Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Booknotes: Decisions of the Atlanta Campaign

New Arrival:
Decisions of the Atlanta Campaign: The Twenty-One Critical Decisions That Defined the Operation by Larry Peterson (UT Press, 2019).

With previous Command Decisions in America's Civil War series books covering the Stones River, Second Manassas, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga battles, Larry Peterson's Decisions of the Atlanta Campaign: The Twenty-One Critical Decisions That Defined the Operation will concentrate even more on campaign-level decision making. Though the earlier series entries certainly did address some strategic and operational level decisions leading up to a culminating battle, Atlanta will be the first volume to address the origins and conduct of an entire extended campaign (December 1863 through September 1864) consisting of a series of major battles. Presumably, the upcoming 1862 Kentucky Campaign book, also scheduled for release this year, will be similar in concept.

Decisions of the Atlanta Campaign "introduces readers to critical decisions made by Confederate and Union commanders throughout that tide-turning summer of 1864. Rather than offering a history of the Atlanta Campaign, Larry Peterson hones in on a sequence of critical decisions confronting commanders on both sides of the clash to provide a blueprint of the campaign at its tactical core. Identifying and exploring the critical decisions in this way allows students of the campaign to progress from a rudimentary sense of the what of warfare, to a mature grasp of why."

Accompanying the decision discussion is an extensive driving tour that follows the series's now well-established format. Supplementing both sections are 34 maps (20 for the main text and 14 modern road maps for the tour). Orders of battle, notes, bibliography, and index round out the volume.

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