The U.S. Civil War
Alexander - Longstreet
Also: Sheridan - Sherman - Custer - Grant - Lee
Probably the best of the Confederate memoirs, a
must-have. Any serious student of the War for Southern Independence has
learned that memoirs are a veritable minefield of self-serving half-truths and outright
misrepresentations. Alexander's is the notable exception.
allied with, and perhaps a bit beholden to, James
Longstreet, Alexander tries to if not defend, at least explain his old chief,
particularly at Gettysburg. Alexander's fundamental
honesty triumphs, though he is at pains to put the best face on Longstreet's actions. The
memoir is frank, enormously fact-filled, and about as honest as someone with a personal
stake in the matter could be. An absolute must-have for any student of The War.
'Military Memoirs" and Henderson's 'Stonewall Jackson' are probably the two most
important books on the Army of Northern Virginia. Both provide fair and
extremely in depth critiques on the actions and motives of the Confederate Army.
'Military Memoirs however was written by a participant in the conflict
(Alexander was chief of Artillery in the ANV) and does not stop after
which pushes it ahead of Henderson's masterpiece as the most valuable Confederate military
history. It is absolutely a must for every Civil War buff!!!
Finest personal memoir of the Civil War I have
read. I think that as time goes by, Porter Alexander's personal memoirs,
written for his family and thus very candid, will come to be seen as an outstanding work
both of historical reminiscence and of 19th century writing. The Introduction,
in which Alexander tells of some incidents from his boyhood, is worth the entire book.
But, there is more. Alexander worked either as signals officer, ordnance officer or
artillery commander for virtually everybody in the Army of Northern Virginia, including
Beauregard, J.E. Johnston, Stonewall Jackson, Longstreet,
and Lee. He participated in virtually every major
battle. He has the rare ability to describe events in a fresh and modern manner, so that
the reader is there with him in the thick of things. I can only imagine the
thrill that the editor must have had when he found these papers at UNC in
1989. Alexander apparently wrote a more formal history of the Civil War
published in 1907 with which I am not familiar. Although the frontispiece
shows an unremarkable face, the writing shows the glowing intelligence and enthusiasm that
must have impressed his superiors and led to his being given one responsible assignment
after another. By being present, but a generation younger than the ANV leaders, he is able
to give both intimate, but also critical pictures of them. This book is
indispensable to anyone with an interest in the Civil War in the Eastern Theatre.
A true classic.
From Booklist , October 15, 1993
The author of the excellent Mosby's Rangers (1991) pulls together a full-scale account of
another controversial Civil War figure -- James Longstreet, commander of the First Corps
of the Army of Northern Virginia, referred to by Lee as "my
old war horse" and conventionally blamed for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg.
What emerges here is the portrait of a
solidly competent soldier who had his flashes of tactical brilliance as well as genuine
disagreements with Lee over the respective merits of offensive and defensive
tactics. Gettysburg was probably not winnable by the South, and Longstreet's
subsequent reputation owes more to Southern resentment of his postwar Republican political
career (less distinguished by far than his military one) than to solid evidence, as Wert's
biography points up. With the movie Gettysburg in release this fall, interest in this book
may well extend beyond the ranks of Civil War buffs. Civil War fans, movie
going newcomers to Civil War history, and even other historians are all well served by
Wert's effort. Roland Green Copyright© 1993, American Library Association. All
James Longstreet and His Place in Southern History
by William Garrett Piston
Reconstructing the military career of one of the
Confederacy's most competent but also one of its most vilified corps commanders, this book
reveals how Longstreet became, in the years after Appomattox, the Judas of the Lost Cause,
the scapegoat for Lee's and the South's defeat. This book reads like the
doctoral dissertation of a graduate student: copious footnotes carefully documenting
statements, and a thesis with "point" to be made. The writing,
however, is not bone dry like many academic endeavours are, and this book is nicely
crafted. Longstreet probably alienated many people with his irascible nature,
but I do think he was justified in saying the same things that Lee himself said about
Gettysburg: the decision to make Pickett's Charge was Lee's, against Longstreet's advice,
and Lee properly took the blame for the defeat. Civil War enthusiasts will
enjoy this book.
These books are linked
to amazon.com in the U.S.
If you'd prefer to deal with amazon in Europe, please use
this search box
to enter the title you're after.
You may be looking for the famous generals of the US civil
war, the hunt for Osama bin
Laden, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis
Vietnam or the Second World War, weapons through the
ages, US Military
Regulation Dress Swords, Medieval
Swords, costumes and uniforms,
Napoleon Bonaparte, the French
Revolution, Masonic Pope
Royal Regalia or GI Joe.
Australian Order of Precedence
Missile Crisis in Cuba - President John F. Kennedy - Bay of Pigs