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Battle Tactics of the Civil War (Yale Nota Bene) [Paperback]

Paddy Griffith
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 2001 Yale Nota Bene
In Battle Tactics of the Civil War, Paddy Griffith argues that, far from being the first 'modern' war, it was the last 'Napoleonic' war, and that none of the innovations of industrialized warfare had any significant effect on the outcome. "Provocative, challenging and intelligent. Griffith's knowledge of military history in general from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries is so wide and deep that he is able to put the Civil War into a broader context more effectively and informatively than anyone else". (James M McPherson, author of Battle Cry for Freedom).
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300084617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300084610
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 12.6 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,448,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Provides a fresh and provocative appraisal of the war ... an essential read for anyone interested in the subject. Military Illustrated A prize. One gets a feeling of how nineteenth-century battle worked. I highly recommend it. -- Paul A Koch The Courier --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Paddy Griffith studied battle tactics in many major conflicts and wrote extensively on military subjects. He was senior lecturer in war studies at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It does seem to be the case that tactical attacks in the Civil War attained their local objectives rather less frequently than those of Napoleonic times,1 although that does not necessarily mean that they were less useful in determining the final result of hanks or campaigns. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An important, but flawed analysis 7 April 1998
By A Customer
Mr. Griffith provides an important counterpoint to the common assumption that the Civil War was vastly different than the preceding wars of the 19th century. However, he commits the same offense of convenient oversight of those with whom he disagrees.
His argument that the war was the last Napoleonic war rather than the first modern war is extreme. The Civil War was a turning point between the two military eras and, therefore, had elements of both.
Ultimately, the conclusion I drew from his book is that he feels that the Civil War was conducted and fought by fools. One might construct a balanced viewpoint by reading Griffith's book and Archer Jones' "Civil War Command & Strategy". However, I see no adequate resolution to the strongly opposed arguments of the two books.
I'm still looking for a comprehensive and level analysis of Civil War tactics and strategy. In the meantime, despite its flaws, I feel that this book is a worthwhile and important source of information and analysis on the subject.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The most original Civil War book I've read for a good while...and I read quite a few. Not simply a treatise on tactics, the author attempts to prove that the American Civil War was *not* the first "modern" war that most historians casually credit it as being. Rather, Mr. Griffith takes the stand that although technology had evolved in the 45 years since the Napoleonic age, battle tactics hadn't and wouldn't substantially until the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. His revisionist views on the effect of technology (How could the rifled musket be credited for a military revolution simply by the potential to hit aimed targets farther if its users insisted on closing to within 100 yards or less of each other?), tactical thinking in both armies and the role of the lesser recognised artillery and cavalry arms are backed by a substantial amount of primary-source data. He presents and attempts to prove a good case. Whether you agree with Mr. Griffith's thesis or not, his book gives the reader a new perspective to evaluate other Civil War historian's efforts that I appreciate immensely.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Griffith agrues very persuasively that the Civil War was not the "first modern war," but rather a continuation of the Naploenic tradition. This book details his research and conclusions. If you wan a brief overview, I highly reccommend the 48 page 1986 "Battle in the Civil War: Generalship and Tactics in America" ISBN 1-869871-00-6. You will find many of the same conclusions very succinctly stated. I have found both books invaluable for designing realistic Civil War simulations.
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