The American Civil War by John Keegan

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Synopsis

The greatest military historian of our time gives a peerless account of America’s most bloody, wrenching, and eternally fascinating war.

In this long-awaited history, John Keegan shares his original and perceptive insights into the psychology, ideology, demographics, and economics of the American Civil War. Illuminated by Keegan’s knowledge of military history he provides a fascinating look at how command and the slow evolution of its strategic logic influenced the course of the war. Above all, The American Civil War gives an intriguing account of how the scope of the conflict combined with American geography to present a uniquely complex and challenging battle space. Irresistibly written and incisive in its analysis, this is an indispensable account of America’s greatest conflict.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About John Keegan

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John Keegan was for many years senior lecturer in military history at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, and has been a fellow at Princeton University and a visiting professor of history at Vassar College. He is the author of twenty books, including the acclaimed The Face of Battle and The Second World War. He is the defense editor of The Daily Telegraph (London). He lives in Wiltshire, England.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published October 10, 2009 by Vintage. 416 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The American Civil War

The New York Times

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He writes sensitively of the experience of black soldiers during the war, but observes, “Faced by the ferocity of their Southern antagonists on the battlefield, they simply could not stand up to combat as white soldiers did.” He writes about Southern women as if he is commenting on the Westmins...

Oct 15 2009 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

The New York Times

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This military history of the Civil War emphasizes geography’s role in shaping strategy.

Nov 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

The Washington Post

The American Civil War.

Jan 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

The Telegraph

Keegan drives home the argument again and again, nowhere more eloquently than in his final chapter: “Whatever else the student of the Civil War will learn from following its unfolding story, the facts of American geography will imprint themselves on his consciousness.” The lesson can sel...

Oct 26 2009 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

The Bookbag

Summary: Despite being a bit heavy going at times, this is an authoritative view of the battles fought during the American Civil War, with a reasonable insight into the causes and effects.

Aug 08 2010 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

Bookmarks Magazine

However, though critics were quick to voice their admiration for Keegan's previous works, they were deeply disappointed by The American Civil War.

Sep 27 2009 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

Red Room

The American Civil War is a fine book by an accomplished British military historian who has the range of knowledge necessary not only to give a detailed account of the Civil War but also to compare it to other wars in other places at other times.

Jul 17 2012 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

Carlin Romano

And like I said, when reading the Evans I had just finished McPherson’s review of Keegan, which is uncommonly critical — if still respectful of all that Sir John has accomplished in the field of military history.

Nov 23 2009 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

BBC History Magazine

Most scholars in the field of US 19th-century history spend a fiendish amount of time trying to come up with some clever title, while John Keegan’s new study announces itself with deceptive simplicity: The American Civil War: A Military History.

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Spectator Book Club

Grant’s victory at Vicksburg in the west in the summer of 1863, coinciding with the Union victory at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, itself a devastating blow to Confederate morale, transformed the course of the war by exposing Confederate garrisons in Tennessee and Kentucky to attack and opening a l...

Oct 17 2009 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

Spectator Book Club

It became, like the Vietnam War, a ‘body-count’ war, but whereas the Vietcong could sustain heavy losses, the Confederacy, much less populous than the North, was eventually bled to death.

Oct 17 2009 | Read Full Review of The American Civil War

Reader Rating for The American Civil War
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