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Lost Victories


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David Rees is an expert on Korea and has published a number of books on the Korean War and continuing conflicts in the area. He resides in England.


A detailed analysis of the battles and correspondence of Stonewall Jackson leads Alexander to conclude that Jackson's strategic overview was superior to that of Robert E. Lee and would have led to fewer Southern casualties and to the possibility (on at least three occasions) of the total destruction of the Northern Army of the Potomac. He views Lee as a conservative, timid, and nearsighted military leader. This is not a comprehensive biography (for such see Byron Farwell's Stonewall: A Biography, LJ 9/1/92) but a ``what if'' book analyzing the strategic opinions and views of Stonewall Jackson--a smoothly written, well-researched text offering a new perspective on the Civil War's leading tactical genius. Recommended for military collections.-- Richard Nowicki, Emerson Vocational H.S., Buffalo, N.Y.

Alexander ( Korea: The First War We Lost ) debuts as a Civil War historian by asserting that Stonewall Jackson, rather than Robert E. Lee, possessed the strategic insight that might have won Confederate independence. Jackson initially advocated striking at the Union's will by invading the North; when neither Lee nor Jefferson Davis accepted this concept, Jackson concentrated on plans to destroy the Union army. Here too he was repeatedly frustrated, according to Alexander, by Lee's limited strategic insight and tendency to accept pitched battles whose losses the Confederacy could not afford. Only at Chancellorsville in 1863 did Lee accede to Jackson's bold plan, which might have annihilated the Army of the Potomac had Jackson not been mortally wounded. Alexander's critique of Lee, and his belief that decisive battles were possible under Civil War conditions, are debatable. Nevertheless this revisionist analysis merits the attention of Civil War students. (Nov.)

""Well-researched and thought-provoking."

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