Embattled Rebel: Jefferson Davis as Commander in Chief by James M. McPherson
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Wow, that was incredibly adequate! If you don't want to be overly impressed with a historical work on the American Civil War, Embattled Rebel is where it's at!
Who wants deep insights, anyhow? I'd rather hear a broad recap of the entire war with the occasional tenuous link to Jefferson Davis' role as President of the Confederate States of America. Sure, James McPherson might've dug deeper to given the reader a more meaningful account of Davis. We might've learned more about the man's motivations. However, McPherson stuck to his guns and kept his subject at a distance. Bravo!
Yes, yes, this was a rather thorough retelling of the Civil War from the South's perspective and I definitely have a better understanding of their strategy as well as Davis' reasoning for the moves he made, but let's be honest, I didn't know jack shit about the South's side of the story prior to reading this book, so anything would've been more than nearly nothing. This was more than nothing.
Very serviceable writing here, as well. I don't recall the last time I read the placing of one word after another in such good order without them venturing into lyrical territory at least once in a while. McPherson laid it out pure and simple. No frills here folks! So few in fact, he might've been writing about the ancient Spartans.