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Gary W Gallagher The Confederate War Cambridge Mass Harvard University Press 1997 viii 218 pp Illustrations notes index 2495 cloth ISBN 0-674-16055-X Reviewed by Mark Grimsley Ohio State University Published by H-CivWar March 1998 A great pastime among Civil War historians has been the composition of epitaphs for the Confederate States of America Richard E Beringer Herman Hattaway Archer Jones and William N Still Jr assembled a number of them in Why the South Lost the Civil War 1986 Overlooking Georgia soldier-politician Robert Toombs who anticipated that the Confederacys tombstone would read Died of West Point--a swipe at the professional officers he thought were ruining the southern cause--their list includes Frank Owsleys suggestion Died of States Rights Bell I Wileys Died of Big-Man-me-ism attacking men like Robert Toobs and David H Donalds Died of Democracy Beringer and his co-authors had their own candidate Died of Guilt and Failure of Will Beringer et al pp 6-7 34 Gary W Gallaghers version of the epitaph would read Killed by the North After a Mean-Fought Fight All things considered he thinks the Union won the war more than the South lost it and he thinks the Confederates hung pretty tough It is a fresh presentation of an old thesis White southerners embraced it in the years after the Civil War the work of many Confederate military historians assumes it implicitly and Richard N Current pressed the case for it in God and the Strongest Battalions his contribution to David Donalds classic Why the North Won the Civil War 1960 Pointing to the Norths advantages in population and economic resources Current argued If wars are won by riches there can be no question why the North eventually prevailed The only question will be How did the South manage to stave off defeat so long Donald p 15 Outlining a response to that question is the chief concern of The Confederate War
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