Academic journal article Military Review

Conflict and Command: Civil War History Readers, Volume 1

Academic journal article Military Review

Conflict and Command: Civil War History Readers, Volume 1

Article excerpt

CONFLICT AND COMMAND: Civil War History Readers, Volume 1

Kent State University Press, Kent, Ohio, 2012, 336 pages

s a collection of Civil War History articles, this text is on time and on target. Owing a great deal to the generations that came before, this compilation of articles from the Journal of Civil War History provides the reader a true primary research source for accounts by those close to the actors in the drama that was the Civil War. Avid historians provide much of the material and introduce concepts based on selected themes that both orient the reader and offer additional means to decipher the challenges of, and rationales for, actions taken during the course of the war and its immediate aftermath.

This is a compelling collection and the ideal approach to truly embracing the lessons of the most significant period of the nineteenth century in America. The current edition (Volume I) leaves the reviewer in great admiration of the different authors, and the quality of the individual pieces illuminates current understanding of the Civil War. Considering that we are in the midst of the 150th year anniversary of some of the most bloody and savage fighting of the war (1864), the volume provides a timely and outstanding list of contributors.

One of the most compelling apparent misconceptions unraveled through the reprinting of original publication material pertains to Maj. Gen. George McClellan. It has become virtually axiomatic among Civil War historians that McClellan suffered from the "slows," a penchant for indecisiveness and inactivity during many vital actions of the war. A conventional accusation leveled against him to explain the alleged slowness is an overactive imagination that greatly expanded his perception of opposing enemy strength, which in turn led to continuous requests for reinforcements together with reluctance to act until such reinforcements were received. …

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