Jefferson Davis, Unconquerable Heart

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University of Missouri Press, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 832 pages
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Jefferson Davis, unconquerable heart

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The subject of both laudatory and critical studies since the time of the American Civil War, Jefferson Davis remains a controversial and enigmatic figure. In this truly comprehensive volume, Allen, an ... Read full review

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Sorry but if Felicity's book does not belong near the history or non-fiction section. She simply quotes Davis endlessly. Or his wife. And only when that edited praises Davis even more.
If Davis
had a fault, Felicity would probably say he was too wonderful for his own good.
IF your basic view of Davis is that he was a selfless heroic family man, and lover of liberty, fine. But don't twist every possible self serving quote to prove it. How about a little bit of scholarship?
'
Seriously, what is it with writers like Southall Freeman and Felicity? They actually seem intent on writing more praise than anyone else. It's a race to flatter men more - and in Davis case, he did not deserve it. Sam Houston called him "Cold as a snake, and ambitious as Lucifer".
SO if she essentially simply echos Davis own self aggrandizement, of COURSE he is the most kind brave heroic man in the South. Davis was the hero of his own folktale -- aren't we all -- Allen simply has no clue about that.
But notice, she does NOT quote his wife, Varina, when she essentially confirms Davis cowardice, which was especially pathetic in many ways, when he was captured. Felicity has to know Varina Davis wrote a famous letter to the Blairs, all but admitting he had on a dress. She even tells the Blair's "I said it was my mother".
Felciity knows that letter as well as anyone, yet she dismisses the charges of Davis cowardice and stealing the gold as absurd.She makes excuses for his female garment. But it was THREE separate garments, according to his wife, that she "pleaded with him" to put on. Davis said he threw on the wrong shoulder wrap. No, he was dressed head to spurs in women's clothes -- not one errant shoulder wrap. Read Varina's own letter. IF the soldiers were lying, then she had essentially the same lie.
But it's more than running away in a dress, -- never mind what he wore (he wore a dress) he was running away from his children when shots were fired. Can you imagine LIncoln abanonding his children as rebel soldiers entered his family residence?
Can you imagine Eisenhower leaving his children in harms way as Nazi soldiers broke into his headquarters?
It was not just the dress, of course, it was the money Davis took from Richmond, which caused so much dispute, as Felicity knows. It was Davis nearly psychotic urging of others to give their children and their lives to the cause -- while he was gathering gold and running for his personal safety.
But when his OWN children were in harms way, he did not even defend them. He ran. And we know from an eyewitness that Davis berated his wife horribly, though she is the one that protected him. He blamed her for his capture. Layers of pettiness. He was not only not a great man, he was selfish and self centered and devious as anyone of that period. He got rich on slavery, which Allen seems to dismiss as virtually a non factor in his life.
The real life of Davis we can't know, but Felicity may as well let Davis write his own. You can have all the adoration you want, but not your own facts. Felicity simple does for Davis what Southall Freeman did for Lee -- distort every possible fact and carefully shape it to absurdly portray often the exact OPPOSITE of what the fact were. Davis is always shown as extremely brave, when the truth seems almost the opposite. It's hard to know the truth about Davis, but you can just dismiss accounts like Felicity's. It is not a work of scholarship. It should not be in non fiction section.
 

Contents

Capture
1
Home
31
School
45
Army
57
Marriage
83
Plantation and Politics
111
Fame
137
United States Senator
159
Prisoners
412
An Unseen Hand
434
Varina
461
Sad Wandering
488
The Cause
511
The Hero
534
Afterward
560
J E Johnston to J Davis on Rank
577

Victory in Defeat
184
War Department Days
202
Struggles for Health and the South
225
President
266
The Chief Executive
292
Commander in Chief
317
The Year of Our Lord 1863
344
Doublequick Downhill
372
Proclamations by Davis for Days of Prayer
582
Devotional Material Used by Davis in Prison
584
Preface to the Notes
587
Notes
593
Select Bibliography
733
Index
761
Copyright

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