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How the South Could Have Won the Civil War: The Fatal Errors That Led to Confederate Defeat
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How the South Could Have Won the Civil War: The Fatal Errors That Led to Confederate Defeat

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  51 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Destroying conventional historical wisdom, acclaimed military historian Bevin Alexander reveals how the South most definitely could have defeated the North-and how close a Confederate victory came to happening. Alexander shows:

•How the Confederacy had its greatest chance to win the war just three months into the fighting-but blew it
• How the Confederacy’s three most impor
...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by Crown Forum (first published December 31st 2007)
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Kim
Sep 10, 2010 Kim rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I learned so much - for instance, I did not realize that the Civil War was fought entirely in Virginia and Pennsylvania. I did not realize that as late as the week before Appomattox, Lee could have won the Civil War, if he had just turned south to join Bragg in fighting Sherman. I did not realize that social and economic factors were irrelevant. I did not realized that wars are won or lost based on tactics, not strategy. I did not realize that Lee was a great man. I did not realize that Shelby F ...more
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 John Yelverton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book, but the book really doesn't answer the question like the title says that it does.
Patrick
"Counter-factual" history is probably harder to critique than it is to actually write. After all, the author stakes out a "what if" position and then goes on drawing conclusion after conclusion based upon an event or series of events that did not in fact happen. In this case, Alexander seems to, on balance, take the curious position that the Union did not defeat the South in the Civil War, but that the South ultimately defeated itself. And that this defeat rests largely upon the heads of Jeffers ...more
Daniel
Aug 06, 2011 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book; highly recommended. The author has given a very convincing overview that draws you into the period and the choices of generals, presidents, and other leaders that led to the South's eventual defeat. This reshaped my view of Robert E. Lee: he was a great field commander (far superior to most of his Northern counterparts) but with an antiquated and deeply flawed notion of how to win an 1860's war. Grant was not much better, but he had many more men to follow him. By contrast, Stone ...more
Steve Clark
Like most wars, things could've gone a lot differently if only the generals had done things differently. This book addresses the fact that the South had ample chances to defeat the north, but Lee was too foucesed on trying to defeat the Union army rather than make continuing the war impossible for the North. Eventually, it became a war of attrition and there was no way the agrarian South could defeat the industrialized North at that game.
Lady Belinda
Jan 28, 2011 Lady Belinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: civil-war
Very informative book. I was really intrigued by how different Jackson, Lee and Davis truely were. They all had a particular way that they wished to fight the war and all of them were polar oppisites. I wish more people had showed interest earlier in Jackson's way of thinking because it could have saved a number of losses I believe.
Gary
Feb 24, 2012 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By reading this I'm not wishing of "bygone" days of these times.
I thought of it as revealing, and realized everything we do does have a historical outcome.
When you read this book, you can see the struggles and battles we all face in our own personal and business lives, albeit in the abstract.
Curtis Edmonds
Mar 20, 2012 Curtis Edmonds rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review at Bookreporter.com: http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews/h...
Spliff
Spliff rated it liked it
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Tyshawn Knight
Tyshawn Knight rated it it was amazing
Dec 04, 2014
Dan Pepper
Alexanders arguments that the South could have won (which he opens by telling us isn't the fondest wish of his heart, so I was glad to be reassured I wasn't about to hear some Dixie swastika worship) seem solid. Or the military parts seem solid.

It seems like the Confederates could have at several points invaded the North and maneuvered themselves to avoid the Union army and taken Philadelphia or even New York or just done a lot of damage to the economic fabric of the Union, basically doing what
...more
Mark Harris
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Aug 20, 2013
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Steven Raszewski
I agree with him that Lee was overrated, but he did not make his point about Jackson.
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53939
Bevin Alexander is the author of ten books on military history, including How Wars Are Won, How Hitler Could Have Won World War II, How America Got It Right, and his latest book How the South Could Have Won the Civil War. He was an adviser to the Rand Corporation for a recent study on future warfare and a participant in a recent war game simulation run by the Training and Doctrine Command of the U ...more
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