Dixie Betrayed: How the South Really Lost the Civil Warby David J. Eicher
David Eicher reveals the story of the political conspiracy, discord and dysfunction in Richmond that cost the South the Civil War. He shows how President Jefferson Davis fought not only with the Confederate House and Senate and with State Governers but also with his own vice-president and secretary of state.
Christine Gibson, American Heritage
"Much ink has been spilled debating the question of why the South lost the Civil War. Eicher offers his own significant analysis of what he views as the central issue: how the Confederacy shot itslef in the foot because its leaders together . . . founded an imperfect union, and together they destroyed it."—Booklist
-Jeffry D. Wert, author of The Sword of Lincoln
"Eicher's previous Civil War books are military histories, and his martial knowledge shows in Dixie Betrayed. He contrasts broad-stroke depictions of brutal battles and mounting Southern casualties with the Confederate government's apparent obliviousness of its need for unity."—Christine Gibson, American Heritage
- Little, Brown and Company
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- Hachette Digital, Inc.
- NOOK Book
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- 3 MB
Meet the Author
David J. Eicher is the author of numerous books about the Civil War, including The Longest Night.
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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.