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— Christine Gibson, American Heritage
-Jeffry D. Wert, author of The Sword of Lincoln
|2||Birth of a nation||17|
|3||Portrait of a president||37|
|4||The war department||49|
|5||A curious cabinet||63|
|6||The military high command||77|
|8||Richmond, the capital||108|
|9||The rise of Lee and Bragg||123|
|10||An uneasy brotherhood||134|
|11||Jockeying for position||153|
|12||Politics spinning out of control||166|
|13||Can't we all get along?||180|
|15||The president versus the Congress||206|
|16||Military highs and lows||224|
|17||Slaves as soldiers?||244|
|19||Epilogue : despair||276|
Posted February 6, 2010
I give "Dixie Betrayed" 2/5 stars because I don't want to convey the impression that it's a horrible book, because it's not, but the truth is that "Dixie Betrayed" betrayed its title.
I don't really subscribe to the "internal politics doomed the CSA" theory, but regardless, Eicher totally failed in his quest to prove it. Much of the book is spent discribing the war itself, including strategic maneuvers and battle details, and although sometimes these things affected the generals' relationships with the CSA government, most of Eicher's battle depictions don't touch on this. Way too much time is spent on the generic "what happened" and way too little time was spent analyzing it in the context of the book's stated theme. Further, when a war event was analyzed, it wasn't synthesized; for example, much time was spent describing Congressional debates as, "Again, much talk and no action with nobody winding up happy," but no time was spent on proving how any such occassion actually ruined the Confederate cause. In short, all Eicher proved was that the CSA acted like a country with a central government that debated amongst itself, but he totally failed to prove not only that this doomed the CSA but also that it even hurt the short-lived country in the slightest bit.
BUT, it was not a totally horrible book. In fact, I found it to be rather entertaining and well-written in terms of following the war from the CSA government's perspective. Personally, I would still recommend this book, but only to those who understand that what it gives is a very readable Southern-view synopsis of the war with some rather interesting stories that I haven't found elsewhere about what happened inside Richmond. I picked up this book originally hoping to learn a lot about the inner CSA government and the relationships between Davis, the Congress, the governors, and the generals, and I suppose I did get some of that goal accomplished. However, I still cannot give more than 2.5/5.0 stars, which is a stretch in itself, since so much of the book is devoted to the war itself rather than the politics.
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