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A Savage War:
A Military History of the Civil War
Williamson Murray & Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh

Hardcover | 2016 | $35.00 | £27.95 | ISBN: 9780691169408
616 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 51 maps.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400882908 |
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The Civil War represented a momentous change in the character of war. It combined the projection of military might across a continent on a scale never before seen with an unprecedented mass mobilization of peoples. Yet despite the revolutionizing aspects of the Civil War, its leaders faced the same uncertainties and vagaries of chance that have vexed combatants since the days of Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War. A Savage War sheds critical new light on this defining chapter in military history.

In a masterful narrative that propels readers from the first shots fired at Fort Sumter to the surrender of Robert E. Lee's army at Appomattox, Williamson Murray and Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh bring every aspect of the battlefield vividly to life. They show how this new way of waging war was made possible by the powerful historical forces unleashed by the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution, yet how the war was far from being simply a story of the triumph of superior machines. Despite the Union’s material superiority, a Union victory remained in doubt for most of the war. Murray and Hsieh paint indelible portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and other major figures whose leadership, judgment, and personal character played such decisive roles in the fate of a nation. They also examine how the Army of the Potomac, the Army of Northern Virginia, and the other major armies developed entirely different cultures that influenced the war’s outcome.

A military history of breathtaking sweep and scope, A Savage War reveals how the Civil War ushered in the age of modern warfare.

Williamson Murray is professor emeritus of history at Ohio State University. His many books include The Iran-Iraq War. Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh is associate professor of history at the United States Naval Academy. He is the author of West Pointers and the Civil War. They both live in Fairfax, Virginia.

Reviews:

"[An] illuminating, ambitious and unsentimental history. . . . Exceptionally lucid."--Fergus M. Bordewich, Wall Street Journal

"[An] outstanding account of the American Civil War. . . . This expertly written narrative will draw in anyone with an interest in the Civil War at any knowledge level."--Library Journal, starred review

"A genuinely fresh, persuasive perspective on the Civil War. . . . [A Savage War] will make even readers with a strong knowledge of the war think about how it was fought and why it ended as it did. A winner for Civil War history buffs."--Kirkus, starred review

"[A] very important new history of the American Civil War by two important historians."--Newt Gingrich

"[A] new and interesting military history of the American Civil War."--Francis P. Sempa, New York Journal of Books

"The best, clearest, and most instructive military history of the Civil War I have ever read. . . . [A Savage War] hit a home run."--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution

"[F]or those who want to understand the key decisions that determined the outcome of the [Civil War], the organization of the opposing armies and their deployments, the role of logistics and intelligence, and the moments of inspired generalship (and missed opportunities), it is hard to imagine a better book than this."--Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

"Widely published and respected military historians Murray and Hsieh produce a fresh look at the US Civil War. . . . An important, impressive book."--Choice

More reviews

Table of Contents:

List of Maps ix
Preface xi
Introduction 1
1 The Origins 13
2 The War’s Strategic Framework 36
3 “And the War Came” 65
4 First Battles and the Making of Armies 93
5 Stillborn between Earth and Water: The Unfulfilled Promise of Joint Operations 119
6 The Confederacy Recovers, 1862 167
7 The Confederate Counter-Offensives, 1862 205
8 The War in the East, 1863 250
9 The War in the West, 1863 293
10 The Killing Time: The War in the East, 1864 354
11 Victory in the West, 1864 415
12 The Collapse of the Confederacy 469
13 The Civil War in History 509
Acknowledgments 549
Notes 551
Further Reading 569
Index 585

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