Today Westholme Publishing released my latest Civil War book, Lee’s Lost Dispatch and Other Civil War Controversies. It is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.
More Americans were killed in the Civil War than in any other, despite the fact that our country’s population was only about a tenth of the present 312 million. If Civil War casualty ratios were applied to our current population, the number of deaths would total over six million, compared to about four hundred thousand in World War II. Partly because of the enormous number of casualties and partly because it was fought in our own land, the Civil War is one of the great mythological themes of American history. Thus, it will probably continue to be a rich source of historical writing and literature for decades to come. But viewpoints about it shift unpredictably from one perspective to another and then get stuck in a rut. Thereafter, they follow Newton’s law of inertia until acted upon by a fresh impulse. Consider, for example, how Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Killer Angels altered opinions about major Gettysburg personalities. Shaara demonstrated that new directions might emerge by inspecting unexamined assumptions, which is one of the aims of this book.
Lee’s Lost Dispatch and Other Civil War Controversies revisits eleven episodes of the Civil War era—some lesser known than others—that, upon reexamination, may challenge our received understanding of the course of that conflict. It is hoped that this small volume will promote discussion and debate among those who enjoy Civil War history and contemplating alternatives to conventional conclusions and analyses.