The American Civil War

The American Civil War

by John Keegan
2.9 29

NOOK Book(eBook)

$14.99
View All Available Formats & Editions
Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
Want a NOOK ? Explore Now

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The American Civil War: A Military History 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Jobob More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Cellulloid_Fiend More than 1 year ago
I am a devotee of Keegan, and remain so after reading his Civil War opus, but this book is not good, I might even say it's bad. I am supremely disappointed, as are many other readers I see. The book is difficult to get through, the facts difficult to absorb. It reads like one long run-on sentence, or at best one long paragraph without line breaks. He took on too much. He decided to cover the entire political, economic and military factors of the Civil War, which would really have required at least two volumes -if not three or four- to be done properly. He made no such mistake with his World War II (a MUST buy for fans of Keegan), which hit a few salient points on politics and economy but focused on the military aspect and was a great success. The Civil War, on the other hand, is a tangled mess from beginning to end. Consider that there are some who would argue, with good reason, that the Civil War is a more complex and abstract conflict for the historian even than WWII. I would agree. Nonetheless Keegan tried to take it on in one shot, and failed. Perhaps I should give points for trying, but I'm still aching from the $35.00 paid for this book! Ouch. He starts too early time-wise, and the opening fifty pages drag on interminably. He jumps around chronologically, something which can be necessary in the study of parallel events in history, but with a abstruseness that surprises me, and may in fact just be poor judgment or research. The chapters are flat out hard to read and his writing is run-on and almost frantic in places, and yet somehow manages to move through the history with truly glacial speed. Identical word pairings and turns of phrase are to be found at times on the same page or within 1-2 pages of each other, evidence of poor editing. There are in places entire points which are completely re-outlined or explained in a later chapter as if they had never been brought up before, rather than mentioned in brief in order to refresh the reader's memory. More points taken off for editing, or lack thereof. I have to say I felt as if this were hashed together in far too short a time, and edited by the barest of guidelines. Perhaps the publisher was pressing Mr Keegan to get this book done in time for the 2009 xmas market, a none too unlikely possibility. Overall this book is a failure in my judgment. The Civil War is not only a tricky history lesson but also an extremely popular one; the necessity to write brilliantly and, perhaps more importantly, choose expertly what to leave out, is crucial in order to compete with the entire shelves worth of Civil War books at Barnes and Noble and other stores. If this were a senior thesis, and not the work of perhaps THE master of modern military history writing, I would still give it a C- at best. For now, stick with Catton or Foote for your Civil War reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marshalate More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David_Sullivan More than 1 year ago
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.