Shades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War

Shades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War

Shades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War

Shades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War

Synopsis

An introductory military history of the American Civil War, Shades of Blue and Gray places the 1861-1865 conflict within the broad context of evolving warfare. Emphasizing technology and its significant impact, Hattaway includes valuable material on land and sea mines, minesweepers, hand grenades, automatic weapons, the Confederate submarine, and balloons. The evolution of professionalism in the American military serves as an important connective theme throughout. Hattaway extrapolates from recent works by revisionists William Skelton and Roy Roberts to illustrate convincingly that the development of military professionalism is not entirely a post-Civil War phenomenon.

The author also incorporates into his work important new findings of recent scholars such as Albert Castel (on the Atlanta Campaign), Reid Mitchell (on soldiers' motivation), Mark Grimsley (on "hard war"), Brooks D. Simpson (on Ulysses S. Grant), and Lauren Cook Burgess (on women who served as soldiers, disguised as men). In addition, Hattaway comments on some of the best fiction and nonfiction available in his recommended reading lists, which will both enlighten and motivate readers.

Informative and clearly written, enhanced by graceful prose and colorful anecdotes, Shades of Blue and Gray will appeal to all general readers.

Excerpt

In the fall of 1960, near the end of my time as a college undergraduate, I first encountered T. Harry Williams. He changed my life. His brilliant lectures on the Civil War and his dynamic and magnetic personality drew me to him and to his field, making me want to spend my career as a historian specializing in this fascinating subject. He became my graduate major professor and directed my dissertation on the life of Confederate Gen. Stephen D. Lee.

Sometime in 1975 or 1976 I encountered Archer Jones. He changed my life almost as much as had Williams. Jones became my inspiring mentor, helping me to shape the Lee biography into the prize-winning book that it finally became, General Stephen D. Lee (Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1976), and then the two of us produced How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983)—which I suspect is and will remain the magnum opus of my career. Subsequently, we also worked with Richard E. Beringer and William Still Jr. to write Why the South Lost the Civil War (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986; abridged as Elements of Confederate Defeat, 1988).

It has been a fun way to spend the past three and one-half(and still-counting) decades!

I originally envisioned this book as part of a much larger whole, a multiauthored history of the modern military art. Several of my friends, colleagues, and even a few critics, however, have persuaded me that a sufficient body of readers may find it useful, even appealing, as it is, alone. For those new to Civil War study, I hope this will be for them the “hook”—just as my relations with Williams and Jones were for me—that will give a good grounding in fundamental Civil War military history and be the guide to further reading; for those who already are my “fellow travelers,” I offer this distillation of my thinking and my ideas; and for teachers and students, here is an attempt at synthesis, incorporating the important fresh work done in the past dozen or so years. I am referring to, for example, the essence of the work by Lauren Cook Burgess (on women who served as soldiers, disguised as men—over 150 specific documented cases have now been researched); Albert Castel (on the Atlanta campaign); Mark Grimsley (on “hard war”); Reid Mitchell (on the sociology . . .

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