Customer Reviews for

The American Civil War: A Military History

Average Rating 3
( 28 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted January 31, 2010

    Not Keegan's best work but an interesting take.

    I'm a big fan of John Keegan but must say this is not his best work. It almost reads in places as though different graduate students were doing his research and then he didn't edit out the duplications. In chapter after chapter the same comments will be made about the various historic personages and events.

    The positive side of this book is getting a Civil War history from Keegan's perspective -- both a respected military historian, and one from outside the US who can spot parallels to non-American events (for example the Crimean War) which rarely appear in American authored histories.

    Interestingly, and perhaps controversially, Keegan essentially boils things down to no decisive battles and much less good generalship than a typical Shelby Foote or Freeman book when describe. He sees Lee as a good Grand Tactician who could not push the strategic towards an attempt at victory, and Grant as the best of the bunch (not many arguments there).

    If you have the time, the book is worth a read. But I wouldn't drop everything to pick this one up.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    Worth the read

    I found the writing in this book to be somewhat below the standard of Mr. Keegan's other works. There were several repetitive passages which gave me the impression that it may have been patched together from other essays or talks which he may have given. However, Mr. Keegan's insights to the mood of the country at this time in history, and his respect for the hardships experienced by the citizens and armies of both sides gives this book a different slant from the usual Civil War book. For those interested in the Civil War, I think it worth reading.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2009

    John Keegan's Civil War book a disappointment

    I am a big fan of his going back to the Face of Battle days but this latest work seems to have made it to publication without the benefit of an editor. Do you realize that the rivers in Virginia flow from west to east? Well he repeats this multiple times. It is almost a collection of short essays merged into a cohesive framework. One specific example from Page 219 - discussing Union control of the Mississippi River. "It also cut the Confederacy in half, slicing off the western half, including......the territories of Nebraska..." Nebraska in the Confederacy is a unique view to be sure.
    A good book for pre HS students but otherwise a waste of time and money for adults

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    Good, but adds nothing to the literature

    This is a well written and researched book, but adds nothing to the vast writings about the civil war. There is nothing new or provocative here, and for most readers there are far better reads about this very well trod piece of our history.It doesn't compare to McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom", a much better read all around!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2010

    Excellent review

    Excellent review. Scholarly and precise.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    Somewhat repetitive but a solid read

    If you are a fan of Keegan's writing, you will enjoy the book for sure. It doesn't really cover any new ground (as if any Civil War book could, at this point) but does do a good job of focusing more on the Western front (where the war was truly won) and avoiding fascination with Lee's marches in the East.

    The only disappointing part of the book was Keegan's tendency to repeat himself over and over in the book. To name just one example, I feel like I read about Grant's background four or five times in different chapters. Annoying to be sure but not enough to dissuade me from recommending the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    No dissappointment

    I've read many volumes on the Civil War, but I believe this is the best one volume book on the whole war. Keegan is the man on military history and he doesn't disappoint here. He manages to include some original ideas on a subject that I thought I'd pretty well mastered. Good job!

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  • Posted December 10, 2009

    Disapointing!

    Having read previous Keegan books, it does not appear to rise to his previous standards. Definitely would not reccomend to Civil War scholars.

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    Posted July 19, 2011

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    Posted November 9, 2011

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    Posted October 4, 2011

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    Posted January 30, 2011

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    Posted January 29, 2010

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    Posted March 12, 2010

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    Posted December 15, 2009

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    Posted December 16, 2009

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    Posted February 18, 2011

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    Posted April 1, 2011

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