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Braxton Bragg

As a leading Confederate general, Braxton Bragg (1817-76) earned areputation for incompetence, for wantonly shooting his own soldiers, andfor losing battles. This public image established him not only as a scapegoatfor the South's military failures but also as the chief whipping boy ofthe Confederacy. The strongly negative opinions of Bragg's contemporarieshave continued to color assessments of the general's military career andcharacter by generations of historians. Rather than take these assessments atface value, Earl J. Hess's biography offers a much more balanced account ofBragg, the man and the officer. While Hess analyzes Bragg's many campaigns and battles, he also emphasizeshow his contemporaries viewed his successes and failures and howthese reactions affected Bragg both personally and professionally. The testimonyand opinions of other members of the Confederate army-includingBragg's superiors, his fellow generals, and his subordinates-reveal howthe general became a symbol for the larger military failures that undid theConfederacy. By connecting the general's personal life to his military career,Hess positions Bragg as a figure saddled with unwarranted infamy andhumanizes him as a flawed yet misunderstood figure in Civil War history.
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About the Author

Earl J. Hess is Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History at Lincoln Memorial University and author of many books on the Civil War, including The Battle of Ezra Church and the Struggle for Atlanta.


Hess's extensive knowledge of the Civil War and military history and his excellent and exhaustive ability to research his chosen topic shine through.--Tennessee Libraries Hess is a first class historian. . . . Among the best in current Civil War writing.--Journal of America's Military Past Hess is a prolific author on many Civil War subjects with a well-earned reputation for shedding new light on long accepted theses. Bragg could not have asked for a more thoughtful, careful, and scrupulously honest evaluator. . . . Hess writes with an easy grace born of erudite scholarship and years in the classroom challenging fresh eyes to look upon old stories and interpret them in new ways.--Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia A thoughtful reexamination of a man who has become, unfortunately and unfairly, the South's 'chief whipping boy'. . . . [A] sharp-eyed profile of the general's dour personality and snakebit career [that] will bring much-needed perspective to future studies of the Confederacy.--Russell S. Bonds, The Wall Street Journal Deeply researched and fair-minded.--News & Observer A significant addition to our understanding of the Civil War. . . . Any scholar of the war should consider it mandatory reading." --The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society Fleshes out [the] real Braxton Bragg. . . . [A] magnificent new study. . . . Exhaustively researched and trenchantly reasoned.--Ted Savas, Civil War News Well-documented, Hess's examination of Bragg is balanced and fair and will interest all Civil War aficionados.--Library Journal This important study successfully challenges the many stale caricatures of Bragg that remain deeply ingrained in the Civil War literature.--Civil War Books and Authors An enjoyable read that makes a thought-provoking argument. . . . [An] even-handed look at Bragg's military career [that] will be useful reading for anyone interested in Civil War history, particularly the western theater.--The Civil War Monitor

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