims to national self-determination. And in so doing, he respectfully refutes prevalent but wrong-headed judgments.--Eugene Genovese, author of The Southern Tradition
Starting with meticulous research and proceeding with careful analysis, Gallagher presents a convincing argument that Confederate fortunes collapsed primarily from military defeats rather than an internal loss of will. This is must reading for anyone seeking a basic explanation of the causes and outcome of the Civil War.--James I. Robertson, Jr., author of Stonewall Jackson: The Man, the Soldier, the Legend

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