Saturday, November 28, 2020

Book News: Southern Strategies

Serious book-length studies of Civil War national strategy are still rare. Offhand, I can't think of any good candidates released during the decade following the 2010 publication of Donald Stoker's The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, and even that one, if I recall correctly, was mostly limited to military affairs. Part of University Press of Kansas's upcoming spring catalog, Southern Strategies: Why the Confederacy Failed (June 2021) employs an integrated, systematic approach "to offer new theoretical and historical perspectives about why the South failed in its bid for independence." For this ambitious project, editor and U.S. Army War College professor Christian Keller assembled a unique group of contributors possessing decades of scholastic and real-world professional military experience. These individuals "bring over one hundred years of experience in the field at the junior and senior levels of military leadership and over forty years of teaching in professional military education."

From the description: "The contributors identify and analyze the mistakes made by the Confederate political and strategic leadership that handicapped the prospects for independence and placed immense pressure on Confederate military commanders to compensate on the battlefield for what should have been achieved by other instruments of national power. These instruments are the diplomatic, informational (including intelligence and public morale), and economic aspects of a nation's capability to exert its will internationally. When combined with military power, the acronym DIME emerges, a theoretical tool that offers historians and national security professionals alike a useful method to analyze how a state, such as the Union, the Confederacy, or the modern United States, wielded or currently wields its power at the strategic level. Each essay examines how well rebel strategic leaders employed and integrated these instruments, given that the seceded South possessed enough diplomatic, informational, military, and economic power to theoretically win its independence. The essayists also apply the ends-ways-means model of analysis to each topic to offer readers greater insight into the Confederate leadership's challenges."

Southern Strategies "offers fresh and theoretically novel interpretations at the strategic level that open new doors for future research and will increase public interest in the big questions surrounding Confederate defeat." I am definitely going to have to check this one out. There's also another title of interest in the Kansas catalog that I'll mention next week.

1 comment:

  1. I have exchanged a few LinkedIn messages with Christian Keller. I am pretty sure this will be a good book, and this type is one of my favorites. Looking forward to reading it.

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