The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy

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University Press of Kansas, 1996 - History - 224 pages
5 Reviews
In these pages, Davis brings into sharp focus the facts and fictions of the South's victories and defeats, its tenacious struggle to legitimize its cause and defeat an overpowering enemy, and its ultimate loss of will. He debunks long-standing legends, offers irrefutable evidence explaining Confederate actions, and contemplates the idealism, naivete, folly, and courage of the military leadership and would-be founding fathers. Among the most misunderstood, Davis contends, was Jefferson Davis. Often branded as enigmatic and incompetent, the Confederate president was simply a decent and committed leader whose mistakes were magnified by the war's extraordinary demands. Davis scrutinizes Jefferson Davis' relationship with his generals - most of whom were unproved talents or cronies with proven deficiencies - and reveals why only Robert E. Lee succeeded in winning Davis' confidence through flattery, persuasion, and a sense of responsibility. He also examines the myths and memories of the nearly deifiedStonewall Jackson and of John C. Breckinridge, the only effective Confederate secretary of war. Davis also illustrates why the cause of the war - a subject of long-standing controversy - boils down to the single issue of slavery; why Southerners, 90 percent of whom didn't own slaves, were willing to join in the battle to defend their homeland; how the personalities, tactics, and styles of the armies in the turbulent West differed greatly from those in the East; what real or perceived turning points influenced Southern decision making; and how mythology and misinterpretations have been perpetuated through biography, history, literature, and film.

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Review: The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy

User Review  - Leah - Goodreads

Another classic for reference material. This book really breaks down the deceptive facades that have been painted by traditional history books about Confederate leaders. This is a book I could reread over and over. Read full review

Review: The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy

User Review  - Paul - Goodreads

I have never been disappointed in a book by Mr. Davis. This is a compact analysis of the myths of the Confederacy; you can consider it a precursor to his great book, Look Away. Read full review


The Mystery of the Myth
Partnership for Success
The Siege of Charleston

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About the author (1996)

The author of more than forty books, WILLIAM C. DAVIS is the director of programs at the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. He is also chief consultant for the A&&E television series Civil War Journal and teaches history at Virginia Tech. He lives in Virginia. <br>

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