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Joseph E. Johnston: A Civil War Biography

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  26 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
General Joseph E. Johnston was in command of Confederate forces at the South's first victory—Manassas in July 1861—and at its last—Bentonville in April 1965. Many of his contemporaries considered him the greatest southern field commander of the war; others ranked him second only to Robert E. Lee.


But Johnston was an enigmatic man. His battlefield victories were never decisi
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Paperback, 464 pages
Published June 17th 1994 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 1992)
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Manray9
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: civil-war
Joseph E, Johnston: A Civil War Biography is another worthwhile effort by Craig Symonds. It is a straightforward, even-handed, and well-researched volume assessing Joseph E. Johnston’s storied military career. Symonds doesn’t gloss over Johnston’s numerous shortcomings, his bad judgment or lack of political sensitivity, and he examines well his successes as a battlefield tactician, a leader of men and a builder of armies. Symonds exposes Johnston’s crucial failure to grasp that war is politics b ...more
Sean Chick
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really wish Symonds had written more biographies. He is a fine writer and a fair judge, taking Johnston to task when needed but also calling attention to his good qualities. This is a hard task with the Confederacy's most controversial soldier. In the old army Johnston was peerless. He was the first West Point graduate to ever become a general but he was jealous of Lee and McClellan. Johnston won few battles but was widely respected. Although he never owned slaves nor had much liking for the i ...more
Brian
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Craig Symonds provides one of the more balanced views on one of the most contested generals in the Civil War. While the debate still rages about Johnston as either tactically inept or a military genius, Symonds steps around it to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the man and points more in the direction of genius than inept. Johnston fought well during the Peninsula campaign and one the first battle of Bull Run. He was the most senior military man to leave the Union to join the confederacy ...more
Steven Peterson
Sep 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Joseph Johnston was one of the top ranking generals in the Confederate Army (at the outset, he was one of the five top ranking Generals with others such as Robert E. Lee, Albert S. Johnston, and Samuel Cooper). He is also a controversial figure. His feud with President Jefferson Davis is legendary. He was viewed by many as too timid militarily, willing to give up space rather than fight hard. On the other hand, more friendly analysts have mentioned that, unlike Robert E. Lee, he understood the v ...more
'Aussie Rick'
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition



This is one of the best Civil War biographies I have read in some time and I have not seen one better on Johnston yet. The author, I believe, offers a non-baised account of this Confederate leader and writes in a style that just keeps you turning the pages. The book is well researched and very well written, it was a joy to read. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who enjoys reading a decent history book. Well done to the author.
Chris
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil, war
Balanced accounting of the subject.
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