Gabor S. Boritt, Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, brings together five Civil War historians to reveal how battlefield decisions shaped the very forces -- social, economic, and political -- that many scholars claim determined the outcome of the war. James McPherson argues that the Civil War was won by the Union army through key victories at key moments. Archer Jones examines the strategy of the two sides, concluding that neither got the better of the other, and shows how each had to match its military planning to political necessity. Gary Gallagher assesses the role of the dominant generals -- Lee, Grant, and Sherman -- explaining how they towered above the others and how their roles shaped the war. Reid Mitchell shows how the Union's advantage in numbers was enhanced by a dedication and perseverance of federal troops that was not matched by the Confederates after their home front began to collapse. And Joseph Glatthaar attends to the critical contribution of African Americans, placing that "at the heart of the Civil War."
This book did a lot to make me re-evaluate my opinions on whether or not the South would have won if they'd had the same resources as the North. According to the essays, the Confederate states lost the war because the Union had key victories, dedicated troops, African Americans, military planning/political necessity, and better generals. And considering my inherent stubbornness, any book that makes me rethink my opinions on anything is worth note. All five writers present their point well, and they all back them up with solid facts. My one quibble has to do with the fact that the overall point of each essay seems to overlap with the others, and by the fifth essay, Glatthaar's "Black Glory," it was all redundant.
I would recommend this book to those who are interested in learning a little more about some of the specifics of the Civil War and its outcome.