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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book review: The Civil War in Louisiana

The Civil War in LouisianaThe Civil War in Louisiana by John D. Winters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In his exhaustive look at the war in Louisiana, Winters examines not only the military aspects of the war, but their political, economic, and to a lesser extent social aspects as well. He goes into great detail and provides a thorough synthesis of the war in that state.

I had two complaints, though. First was the lack of an overall map of Louisiana. This would have helped with the large number of place names, many of which are unfamiliar to anyone not from there.

The second problem was Winters' coverage of the black population. A white author writing in 1963, his attitudes are a bit antiquated. He can't seem to understand why slaves would rebel if given the chance, and considers this to be nothing but common criminality. He is also overly critical of the ability of black units, many of which were given scanty training and scantier provisions.

These two problems do somewhat lessen the value of the book, yet it is still important reading for anyone studying the Trans-Mississippi theater of the war.

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  1. Does it lessen the value of the book or give it a unique insight to how people viewed things back then?

  2. Nothing unique to the insight that whites in Louisiana were generally racist back in the early Sixties!
    His racism isn't too strong, and it's obvious enough that you can filter it out of his analysis.


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