The Dogs of War: 1861

Overview

In 1861, Americans thought that the war looming on their horizon would be brief. None foresaw that they were embarking on our nation's worst calamity, a four-year bloodbath that cost the lives of more than half a million people. But as eminent Civil War historian Emory Thomas points out in this stimulating and provocative book, once the dogs of war are unleashed, it is almost impossible to rein them in.
In The Dogs of War, Thomas highlights the delusions that dominated each ...

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The Dogs of War: 1861

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Overview

In 1861, Americans thought that the war looming on their horizon would be brief. None foresaw that they were embarking on our nation's worst calamity, a four-year bloodbath that cost the lives of more than half a million people. But as eminent Civil War historian Emory Thomas points out in this stimulating and provocative book, once the dogs of war are unleashed, it is almost impossible to rein them in.
In The Dogs of War, Thomas highlights the delusions that dominated each side's thinking. Lincoln believed that most Southerners loved the Union, and would be dragged unwillingly into secession by the planter class. Jefferson Davis could not quite believe that Northern resolve would survive the first battle. Once the Yankees witnessed Southern determination, he hoped, they would acknowledge Confederate independence. These two leaders, in turn, reflected widely held myths. Thomas weaves his exploration of these misconceptions into a tense narrative of the months leading up to the war, from the "Great Secession Winter" to a fast-paced account of the Fort Sumter crisis in 1861.
Emory M. Thomas's books demonstrate a breathtaking range of major Civil War scholarship, from The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience and the landmark The Confederate Nation, to definitive biographies of Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. In The Dogs of War, he draws upon his lifetime of study to offer a new perspective on the outbreak of our national Iliad.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Intelligent and engaging. Thomas's musings will remind readers that wars should not be left to either generals or politicians alone. An instructive lesson recommended for any free people thinking they can control events, especially wars, simply because they think their cause is just."—Library Journal
Library Journal
Thomas (history, emeritus, Univ. of Georgia; Robert E. Lee) essays the decision making of Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis in bringing on war and concludes that neither leader, or side, appreciated the nature and costs of war and thus acted out of imagined results rather than informed assessment. Politicians failed to consult and consider the judgments of the military that a civil war would be long-lasting, expensive in men and money, and uncertain in outcome. Thomas also insists that the approaches of both Northerners and Southerners to the war were limited by their own regional cultures, with Northerners thinking war would instill manliness and purpose and Southerners believing it would be an apocalyptic catharsis after a generation of sectional strife. Each side thought the other would not fight in any case. Intelligent and engaging, if also more speculation than demonstration, Thomas's musings will remind readers that wars should not be left to either generals or politicians alone. An instructive lesson recommended for any free people thinking they can control events, especially wars, simply because they think their cause is just.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195174700
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/6/2011
  • Series: Pivotal Moments in American History Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,416,123
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Emory M. Thomas is Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Georgia. His books include Robert E. Lee: A Biography, Bold Dragoon: The Life of J.E.B. Stuart, and The Confederate Nation, 1861-1865.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Chapter 1: The Great Secession Winter in the American South
Chapter 2: Conventional Wisdom in the North
Chapter 3: Foundering Fathers: Confederate Leadership
Chapter 4: War Fever in Washington
Chapter 5: The Martial Moment: Fort Sumter in 1861
Conclusion: "Cry, 'Havoc!'" Dogs Slipped

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Who let the dogs out?

    Taking a line from Shakespeare's character Marc Anthony states that "cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war" Emory Thomas reexamines the Civil War start. History is human drama and the circumstances to the civil war are varied.

    In The Dogs of War 1861 by Emory Thomas, the author contends that neither side intended to make a move to begin the conflict. However once the "dogs of war" were released, the outcome was anyone's guess.
    Lincoln perceived that he could reason with the south and Jefferson Davis thought he could wipe some Northern ass. With the eye of fifty years of analysis and consideration this civil war scholar explores the ugliness and complexity of war. Be it the civil war, the war in Iraq, or any world conflict. War is refereed as an extension of politics but often the overplayed hand concludes with a very messy problem.

    More than merely being revisionary history Thomas does a good job of reexamining the Civil War through the fresh lens that only the passage of time can bring. As we celebrate the one hundred and fifty year celebration of the start of the civil war, we should sit back and learn from the lessons of an internal battle from a dark chapter in our nation's history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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