JDB Communications, LLC, is proud to announce another essay collection by John D. Beatty. Five Essays on the American Civil War is a foray into the complexities of Civil War scholarship as much as it is into the conflict itself.
The American Civil War (even the way it is written: always capital “C,” capital “W”) sits isolated in a pristine crystal dome of American history, separate from all other events. There are certain ways to write about it that make it acceptable to Civil War scholars and their audiences, and these rules must be observed else the offending material will be relegated to the isle of broken essays. My own foray into Civil War book writing, The Devil’s Own Day, has been met with institutional silence, in part, I believe, because it challenges the doctrines of AS Johnston’s unrealized genius that ended in his death at Shiloh, and because it directly refutes the generally accepted narratives about Buell saving Grant at that savage battle in the Tennessee pine barrens.
The distinct and contrarian position in these essays is unacceptable to “mainstream” Civil War scholarship: Civil War battlefield presentation isn’t what it’s cracked up to be as “Of Parks and Excuses” explains; the Southern Confederacy, always a “Forlorn Hope,” could not have gotten what she wanted by military means; Grant’s military legacy is much deeper and longer lasting than Lee’s, as “Bigger than History” and “Grant, the Army and the World” explain.
These essays were written over the course of perhaps ten years, a period of my academic harrying of long-suffering professors, Civil War Round Table members, and other unfortunates who tolerated my distinctly odd view of the 1861-65 conflict.
Enjoy these essays because they should challenge what you may think of the American Civil War, its place in world history, and how it is indeed tied to the rest of the world.