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This purpose of this book is to present and support the conclusions of the authors. The cherry-picked facts included (and omitted) serve only that purpose: this is not the broad, unbiased survey of military history suggested by the title.
If you're inclined to agree with the authors' take on the War, you may be able to enjoy this book, assuming you tailor your expectations appropriately. The book emphasizes slavery, criticizes scholars who talk of the states' rights role in the war and generally sets up a north-protagonist, south-antagonist narrative, though it portrays both sides as predominately inept. I'm sure that had such wise men as the authors been around in the 1860's to explain things to the cretans, the Civil War might never have taken place or, at least, been a quick and easy process.
The authors are clearly teachers because they repeat the same conclusions over and over
and freely pass judgment on the actions and decisions of every government official and soldier described, on both sides. If you are enamored with college professors and veiled condescension from on high, this book is for you. For me, such style is a hallmark of commentary, not what this book purports to be -- a "history" should not be so judgment-heavy. Keegan's history of the Civil War is far and away superior in this regard.
I found it particularly off-putting that the authors repeatedly use the third person to reference their own previous writings as support of some of the claims in this book. Accordingly, I question whether there is an underlying agenda here, though I do not care to speculate on what it may be. I would rather read a book of facts/information etc. and draw my own conclusions, rather than rely on someone else to tell me what to think, repeating it over and over to be sure it sinks into my thick head.
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A must-read for modern commanders. Lessons learned in the American Civil War give clarity to mistakes during WWI. These mistakes gave way to WWII.