How to Lose the Civil War
Military Mistakes of the War Between the States
By Bill Fawcett
(William Morrow Paperbacks, Paperback, 9780061807275, 320pp.)
Publication Date: April 2011
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A fascinating and factfilled collection of the greatest and dumbest missteps of America's bloodiest conflict
For four years in the middle of the nineteenth century, brother fought brother on American soil. No American war ever had higher stakes than, or changed a nation as profoundly as, the terrible conflict between the Union and the Confederacy. A dark historical panorama populated by a remarkable cast of colorful characters, the War Between the States was indelibly marked by both brilliant military maneuvers and mind-boggling battlefield blunders that gravely threatened the continuation of the American Experiment.
With suitable irreverence, Bill Fawcett chronicles the unbelievably disastrous decisions made by both sides in this monumental clash, including:
- The Second Battle of Bull Run, where Robert E. Lee looks smart beating a remarkably stupid general
- How the Union's shortsighted Colonel James Ripley's bad decision arms the Confederate Army better than his own
- Lincoln's roller-coaster search for competent commanders, a long-running dark comedy of tragic errors
- A golden opportunity squandered: General Lee fails to exploit a vulnerable Union and capture Washington, D.C.
- Pickett's disastrous charge and the many, many Confederate command failures at Gettysburg
- Lincoln's contentious draft policy that nearly burns New York City to the ground
Bill Fawcett is the author and editor of more than a dozen books, including It Seemed Like a Good Idea, How to Lose a Battle, You Said What?, three historical mystery series, and two oral histories of the U.S. Navy SEALs. He lives in Illinois.
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