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Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West (Reflections on the Civil War Era)

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View my complete profile. Each year sees the appearance of new books aimed at the popular market that simp The verdict is in: the Civil War was won in the West--that is, in the nation's heartland, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Each year sees the appearance of new books aimed at the popular market that simply assume that it was in the East, often at Gettysburg, that the decisive clashes of the war took place.

For decades, serious historians of the Civil War have completed one careful study after another, nearly all tending to indicate the pivotal importance of what people during the war referred to as the West. In this fast paced overview, Woodworth presents his case for the decisiveness of the theater. Overwhelming evidence now indicates that it was battles like Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Chattanooga, and Atlanta that sealed the fate of the Confederacy-not the nearly legendary clashes at Bull Run or Chancellorsville or the mythical high-water mark at Gettysburg.

The western campaigns cost the Confederacy vast territories, the manufacturing center of Nashville, the financial center of New Orleans, communications hubs such as Corinth, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, along with the agricultural produce of the breadbasket of the Confederacy. They sapped the morale of Confederates and buoyed the spirits of Unionists, ultimately sealing the northern electorate's decision to return Lincoln to the presidency for a second term and thus to see the war through to final victory.

Detailing the Western clashes that proved so significant, Woodworth contends that it was there alone that the Civil War could be--and was--decided. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Decision in the Heartland , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Decision in the Heartland.

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Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West by Steven E. Woodworth

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Oct 26, Iain rated it liked it Shelves: historical-acw.


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This book succeeds in conveying the sweep and flow of the Western theater of the ACW in remarkably few pages. The author incorporates a good deal of detail on both specific battles and maneuvers. The author's style will not be for everyone however as at times he can sound opinionated or flippant.

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I appreciate that he has views, and having accepted them as such I was able to enjoy his work. The only real negative I found was a tendency to incorporate long awkward sentences as well as several inst This book succeeds in conveying the sweep and flow of the Western theater of the ACW in remarkably few pages. The only real negative I found was a tendency to incorporate long awkward sentences as well as several instances where sentences spell check well, but make no sense to a human reader.

As an example of both, consider: "With darkness coming on, Bragg had no time to move Breckinridge's reinforcements all the way to the far end of the Confederate line and inside launched them at the angle in the Union line - the hinge of the jackknife.

Bottom line, this is a good book on the theater but not a perfect one. With better proofreading and maps I would have given it four stars. May 27, Steven Peterson rated it liked it.

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Very well written summary of the War in the "heartland. The thesis is simple Page xii : "Lee had done well in defending his sector of the Confederacy, but once the vast interior of the country had been swept by the Federals, his fate, and that of his army, were sealed. However, for those who know a good deal about the Civil War, this will not be overly satisfying. There is little actual description of key battles and maneuvers.

For those who have an interest in the Civil War but who have not read a great deal, on the other hand, this will be a valuable entree. So, how you evaluate this book, I think, depends on where you stand in terms of familiarity with the conflict. Mar 18, Tom rated it it was amazing Shelves: american-history. The author looks at the problems both sides, esp, the Confederacy , had with divided commands and sup-par leadership.

It looks like while the Union went through a time of sup-par leadership in the Army of the Potomac, The South had the same problems with their Army of the Tennessee. Grant's and Sherman's style of aggressive leadership was not matched by the like of Joe A great overview of both Northern and Southern forces in the "west", Kentucky, Mississippi, M. Grant's and Sherman's style of aggressive leadership was not matched by the like of Joe Johnston and others in the Confederacy.

Decision in the Heartland: The Civil War in the West (Reflections on the Civil War Era)

I saw somewhere the comment that the best thing to happen to the Union in the West was the death of Confederate General A. Johnston at the battle of Pittsburgh Landing Shiloh, he being an aggressive general in the mold of Lee, Grant and Sherman. Apr 20, Sean Chick rated it really liked it. A fairly straightforward introductory work on the western campaigns. Woodworth's prejudices are strewn throughout he loves Grant and Bragg and some wild assertions are made Johnston refused army command in April to spite Davis?

Yet, it is a good read and his strategic analysis is fair. Donald B. Johnson rated it really liked it Dec 27, Gill Eastland rated it it was amazing Jan 11, William Kerrigan rated it really liked it Dec 21, James Walters rated it liked it Jan 10, Thomas rated it liked it Jun 10,