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The Dogs of War: 1861 | [Emory M. Thomas]

The Dogs of War: 1861

In 1861, Americans thought that the war looming on their horizon would be brief. None foresaw that they were embarking on our nation's worst calamity, a four-year bloodbath that cost the lives of more than half a million people. But as eminent Civil War historian Emory Thomas points out in this stimulating and provocative book, once the dogs of war are unleashed, it is almost impossible to rein them in.
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Publisher's Summary

In 1861, Americans thought that the war looming on their horizon would be brief. None foresaw that they were embarking on our nation's worst calamity, a four-year bloodbath that cost the lives of more than half a million people. But as eminent Civil War historian Emory Thomas points out in this stimulating and provocative book, once the dogs of war are unleashed, it is almost impossible to rein them in.

In The Dogs of War, Thomas highlights the delusions that dominated each side's thinking. Lincoln believed that most Southerners loved the Union and would be dragged unwillingly into secession by the planter class. Jefferson Davis could not quite believe that Northern resolve would survive the first battle. Once the Yankees witnessed Southern determination, he hoped, they would acknowledge Confederate independence. These two leaders, in turn, reflected widely held myths. Thomas weaves his exploration of these misconceptions into a tense narrative of the months leading up to the war, from the "Great Secession Winter" to a fast-paced account of the Fort Sumter crisis in 1861.

Emory M. Thomas's books demonstrate a breathtaking range of major Civil War scholarship, from The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience and the landmark The Confederate Nation, to definitive biographies of Robert E. Lee and J.E.B. Stuart. In The Dogs of War, he draws upon his lifetime of study to offer a new perspective on the outbreak of our national Iliad.

©2011 Emory M. Thomas (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Intelligent and engaging. Thomas's musings will remind readers that wars should not be left to either generals or politicians alone. An instructive lesson recommended for any free people thinking they can control events, especially wars, simply because they think their cause is just." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Kemper METAIRIE, LA, United States 12-06-11
    Kemper METAIRIE, LA, United States 12-06-11
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    Story
    "Cotton exports to Europe from 1855 to 1860"
    If you could sum up The Dogs of War: 1861 in three words, what would they be?

    Extreamly well focused


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Lack of reall readiness for war of either side


    Which character – as performed by Peter Ganim – was your favorite?

    He took a rather febled attempt at Beauregard


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It is not that sort of a book.


    Any additional comments?

    This was an extream focus. !861 was really the result of first 1776 and later 1812. Slavery was not delt with in 1776, thus left to fester till 1861. The dependebality of the steam boat was established in 1812 This led to the Souths persuit of the Europian market with their cotton to a point of near strangulation of New England textile mills.
    Cotton was the OIL of 1850s. The economic impact of New England mills having to pay inflated prices for cotton, if they could get at all WAS the one thing that could not be tolorated the North East.
    Virtually every Union Army moving south had literally hundreds of cotton speculators in their company. Complaints from Grant were commom. Even Banks and Butler who profited hansomly from them complained that they often got in the way.
    The DOG'S of WAR was indeed excelent, but such a focus leaves out many key factors

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 11-18-11
    David 11-18-11
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    "The dogs of authorships"

    This book has several odd theses. Thomas is a bit of a revisionist and a "Monday morning quarterback". The first half seems dedicated to implying that everyone back then was pretty stupid and romantic about "war" and all that it entailed. Thomas paints with a broad brush and makes it seem as though both the North and South were filled with nothing but ignorant political and military leaders, media/journalists, clergy and civilians who expected any conflict to be resolved in about a week's span with complete victory and hardly any casualties. I think the time period of the 1800s had a different method of communication, whereby hyperbole and drama was used quite a bit... this is the period that produced Samuel Clemens after all. My other thesis peeve with Thomas is that he interrupts his dull narrative and inept analysis to link what he thinks are mistakes in the administration of the Civil War with mistakes in the administration of the Iraq war(s). The second half of the book is just a compilation of odd events and characters, none of which or who are very interesting.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-26-11 Member Since 2008
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    "The Dogs of War: Nothing New"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    The Dogs of War is of interest to those who who read a lot about the Civil War, although it doesn't really have any information that is new. The conclusions the author draws are interesting, however.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Perhaps a different reader. This one was rather dull.


    Could you see The Dogs of War: 1861 being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No, this is not destined for being filmed.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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