Description - A Great Civil War by Russell F. Weigley
"A Great Civil War" is a major new interpretation of the events which continue to dominate the American imagination and identity nearly 150 years after the war's end. The Civil War. "A great Civil War", as Lincoln phrased it in the Gettysburg address. In personal as well as historical terms, more even than the war for independence, the Civil War has been the defining experience of the American democracy. No one knows more about warfare, ancient and modern, than Russell Weigley. A lifelong student of both strategy and tactics, he also brings to his accounts a deep understanding of the importance of individuals from generals to captains to privates. He can put the reader on the battlefield as well as anyone who has ever written about war, and he does it countless times in "A Great Civil War". From Fort Sumter to the early ill-organized clashes in the West and border states to the naval encounters in the East and on through the great and horrible battles whose names resound in American history all the great battles and many lesser engagements are described and analyzed. Every student of war should find new insights and interpretations at the stategic and the tactical level.
"A Great Civil War" also analyzes the politics of both sides in relationship to battlefield situations. Weigley is unique in his ability to put all of the pieces on the board at once; the reader understands as never befor how war and politics interacted to produce the infinitely complex story which is the Civil War. As with any major work, there are themes and subtexts, explicit and implicit: both sides began the war with strategic and tactical concepts based on Napoleon which were already obsolete because of changes in technology - and both sides struggled throughout the war to develop new strategic and tactical procedures; the Civil War was great not only in the massiveness of the slaughter and destruction - it was, for all its horror, a war about values -democracy and the freeing of slaves - that was worth the effort; and the South, despite its powerful defence, was ultimately ambivalent about leaving the Union and gave up more easily than might have been expected.
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(235mm x 152mm x mm)
Indiana University Press
Publisher: Indiana University Press
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Book Reviews - A Great Civil War by Russell F. Weigley
Author Biography - Russell F. Weigley
Russell F. Weigley (1930-2004) was Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at Temple University. He is author of numerous books, including The American Way of War, Eisenhower's Lieutenants, and The Age of Battles: The Quest for Decisive Warfare from Breitenfeld to Waterloo, all available from Indiana University Press.