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The Dogs of War: 1861
     

The Dogs of War: 1861

by Emory M. Thomas
 

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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

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199831586
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
05/06/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
495,423
File size:
2 MB

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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