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The American Civil War and the Wars of the Industrial Revolution

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The social and political changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution transformed everything from the balance of power between nations to arms manufacturing to battlefield tactics and strategy. Using three wars as examples -- most dramatically the American Civil War -- trace the development of land fighting and the effects of higher command during this period of tumultuous The social and political changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution transformed everything from the balance of power between nations to arms manufacturing to battlefield tactics and strategy. Using three wars as examples -- most dramatically the American Civil War -- trace the development of land fighting and the effects of higher command during this period of tumultuous technological change. Unlike histories that downplay the connection between the outcome in the United States and the conflicts in Europe, this one reveals their interconnection.


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The social and political changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution transformed everything from the balance of power between nations to arms manufacturing to battlefield tactics and strategy. Using three wars as examples -- most dramatically the American Civil War -- trace the development of land fighting and the effects of higher command during this period of tumultuous The social and political changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution transformed everything from the balance of power between nations to arms manufacturing to battlefield tactics and strategy. Using three wars as examples -- most dramatically the American Civil War -- trace the development of land fighting and the effects of higher command during this period of tumultuous technological change. Unlike histories that downplay the connection between the outcome in the United States and the conflicts in Europe, this one reveals their interconnection.

30 review for The American Civil War and the Wars of the Industrial Revolution

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    Solid overview, but essential a book of the US Civil War with somewhat European wars slapped on. Not a coherent analysis / narrative with a clear idea/ambition

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paschalis

    elibrary

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Brian Holden Reid’s goal in this book, as he states in its introduction, is to place the Civil War in context with two other major conflicts of the mid-19th century, the Crimean War and the wars of German unification. Contrary to many traditional accounts of the warfare of the era, he sees the three as reflecting the evolution of large-scale industrialized warfare during those decades, with the different struggles nevertheless demonstrating commonalities in the impact of new technologies and the Brian Holden Reid’s goal in this book, as he states in its introduction, is to place the Civil War in context with two other major conflicts of the mid-19th century, the Crimean War and the wars of German unification. Contrary to many traditional accounts of the warfare of the era, he sees the three as reflecting the evolution of large-scale industrialized warfare during those decades, with the different struggles nevertheless demonstrating commonalities in the impact of new technologies and the changing scale of war. This is evident beginning with the Crimean War. Fought in the shadow of the Napoleonic wars (the British commander had been Wellington’s secretary), Reid nonetheless demonstrates, in a very British-centric account, that the expedition to the Crimea would have been impossible without the steam-powered ships which sustained the forces. Yet while he challenges the notion of the British military as being “a museum piece”, he does note that the reforms introduced hardly addressed the challenges of the new warfare that commanders like Lord Raglan faced. Similar limitations emerged at the command level during the Civil War. Reid’s analysis of the conflict dominates the book, taking up three of its five chapters. His analysis if primarily operational and strategic, and it reveals how unready – and in many cases, unadaptable – commanders on both sides were to the new scale of warfare. Grant emerges as the dominant commander, Reid argues, not because of his ability as a field commander (which he sees as inferior to Lee’s), but because of his grasp of “what was important in the higher level of the conduct of war.” In this Reid ranks Grant with Helmuth von Moltke as the first masters of industrialized warfare, as the Prussian general demonstrated similar attributes in his successful pursuit of victory against Denmark (which is only briefly addressed), Austria, and France. All of this Reid presents with a generous seasoning of his sharp observations which leave little doubt as to his opinion on matters (his assessment of the staff of Austrian general Ludwig Benedek is that they “made for an entertaining dining club” is one of the more amusing among many) and make for a lively text. By comparing the three wars, he demonstrates clearly how industrialization transformed warfare, while his operational narrative shows how slowly commanders adapted to these changes. Heavily illustrated with photographs and maps, it is a quick read, and serves as an excellent introduction to the Civil War while putting it in the context of the evolution of modern warfare.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rock

    I can't figure out who this book is supposed to be for. There isn't enough detail to satisfy the enthusiast, yet characters are constantly introduced without context (the author will mention a regiment without bothering to identify which side they were on), baffling a the casual reader. There are some well-chosen illustrations, but the maps aren't all that helpful since they tend to lack detail (often failing to label features mentioned in the text and lacking any basic description of symbology) I can't figure out who this book is supposed to be for. There isn't enough detail to satisfy the enthusiast, yet characters are constantly introduced without context (the author will mention a regiment without bothering to identify which side they were on), baffling a the casual reader. There are some well-chosen illustrations, but the maps aren't all that helpful since they tend to lack detail (often failing to label features mentioned in the text and lacking any basic description of symbology).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Grant and Moltke.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jordan David

  7. 4 out of 5

    Clint Barron

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ciera

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gaius

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shishir

  11. 5 out of 5

    Igor

  12. 4 out of 5

    Frédéric Bey

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  14. 4 out of 5

    Henrik Jensen

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Somers

  16. 5 out of 5

    G.J. Minett

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hankey

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel Schmucker

  20. 5 out of 5

    Philippe

  21. 5 out of 5

    ALBERTO

  22. 5 out of 5

    Yen

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Justin Thomas

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gianpaolo Belfi

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nick Bradshaw

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Cunningham

  28. 5 out of 5

    Colin Campbell

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nigel

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bruinrefugee

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