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Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864

Overview

Following a skirmish on June 28, 1864, a truce is called so the North can remove their dead and wounded. For two hours, Yankees and Rebels mingle, with some of the latter even assisting the former in their grisly work. Newspapers are exchanged. Northern coffee is swapped for Southern tobacco. Yanks crowd around two Rebel generals, soliciting and obtaining autographs.

As they part, a Confederate calls to a Yankee, "I hope to miss you, Yank, if I happen to shoot in your ...

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Overview

Following a skirmish on June 28, 1864, a truce is called so the North can remove their dead and wounded. For two hours, Yankees and Rebels mingle, with some of the latter even assisting the former in their grisly work. Newspapers are exchanged. Northern coffee is swapped for Southern tobacco. Yanks crowd around two Rebel generals, soliciting and obtaining autographs.

As they part, a Confederate calls to a Yankee, "I hope to miss you, Yank, if I happen to shoot in your direction." "May I, never hit you Johnny if we fight again," comes the reply.

The reprieve is short. A couple of months, dozens of battles, and more than 30,000 casualties later, the North takes Atlanta.

One of the most dramatic and decisive episodes of the Civil War, the Atlanta Campaign was a military operation carried out on a grand scale across a spectacular landscape that pitted some of the war's best (and worst) general against each other.

In Decision in the West, Albert Castel provides the first detailed history of the Campaign published since Jacob D. Cox's version appeared in 1882. Unlike Cox, who was a general in Sherman's army, Castel provides an objective perspective and a comprehensive account based on primary and secondary sources that have become available in the past 110 years.

Castel gives a full and balanced treatment to the operations of both the Union and Confederate armies from the perspective of the common soldiers as well as the top generals. He offers new accounts and analyses of many of the major events of the campaign, and, in the process, corrects many long-standing myths, misconceptions, and mistakes. In particular, he challenges the standard view of Sherman's performance.

Written in present tense to give a sense of immediacy and greater realism, Decision in the West demonstrates more definitively than any previous book how the capture of Atlanta by Sherman's army occurred and why it assured Northern victory in the Civil War.

This first detailed history of the Atlanta Campaign since General Jacob D. Cox's version in 1862, noted historian Castel provides a compelling overview, written in the present tense to give a sense of immediacy and realism, that demonstrates how Sherman's capture of Atlanta occurred and why it assured a Northern victory. Photos. Maps.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Of the many Civil War titles published each year, very few stand heads taller than the rest. This is such a book. Exhaustively researched, richly detailed, and told in the present tense, it has brought to life all the participants, from private to general. Incorporating both primary and secondary sources, Castel ( The Presidency of Andrew Johnson , LJ 9/1/79) provides an objective perspective seldom equaled, giving full and balanced treatment to both Union and Confederate armies through the use of new accounts and analyses of major events. Along the way, he corrects many mistakes and dispels longstanding myths. In particular, he challenges the standard view of Sherman's performance. This is an important, original book that will immediately become the standard study of the campaign. Highly recommended for most libraries. History Book Club selection.-- David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L.
Booknews
Writing in the present tense for realism and immediacy, Castel demonstrates how the capture of Atlanta by Sherman's army occurred and why it assured Northern victory in the Civil War. He gives a full and balanced treatment to the operations of the Union and Confederate armies from the perspective of the common soldiers as well as the top generals, and offers new accounts and analyses of many of the major events of the campaign. Includes 55 photographs and 18 maps. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700607488
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 11/28/1992
  • Series: Modern War Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 665
  • Sales rank: 692,012
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface

1. January

2. February

3. March

4. April

5. May

6. June

7. July

8. August

9. September

10. Fall

Afterword

Appendixes

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2005

    Great written detail but needs more maps.

    This book is well written and researched. It reminds me of Larry Daniels' Shiloh in that detail down to regimental and individualm expriences are woven into the bigger picture. To enjoy this book, you better know some of the players already and have a detailed map by your side. The main downfall of this book is the lack of maps unless you like the dog-ear effect on all the map pages as you constantly skip back to them. You will likely have no choice as you try to soak in all the detail, keeping the generals' names and corps positions straight. This just goes to show how much research the author put into this book and why it is such an excellent source. On a parting note, If you are a dyed in the wool Sherman (or Hood) supporter, this book may get you a bit steamed due to some 20/20 hindsight by the author. In spite of this criticism and dearth of visual references I recommend it highly as it is would be hard to improve the research content.

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