Southern pride-the notion that the South's character distinguishes it from the rest of the country-had a profound impact on how and why Confederates fought the Civil War, and continued to mold their psyche after they had been defeated. In Southern Invincibility, award-winning historian Wiley Sword traces the roots of the South's belief in its own superiority and examines tSouthern pride-the notion that the South's character distinguishes it from the rest of the country-had a profound impact on how and why Confederates fought the Civil War, and continued to mold their psyche after they had been defeated. In Southern Invincibility, award-winning historian Wiley Sword traces the roots of the South's belief in its own superiority and examines the ways in which that conviction contributed to the war effort, even when it became clear that the South would not win. Informed by thorough research, Southern Invincibility is the historical investigation of a psychology that continues to define the South....
|Title||:||Southern Invincibility: A History of the Confederate Heart|
|Number of Pages||:||448 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Southern Invincibility: A History of the Confederate Heart Reviews
Sword sets out to chart the rise and fall of Confederate optimism, but his rambling and unfocused work is unsatisfying.If you are going to write an entire book about trends in popular opinion, you are going to want some sort of statistical methodology, but Sword doesn't have one. Instead, he snips extracts from contemporary letters and journals and, based on this apparently arbitrary selection of evidence, makes pronouncements about rising or declining morale. I'd probably be willing to go along with Sword's claims if he actually took the time to develop and justify them; instead the book is heavily padded with moderately interesting accounts of military campaigns, with primary focus on the war in the West and the Gettysburg campaign. To some extent this is necessary to supply background for the shifts in morale within the army, but I felt Sword went on at such length because he was more comfortable rehashing military history than exploring his primary subject.There are signs of sloppiness which might easily mislead the unwary reader, as when Sword repeatedly confuses the drive for secession with the drive for war, or discusses the hotheaded Southern press without considering the Northern editorializing to which it was a response. The only reason to read this book is for the snippets of primary source material which Sword quotes, and much of that can readily be found elsewhere. If you actually want to know about Confederate morale, you will learn more from Paul D. Escott's brief entry in the Encyclopedia of the Confederacy.
Review title: Ambitious history of the heart of the ConfederacySword slices off a big topic with this ambitious history of the heart of the Confederacy, the disunited southern half of the U. S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865. His title gives an accurate assessment of the state of the Southern heart in 1861: The South, soldier and civilian alike, was fighting a worthy cause for states rights and freedom to sustain a way of life--on the backs of coercive inhumane race slavery, but a civilization thus established nonetheless--against a morally and militarily weaker mongrel race of city dwellers who would fold in the face of Southern Invincibility in the battlefield and in the heart.The outcome, as we know, was far different, and Sword traces the history of that Southern optimism from the beginning to the end of the war, as it was battered down by the reality of the superiority of Union manpower, material, money, leadership, and political will. It was really here, says Sword, where the perception of Southern Invincibility took its necessary and final beating--the assumption that the North would not have the will to stay the course of a long, bloody war over "an enemy's" way of life. In fact, the North did have the will, and partly because "the enemy" was so much alike on both sides, the weight of manpower, material and tactics was too much for the power of heart--however defined by the South--to overcome.In addition to his broader research and writing, Sword uses personal journals and letters from a few mid-level participants in the war, Southern officers and their families, to highlight the progression from optimism to defeat. He intentionally does not draw on the writings of the top political and military strategists on both sides, because "implementation often proved to be more significant than conception. The common will to do, or not to do, was crucial." He documents the power of Robert E. Lee to maintain the will of the common soldiers in the Virginia theater, while the parade of losing generals in the Western theater quickly lost the confidence and deflated the will of the soldiers there. As Sword concludes "willpower represented an awesome potential, or a damning weakness. It remained at the crux of their martial endeavor." When that will was gone, the South had lost. Southern Invincibility was proven a myth by the cold sharp reason of bitter warfare.
Sword explains the Confederate mind from antebellum to reconstruction, focusing on a half dozen individuals along the way. It is skillfully done, though I disagree with him on a variety of points. He does seem to get bogged down in the details of a few battles. The on page notes are inconsistent - his distillation of why the Confederates lost the war is relegated to a note! He also frequently adds words to quotes in brackets - far more than a clear understanding of what the author was saying requires. Notable is the epilogue, where he tries to distill the history in the book in a way that can be applied to the modern day. While I may not take it in quite the same direction, I really appreciate the effort. It is something I wish historians would do a lot more of.
Sword really addressed what I think was a fundamental causes towards the war, the "collective" mindset of superiority within the South (especially the youths) that can be detected in many of the books and materials from the war. The material Sword presents deconstructs the mindset as it deterioriated through the war, and revealed itself as an outdated world view, and their failure to recognize the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, and what effect that was to have on how warfare was waged and wars (not just battles) were going to be won.
I read the whole thing, but then wondered why I slogged through it. While delightful to read passages from original sources, the author's argument felt incomplete.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is trying to achieve a better understanding of what it meant to be a Southerner during this time.
This book is about the Southern confederateheart and how it actually feels about the South and the civil war and its outcome. It is good history and enlightening to all.