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Of the tens of thousands of books exploring virtually every aspect of the Civil War, surprisingly little has been said about what was in fact the determining factor in the outcome of the conflict: differences in Union and Southern strategy.
In The Grand Design, Donald Stoker provides a comprehensive and often surprising account of strategy as it evolved between Fort Sumter and Appomattox. Reminding us that strategy is different from tactics (battlefield deployments) and operations (campaigns conducted in pursuit of a strategy), Stoker examines how Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis identified their political goals and worked with their generals to craft the military means to achieve them--or how they often failed to do so. Stoker shows that Davis, despite a West Point education and experience as Secretary of War, failed as a strategist by losing control of the political side of the war. His invasion of Kentucky was a turning point that shifted the loyalties and vast resources of the border states to the Union. Lincoln, in contrast, evolved a clear strategic vision, but he failed for years to make his generals implement it. At the level of generalship, Stoker notes that Robert E. Lee correctly determined the Union's center of gravity, but proved mistaken in his assessment of how to destroy it. Stoker also presents evidence that the Union could have won the war in 1862, had it followed the grand plan of the much-derided general, George B. McClellan.
Arguing that the North's advantages in population and industry did not ensure certain victory, Stoker reasserts the centrality of the overarching military ideas--the strategy--on each side, showing how strategy determined the war's outcome.
"Superb examination of Civil War strategy. Of the numerous books on the American Civil War, few have explored in depth the critical role of strategy in determining the outcome of this nation's bloodiest conflict. On the eve of the sequicentennial of that war, Donald Stoker fills that gap with a superb examination of the larger employment of military power beyond the battlefield."-ARMY Magazine
"For the Civil War buff: As we head into the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, armchair historians will want to keep up with the sesquicentennial. There is no shortage of excellent guides to the conflict. A recent one that I've enjoyed dipping into is The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, by Donald Stoker. Rather than a blow-by-blow account of battles and operations, it describes the strategic objectives of North and South and how civilian and military leaders tried to realize them."-National Review Online
"The Grand Design is not for your basic Civil War buff, but it is an intense read on tactics, operations, and strategies that lead you to a deeper understanding of what we were really fighting for and how chance, vision, and perserverance actually led to the restoration of our country."-Sacramento Book Review
Table of Contents
|List of Maps||p. ix|
|Policy and War||p. 13|
|The Sinews of War||p. 22|
|Mr. Lincoln Goes to War||p. 36|
|The Border States: Policy, Strategy, and Civil-Military Relations||p. 44|
|McClellan on Top: Union Strategy, July 1861-October 1861||p. 52|
|Union Strategy: November 1861-March 1862||p. 69|
|The Foundations of Naval Strategy||p. 93|
|The War in the West: Breaking the Cordon||p. 107|
|A New Year-and a New Strategy||p. 119|
|War in Virginia||p. 139|
|Confusion in the West: The Summer of 1862||p. 169|
|The Tyranny of Time||p. 185|
|Facing the Arithmetic: Escalation and Destruction||p. 207|
|The Enormous Proportions of War||p. 231|
|Vicksburg and Exhaustion||p. 261|
|The Cruel Summer of 1863: The Gettysburg Campaign||p. 277|
|The Autumn of 1863: Playing the Deep Game||p. 307|
|The Siren Song of Tennessee: The Winter of 1863-64||p. 332|
|Decision and Desperation, 1864||p. 351|
|The Full Fury of Modern War||p. 334|
|War Termination||p. 395|
|Conclusion: In War's Shadow||p. 405|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
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