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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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.
"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.
"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!
"great writing weak reading"
The author presents points and counter points about the Lost Cause Theory - many of which I had not heard before. Many first-person accounts are included to give the writing weight- they are used to show the point that author makes. Would recommend to any student or historian of the Civil War.
The only weakness is that the narrator slunds like a robot. He pronounces many of the words wrong. It's hard to listen to sometimes
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