Davis and Lee at War
Steven E. Woodworth
Fletcher Pratt Award
Steven Woodworth's previous book, the critically acclaimed Jefferson Davis and His Generals, won the prestigious Fletcher Pratt Award and was a main selection of the History Book Club. In that book he showed how the failures of Davis and his military leaders in the west paved the way for Confederate defeat. In Davis and Lee at War, he concludes his study of Davis as rebel commander-in-chief and shows how the lack of a unified purpose and strategy in the east sealed the Confederacy's fate.
“This well-written and highly illuminating work is not only an incisive study of military command but a penetrating psychological analysis of Davis, Lee and other key figures of the Confederacy.”
—New York Times Book Review
“An engaging, well written account.”
—Publishers WeeklySee all reviews...
“This is a book that both provides information and stimulates thinking. It belongs on the shelf of any serious student of Civil War strategy.”
—Florida Historical Quarterly
“An absolutely splendid book.”
—Civil War Regiments
“[A] clearly and crisply written work.”
—American Historical Review
“An informative and insightful analysis of the Confederate command, as well as the personalit of Jefferson Davis.”
“Woodworth has made an outstanding contribution to Civil War literature.”
“The clarity of [Woodworth’s] narrative and the excellence of his prose make Davis and Lee at War a delight to read.”
—Blue & Gray Magazine
“There can be do doubting that this is an intelligent and fluently written book that dispenses much wisdom on matters of vexed controversy among Civil War historians.”
—War in History
“Woodworth opens surprisingly fresh questions about a relationship that many would have thought familiar and does so with clear writing that makes this work accessible to a wide audience.”
—North Carolina Historical Review
“An insightful examination of the most important command relationship of the Civil War. Anyone seeking to understand the war in Virginia does not dare ignore this penetrating new work.”
—William C. Davis, author of Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour
“A splendid interpretation of Confederate strategy and command.”
—James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
“Illuminating, stimulating, and sometimes even shocking. Not everyone will agree with everything Woodworth says but all will find this book worth reading and pondering.”
—Albert Castel, author of Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864
“Another powerful volume from Steven Woodworth. Crisply written, with choice anecdotes.”
—Joseph T. Glatthaar, author of Partners in Command
“We have long needed a good, modern overview of the Confederate war effort. Woodworth has already given us a splendid volume on the West. This new work will be a major help to readers seeking to understand America's greatest military crisis.”
—Richard McMurry, author of Two Great Rebel Armies and John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence
“A story told with skill and insight.”
—Brooks D. Simpson, author of Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction
“Thoroughly entertaining. A real winner that will be useful to scholars and welcomed by buffs.”
—Michael B. Ballard, author of Landscapes of Battle: The Civil WarSee fewer reviews...
Woodworth argues that Davis and Robert E. Lee, the South's greatest military leader, had sharply conflicting views over the proper conduct of the war. Davis was convinced that the South should fight a defensive war, to simply outlast the North's political and popular support for the war. By contrast, Lee and the other eastern generals-notably P.G.T. Beauregard, Gustavus Smith, and Stonewall Jackson-were eager for the offensive. They were convinced that only quick and decisive battlefield victories would prevent the North from eventually defeating them with its overwhelming advantage in men and materials.
Davis and Lee, Woodworth shows, shared a mutual respect for each other for most of the war. But it was respect mixed with a stubborn resistance to the other's influence. The result of this tense tug-of-war was Davis's misguided pursuit of a middle ground that gave neither strategy its best chance for success. The war finally ground to a bloody conclusion with Davis as indecisive as ever and virtually blind to how little confidence his generals had in his leadership.
Drawing extensively upon the papers of Jefferson Davis and the works of leading Civil War historians, Woodworth places the eastern military campaigns in an entirely new light and expands our understanding of Davis as leader of the Confederacy.