Expert Opinions

The following are comments about my books by other authors and experts. To purchase a signed copy of any of the books, email: phil_leigh(AT)me. com

The Devil’s Town: Hot Springs During the Gangster Era – 2018

“I had the pleasure to read Phil Leigh’s manuscript “The Devil’s Town” before publication.  As someone who was born in Hot Springs and who has authored himself four books on Hot Springs reading Leigh’s book was both a pleasure and a chance to learn parts of Hot Springs incredible history I didn’t know.  The book is well written and engages the reader in the story of what is certainly one of the most interesting resort towns in the world.”

“Even as an author of four Hot Springs books, The Devil’s Town entertainingly amplified insight into my hometown.”

Ray Hanley — Author: A Place Apart: A Personal History of Hot Springs

 

Southern Reconstruction2017

Mr. Leigh has given us a refreshing corrective in the history of the Cultural Revolution that swept the United States and the South in the latter half of the nineteenth century. An admirable work that is both balanced and comprehensive.
— H. V. Traywick author of Empire of the Owls. 

Southern Reconstruction cuts against the grain of mainstream studies of the topic. Where they assume that the racial aspect virtually exhausts the subject and that the story ends in 1877, Leigh shows us that there is much more to the story and that its harshly negative affects are still felt today.
— Kevin G. Gutzman, author of Thomas Jefferson—Revolutionary: A Radical Struggle to Remake America

Leigh interprets Reconstruction as more than a simple political effort to reintegrate former Confederate states into the Union following the Civil War. His study reveals that the event left legacies affecting black and white, Northern and Southern Americans. The author’s careful analysis of Civil War and Reconstruction  laws approved by Congress illustrates how they established a platform on which the Gilded Age alliance of government and business was built. That legislation not only failed to benefit the South, it deliberately kept Southern businesses from developing and trapped Southern farmers in a crop lien economic system, which helped lead to former Confederate states even now being some of the poorest in the country. In addition, Reconstruction legislation led to African American voters in the South being used crassly to bolster Republican governments during Reconstruction, then exploited as a threat that kept potential white populist voters safely voting for Democrats during the late nineteenth century. Leigh expands understanding of this crucial period in US history by showing how its focus extended far beyond the issues of race that some interpretations stress. A welcome addition to Reconstruction historiography.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All public and academic levels/libraries.

—Dr. Jerry Sanson, Chair: History and Political Science Department, Louisiana State University at Alexandria. (May 2018)

 

The Confederacy at Flood Tide – 2016

Philip Leigh’s done it once again. With The Confederacy at Flood Tide, he interweaves narrative and analysis to upend our conventional wisdom about the rise and fall of the South’s fortunes during the Civil War. A must read for a deeper understanding of those critical months in 1862, when the South could, just for a moment, see the possibility of victory.
— Clay Risen, The New York Times

The Confederacy at Flood Tide ties together the far-flung theaters of war and the contemporaneous political situation, which emphasizes the interconnections between them. Mr. Leigh does not accept off hand the standard versions presented as history, but drills into the events without preconceptions, the better to determine causes and impacts.
— Joseph Rose, author of Grant Under Fire

Philip Leigh has produced a highly readable history of a crucial period of the Civil War. It is a fine synthesis: he gives the reader a sold grounding of the battles, linked with a valuable discussion of how the leaders, both military and political, effected them. Perhaps the most interesting part of the work is the way in which Leigh places events he discusses into the global context, connecting what was happening in the US with public opinion, government policies, and social forces in Europe and Mexico. This is a fine addition to the current scholarship of the war.
— Frank Varney, author of General Grant and the Rewriting of History.

 

Lee’s Lost Dispatch and Other Civil War Controversies. — 2015

Phil Leigh’s Lee’s Lost Dispatch and Other Civil War Controversies is chock full of data, interesting facts and just plain readable tales. It is a must read for Civil War enthusiasts who want to learn about some of the more interesting anecdotes of the Civil War.
— Laurie Woodruff, Executive Director, Essential Civil War Curriculum, Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech.

Philip Leigh has produced a thoughtful, thought-provoking and enjoyable book addressing some of the Civil War’s puzzles, scandals, mysteries, and “what-if” subjects. It is a delightful “must read” book.
— Edward Bonekemper, Book Review Editor, Civil War News and author of The Myth of the Lost Cause.

 

Trading With the Enemy — 2014

Far from telling a conventional story of epaulets and cannons, Leigh plumbs the economic side of the war to tell a compelling narrative about intersectional trade, and in doing so complicates and challenges our understanding of the war and the motives that drove both sides in waging it.
— Clay Risen, The New York Times and author of The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act.

 

Co. Aytch: Illustrated and Annotated — 2013

Now Phil Leigh, in this new edition [of Confederate Private Sam Watkins’s memoir] has provided an introduction and annotations that have added immeasurably to the classic’s depth…Watkins’ point of view…remains required reading. Philip Leigh’s annotations, maps and illustrations clearly assist readers in viewing the events, people and places in context.
—  Frank J. Williams, founding chair of The Lincoln Forum and past President of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

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