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Bluff, Bluster, Lies and Spies: The Lincoln Foreign Policy, 1861-1865

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An in-depth illustration of shifting Civil War alliances and strategies and of Great Britain’s behind-the-scenes role in America’s War Between the States.   In the early years of the Civil War, Southern arms won spectacular victories on the battlefield. But cooler heads in the Confederacy recognized the demographic and industrial weight pitted against them, and they counte An in-depth illustration of shifting Civil War alliances and strategies and of Great Britain’s behind-the-scenes role in America’s War Between the States.   In the early years of the Civil War, Southern arms won spectacular victories on the battlefield. But cooler heads in the Confederacy recognized the demographic and industrial weight pitted against them, and they counted on British intervention to even the scales and deny the United States victory. Fearful that Great Britain would recognize the Confederacy and provide the help that might have defeated the Union, the Lincoln administration was careful not to upset the greatest naval power on earth.   Bluff, Bluster, Lies and Spies takes history buffs into the mismanaged State Department of William Henry Seward in Washington, DC, and details the more skillful work of Lords Palmerston, Russell, and Lyons in the British Foreign Office. It explains how Great Britain’s safety and continued existence as an empire depended on maintaining an influence on American foreign policy and how the growth of the Union navy—particularly its new ironclad ships—rendered her a paper tiger who relied on deceit and bravado to preserve the illusion of international strength.    Britain had its own continental rivals—including France—and the question of whether a truncated United States was most advantageous to British interests was a vital question. Ultimately, Prime Minister Palmerston decided that Great Britain would be no match for a Union armada that could have seized British possessions throughout the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, and he frustrated any ambitions to break Lincoln’s blockade of the Confederacy.   Revealing a Europe full of spies and arms dealers who struggled to buy guns and of detectives and publicists who attempted to influence opinion on the continent about the validity of the Union or Confederate causes, David Perry describes how the Civil War in the New World was determined by Southern battlefield prowess, as the powers of the Old World declined to intervene in the American conflict.  


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An in-depth illustration of shifting Civil War alliances and strategies and of Great Britain’s behind-the-scenes role in America’s War Between the States.   In the early years of the Civil War, Southern arms won spectacular victories on the battlefield. But cooler heads in the Confederacy recognized the demographic and industrial weight pitted against them, and they counte An in-depth illustration of shifting Civil War alliances and strategies and of Great Britain’s behind-the-scenes role in America’s War Between the States.   In the early years of the Civil War, Southern arms won spectacular victories on the battlefield. But cooler heads in the Confederacy recognized the demographic and industrial weight pitted against them, and they counted on British intervention to even the scales and deny the United States victory. Fearful that Great Britain would recognize the Confederacy and provide the help that might have defeated the Union, the Lincoln administration was careful not to upset the greatest naval power on earth.   Bluff, Bluster, Lies and Spies takes history buffs into the mismanaged State Department of William Henry Seward in Washington, DC, and details the more skillful work of Lords Palmerston, Russell, and Lyons in the British Foreign Office. It explains how Great Britain’s safety and continued existence as an empire depended on maintaining an influence on American foreign policy and how the growth of the Union navy—particularly its new ironclad ships—rendered her a paper tiger who relied on deceit and bravado to preserve the illusion of international strength.    Britain had its own continental rivals—including France—and the question of whether a truncated United States was most advantageous to British interests was a vital question. Ultimately, Prime Minister Palmerston decided that Great Britain would be no match for a Union armada that could have seized British possessions throughout the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, and he frustrated any ambitions to break Lincoln’s blockade of the Confederacy.   Revealing a Europe full of spies and arms dealers who struggled to buy guns and of detectives and publicists who attempted to influence opinion on the continent about the validity of the Union or Confederate causes, David Perry describes how the Civil War in the New World was determined by Southern battlefield prowess, as the powers of the Old World declined to intervene in the American conflict.  

33 review for Bluff, Bluster, Lies and Spies: The Lincoln Foreign Policy, 1861-1865

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Book received from NetGalley. I thought the book was interesting. I have taken multiple history classes but they never taught us much about how foreign policy worked under Lincoln. Especially how it worked to keep the various countries in Europe from recognizing the Confederates as a separate county. I don't see this being of much general interest, but someone who enjoys American Civil War history, or possibly even history, in general, will get something from it. I plan on getting a copy to add t Book received from NetGalley. I thought the book was interesting. I have taken multiple history classes but they never taught us much about how foreign policy worked under Lincoln. Especially how it worked to keep the various countries in Europe from recognizing the Confederates as a separate county. I don't see this being of much general interest, but someone who enjoys American Civil War history, or possibly even history, in general, will get something from it. I plan on getting a copy to add to my shelves for reference.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    The American Civil War is part of the curriculum I used to teach, and in retirement I still enjoy reading about it. When I saw that Open Road Media had listed this title on Net Galley to be republished digitally this summer, I swooped in and grabbed a copy for myself. I was so eager to read it that I bumped it ahead of some other DRCs I already had, and I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, this is a shallow effort and it shows. Don’t buy it for yourself, and for heaven’s sake don’t advise The American Civil War is part of the curriculum I used to teach, and in retirement I still enjoy reading about it. When I saw that Open Road Media had listed this title on Net Galley to be republished digitally this summer, I swooped in and grabbed a copy for myself. I was so eager to read it that I bumped it ahead of some other DRCs I already had, and I really wanted to like it. Unfortunately, this is a shallow effort and it shows. Don’t buy it for yourself, and for heaven’s sake don’t advise your students to read it. It begins gamely enough with a discussion of events in Europe and how the changing contours of that part of the world affected the attitudes of England, France, Russia, Prussia, and Spain. At this point my curiosity was piqued, because I had never read anything about which side of the Civil War the last three of these countries favored. But if the rest of the text can be believed—and parts of it cannot—the reason we never hear about Russia, Spain, and Prussia with regard to this rebellion is that they decided they had no stake in its outcome. This part of the text could have been dealt with in one sentence rather than owning a share of the introduction and being dragged in again later, but this is not the only bit of obvious filler that burdens this misbegotten book. I am tantalized initially when Perry brings in a controversy that does interest academics: would Britain have recognized the Confederacy in order to get cotton, or was it busy with other considerations and willing to obtain cotton from colonial holdings in Egypt, India and elsewhere for the duration? This question is discussed, leaves the narrative and is broached again several times, because although the book has chapters, it isn’t organized. The same topics of discussion, and the same quotations that serve as its meager, questionable documentation are dropped into the text again and again. It’s as if Perry doesn’t expect anyone to read it all the way through and is hoping we will drop into the middle of the book somewhere to look up a fact and then leave again without seeing whether he actually knows what he’s talking about. He doesn’t. For example, after citing the same obscure document for pages on end—since I read it digitally, I highlighted “Dispatch 206” seven times before noting that this section, at least, is garbage—he brings up Poland. He talks about Poland and Russia’s attachment to same as a buffer state, but never shows any relationship between Poland and the American Civil War other than that Russia had other greater priorities at this time, which had already been established in an earlier section. And he misuses the term “Manifest Destiny”. Perry apparently believes this term has equal use to multiple governments in reference to themselves around the world. He tells us that privateers are outlawed during the Civil War and infers that this, therefore, will surely mean that all the sad pirates will dock their ships and get honest jobs. No more privateers out there now, matey! He says that Lincoln was a slow thinker, and he refers to American diplomats as ditherers. He documents none of it. I read the citation section to see if more joy would be had if I pursued this book past the halfway mark. I read his author bio, which indicates no expertise regarding this conflict, which by now doesn’t surprise me. Frankly, I don’t understand why this book ever saw the light of day, or why Open Road would republish it. I would love to say that those with deep pockets should go ahead and order it if they can afford all the books they want, but I can’t even say that. The book is unreliable, disorganized, and badly documented. It contains falsehoods and insults the reader’s intelligence. Put your plastic away. This is dross.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

    A very interesting historical investigation, bringing to light relatively unknown details of the political and diplomatic proceedings of the American Civil War. A recommended read for historians and anyone passionate about the founding moments of the American history. Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher

  4. 5 out of 5

    Althea Nelson

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mr. Book

  6. 5 out of 5

    joseph donnelly

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bernard Lavallee

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ann Clark

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jerome

  11. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  12. 5 out of 5

    Noah

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joanna

  16. 4 out of 5

    Allen Patterson

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anita Hertell

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark Monsma

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Stevenson

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barry

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Bjork

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maurice Arnall

  23. 4 out of 5

    Neverdust

  24. 4 out of 5

    S

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ronda Mersmann

  26. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Colby

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ann

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rita

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jason Schneeberger

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joe Honan

  31. 4 out of 5

    Marty Wightman

  32. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Altman

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