Confederate General P.G.T.Beauregard once wrote that "no people ever warred for independence with more relative advantages than the Confederates." If there was any doubt as to what Beauregard sought to imply, he later to chose to spell it out: the failure of the Confederacy lay with the Confederate president Jefferson Davis. In Jefferson Davis' Generals, a team of the nation's most distinguished Civil War historians present fascinating examinations of the men who led the Confederacy through our nation's bloodiest conflict, focusing in particular on Jefferson Davis' relationships with five key generals who held independent commands: Joseph E. Johnston, Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, and John Bell Hood. Craig Symonds examines the underlying implications of a withering trust between Johnston and his friend Jefferson Davis. And was there really harmony between Davis and Robert E. Lee? A tenuous harmony at best, according to Emory Thomas. Michael Parrish explores how Beauregard and Davis worked through a deep and mutual loathing, while Steven E. Woodworth and Herman Hattaway make contrasting evaluations of the competence of Generals Braxton Bragg and John Bell Hood. Taking a different angle on Davis' ill-fated commanders, Lesley Gordon probes the private side of war through the roles of the generals' wives, and Harold Holzer investigates public perceptions of the Confederate leadership through printed images created by artists of the day. Pulitzer Prize-winner James M. McPherson's final chapter ties the individual essays together and offers a new perspective on Confederate strategy as a whole. Jefferson Davis' Generals provides stimulating new insights into one of the most vociferously debated topics in Civil War history.
"Jefferson Davis' Generals is indeed welcome. For the first time between two covers seasoned scholars consider carefully Jefferson Davis' relations with critically important generals, with essays on marriages of Davis and generals and image of Davis as commander-in-chief as added attractions. This volume adds measurably to understanding Davis as a war leader. Everyone interested in the Confederate war effort should read this book."--William J.
Cooper, Jr., Boyd Professor, Louisiana State University
"The controversy over the generals appointed by Jefferson Davis, their abilities, their relations with him, and their impact on Confederate fortunes, began in 1861 as soon as the first battle was done, and the war of words has continued unabated ever since. In Jefferson Davis' Generals, eight of our most distinguished Civil War historians, under the baton editor Gabor S. Boritt, carry the debate to a new definition, in the process offering trenchant
observations on the war, generalship, and the nature of executive leadership. Especially useful, the contributors take into account the political imperatives, so often otherwise ignored--that inevitably drive
the army in a civil democracy. Jefferson Davis' Generals will not close the debate, surely, but it will mark one of the high points in a discussion that will likely have no end."--William C. Davis, author of Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour
"A worthy addition to Civil War historiography...Recommended for public and academic libraries."--Library Journal
"The book comes together as a very readable text...Boritt's work illuminates a fundamental aspect of the Civil War and presents a perspective that is well worth considering."--Historian