In this examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War, from both European and American perspectives, Howard Jones demonstrates that the consequences of the conflict between North and South reached far beyond American soil.
Jones explores a number of themes, including the international economic and political dimensions of the war, the North's attempts to block the South from winning foreign recognition as a nation, Napoleon III's meddling in the war and his attempt to restore French power in the New World, and the inability of Europeans to understand the integrated nature of slavery and union, resulting in their tendency to interpret the war as a senseless struggle between a South too large and populous to have its independence denied and a North too obstinate to give up on the preservation of the Union. Most of all, Jones explores the horrible nature of a war that attracted outside involvement as much as it repelled it.
Written in a narrative style that relates the story as its participants saw it play out around them, Blue and Gray Diplomacy depicts the complex set of problems faced by policy makers from Richmond and Washington to London, Paris, and St. Petersburg.
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Diplomacy-essential to understanding the Civi War
I didn't read the print version, but with a basic knowledge of the political and military aspects of the American Civil War, this book answered a number of questions about when and why the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. It answers why the Confederate commissioners didn't make more progress in gaining recognition, particularly in the earlier stages of the war. It was interesting how everyone involved misunderstood the situation, and how that eventually contributed to the outcome. This book set a context for the American Civil War within the larger international stage.
Mr Barry did a fine job reading the text. The drawback in performance is that Howard Jones writes in lengthy extended thoughts which makes performance all the more difficult. Each time I would restart listening to the book it would take at least several minutes to pick up the author's flow of interrelated ideas, and context.
I found it quite interesting, and a book I shall listen to again to pick up additional understanding. It is well worth reading more than once.
An Interesting Facet of the War Between the States
- Patrick Mabry, Jr.