The former Confederate states have continually mythologized the South's defeat to the North, depicting the Civil War as unnecessary, or as a fight over states' Constitutional rights, or as a David v. Goliath struggle in which the North waged "total war" over an underdog South. In The Myth of the Lost Cause, historian Edward Bonekemper deconstructs this multi-faceted myth, revealing the truth about the war that nearly tore the nation apart 150 years ago.
©2015 Edward H. Bonekemper III (P)2016 Regnery Publishing
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"America Needs to Read This Book... Right Now."
This was simply an outstanding book through-and-through. It's not even in the genre of audiobooks I would usually listen to, but when I saw the description for the book I knew I had to listen. This should be required reading for student and history teacher in America.
This book debunks the now popular theory that the Civil War was not about slavery. Having lived only minutes from Gettysburg at one point, I was very well aware of this popular myth that every Civil War historian and Gettysburg expert in the area literally scoffed at. I now know that this myth is called the Myth of the Lost Cause, and it goes even deeper and further back in history than I could ever have imagined.
Now a resident of the Southern United States, the Myth of the Lost Cause and other misconceptions discussed in this book are prominent.
This book look delves into the political climate before during and after the civil war, recreates battles and historical moments in history, and examines the origins of the myth that is now all too commonplace.
If you are interested in American history, politics, the Civil War, or if you have ever heard of these now commonly spewed falsehoods, then this book is for you.
If everyone in America reads this book, maybe we will be one step closer to being a less divided nation...
I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author, publisher, or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review. I was NOT required to write a positive review and this reflects my honest opinion of the work.
"Why orginal documents are so critical."
From the start of the 19 century to today I believe that it has been more accurate to say history is written by the loser. This had been the case both world wars and the American Civil War. The Lost Cause myth has been the main example of this fact for the later war.
Bomekemper's book is a counter to this myth and does a fantastic job using original documents and raw statistics to do so.
Well worth the read.
"Outstanding details and overview of civil war"
Please have students I. High schools read and discuss this book as a foundation of our countries history .
Learn geography , the history of the states, the history of slavery from this book. This is easy to read and understand and remember,
Highly recommend reading this book to all students!
"Important historical work"
When I was in Gettysburg a few months ago, I saw a tee shirt in a display window featuring a Confedrate stars and bars in the center with the words, "Don't Criticize What You Don't Understand". Having visited the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond along with the Davis White House, and a number of battlefields including Antitem and New Market, and having read a good deal of literature on the subject I asked myself, "What is it I don't understand." Yet this work was a revelation as it peeled off layers of revisionist history and bluntly revealed truths about that conflict that, while I was aware of them deep down were still covered in a patina of sympathy for the unfortunate southerners who endured the brunt of the catastrophy. Fact is they brought it on themsleves and this book has the courage to illustrate that fact. A must read for anyone wishing to have an accurate understanding of the war and its place in United States history.
The authors thorough debunking of the "Myth" is good. But the discussions of Lee and Grant really added to my understanding of the War. By the end he has convincingly made the dual cases that Grant, not Lee, was by far the better general and that Lee indeed may have done more harm than good to the Lost Cause. The discussion of Vicksburg alone was worth the read. Highly recommend this book.
"Should be Required Reading for All Teachers"
This book should be required by anyone who teaches American History! "The Lost Cause" myth has driven US politics up to this election. The only "states' rights" involved in the Civil War were those of the northern states! The southern states wanted their slavery laws to be recognized by the northern states. Every state ceding from the Union, (save Louisiana), mentioned their right and need to own slaves as their reason for doing so. (Lincoln wasn't even president yet)!
All the CSA needed to do to win independence was NOT lose; the Union had to invade and conquer the CSA to win. The South had natural defenses and interior lines of communication. The South had pre-existing militias organized, (Nat Turner). The North was deeply split on the question of slavery. The survival of the Union was the reason was why most Northerners went to war. Most of western Europe favored breaking up the United States and were leaning towards the CSA winning. Immediately he South wrong footed by freezing exports of cotton. (This is why cotton is now grown in Egypt and India). This did not endear the CSA to England in particular. By time the freeze came off, the Union had begun their blockade.
R.E. Lee was a good tactician, pretty much sucked as a strategist. He could see much past his home state of Virginia, (he was CSA general in chief). Wouldn't move either himself nor his army from the theater, and kept insisting on attacking and invading. He actually had 50,000 more total killed and wounded than Grant did during the war. Considering that Grant fought more battles with larger armies, (and was labeled as a "butcher"), it is no wonder that Grant is considered as the greatest American general of the Civil War by European military historians! Grant was a true general in chief for the North, coordinating all Union operations, 1864-65. History was rewritten after Lee died into the "Northern War of Aggression", and in the interest of reconciliation the North gave it a wink and a nod.
"Insightful and Informative"
The narration was great and the material presented was very interesting and brought a new perspective into my previous teachings.
"This review copy audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost."
Many different perspectives are taught on the subject. Not being an expert I am not able to say who is right and who isn't. The author presents the material well but a bit long
Winded for my tastes. Would recommend in ebook or print so you can skim past what doesn't interest you and enjoy the rest. I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
"Indisputable proofs, flawless argumentation."
I am about four hours into this audiobook. And I am a rabid champion of the State's rights and found some resonance with the arguments I had heard, to the effect that the Civil war was far more about the rights of the States than it was about slavery (while at the same time finding slavery absolutely deplorable). About one hour in, I had every myth exploded and many times over disproven.
Which ever side you lean towards, you must account for the facts presented herein if you want to hold your beliefs honestly.
The Civil war WAS primarily about slavery.
If you hesitate to affirm that proposition wholeheartedly, read this book to erase any doubt in your mind. Or write a book answering to the facts presented here, and once you have finished, read your book and see to what extent you have evaded reality, tortured language and twisted history to make your case.
The narrator did an excellent job as well.
I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.
"The Civil War was about Slavery. Period."
Oh, and Ulysses S. Grant was a way better general than Robert E. Lee. And Longstreet wasn’t the reason the south lost the war. It was Lee’s fault, pure and simple. This is what Edward Bonekemper sets out to prove in writing this book. And he does a good job.
Bonekemper first talks about what slavery was like in all its horror. People as property and thought of in terms of money and what use could be gotten from them. People not allowed to marry, learn, or ever work for themselves. Families were torn apart and sold separately. Slaves were beaten mercilessly to keep them in line. Slave owners were in a constant state of fear over potential slave uprisings. To quell this potential conflict, slave owners tried to keep their slaves in a constant state of ignorance and fear. The myth of a happy slave was just that, a myth. One of the reasons the Confederacy was so reluctant to use slaves in battle was because most slaves would run or turn on their owners at the first chance. The south could not risk slaves being armed.
Bonekemper also takes on the myth that slavery was dying a slow death and would have gone away on its own, given time. He dismantles all of the arguments of this myth and tells of a revisionist history that was allowed to take root after the Civil War in order for and attempt at reconciliation to take place. Then he details all of the states’ arguments for seceding after Lincoln was elected President. Each state only had one reason: slavery. Slavery was also the reason the south could not be recognized by European governments. The peculiar institution was more important than winning the war. A seminal moment for me was a discussion prior to Lincoln’s election when the southern states tried to get a 13th amendment passed to protect and prolong slavery in the United States. This struck me as particularly ironic as, of course, the 13th amendment that was ultimately passed freed the slaves.
After the myths of why the states seceded are dismantled, Bonekemper takes an in depth look at Robert E. Lee and talks about why he was elevated to a hero of mythical proportions. Bonekemper also completely deconstructs major battles and shows that Lee’s leadership style itself was mostly at fault for many losses. He talks about how Lee fought an offensive war when all he needed to do was fight a defensive war and how he gave vague orders and never followed them up when the on field battle situation changed. Lee also used aggressive tactics which wasted men’s lives and would not leave his native Virginia to help the other Confederate generals no matter how much they needed his back up.
Bonekemper goes into Grant’s style and how he was a brilliant tactician and made use of whatever he had on hand to get the job done. Grant’s outmaneuvering of the southern forces in many battles is detailed and the myth of Grant as the stupid, drunken general given command as a last resort was also ripped to shreds.
This listen includes a thorough discussion of the sustained propaganda campaign against Longstreet to prop up the myth of Lee. Letters are detailed and battles are again desconstructed which prove there was a campaign to elevate Lee and that it was decided that Longstreet would be the sacrificial lamb to blame for the lost war.
This book was really a very interesting listen. So much of what Bonekemper details makes sense. So many things click into place when he is going through his arguments. I can’t recommend this book enough to get a different perspective for any Civil War buff.
CJ McAllister does a nice job narrating this material. Some of the discussion of the slave treatment is hard to listen to so I can only imagine that it was difficult to narrate and he did a good job both with this material and with the numerous battles that were discussed.
I received this audiobook for free through Audiobook Boom! In exchange for an honest review.
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