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The Civil War Diary of Gideon Welles, Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy: The Original Manuscript Edition (The Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) [Kindle Edition]

Gideon Welles , Willaim E Gienapp , Erica Gienapp

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Book Description

Gideon Welles's 1861 appointment as secretary of the navy placed him at the hub of Union planning for the Civil War and in the midst of the powerful personalities vying for influence in Abraham Lincoln's cabinet. Although Welles initially knew little of naval matters, he rebuilt a service depleted by Confederate defections, planned actions that gave the Union badly needed victories in the war's early days, and oversaw a blockade that weakened the South's economy. Perhaps the hardest-working member of the cabinet, Welles still found time to keep a detailed diary that has become one of the key documents for understanding the inner workings of the Lincoln administration. In this new edition, William E. and Erica L. Gienapp have restored Welles's original observations, gleaned from the manuscript diaries at the Library of Congress and freed from his many later revisions, so that the reader can experience what he wrote in the moment. With his vitriolic pen, Welles captures the bitter disputes over strategy and war aims, lacerates colleagues from Secretary of State William H. Seward to General-in-Chief Henry Halleck, and condemns the actions of the self-serving southern elite he sees as responsible for the war. He can just as easily wax eloquent about the Navy's wartime achievements, extoll the virtues of Lincoln, or drop in a tidbit of Washington gossip. Carefully edited and extensively annotated, this edition contains a wealth of supplementary material. The several appendixes include short biographies of the members of Lincoln's cabinet, the retrospective Welles wrote after leaving office covering the period missing from the diary proper, and important letters regarding naval matters and international law.

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Product Description


"This diary--especially in its original, fresh, unexpurgated form as presented here--is surely one of the most important building blocks for our understanding of the Civil War." --From the Foreword by James M. McPherson, author of War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865 "A must have for any Civil War collection." --Brian Dirck, author of Lincoln and the Constitution

About the Author

William E. Gienapp was a professor of history at Harvard University. He authored Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America and The Origins of the Republican Party, 1852-1856 among other publications. Erica Gienapp earned a degree in history from the University of California at Berkeley.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2770 KB
  • Print Length: 824 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (13 Nov. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,367,619 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I particularly enjoyed the subtle hints starting in December 1863 when Welles ... 8 Feb. 2015
By C. Crane - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gideon Welles's Diary provided much needed insight into the inner workings of the Navy Department and Lincoln's cabinet during the Civil War. As a big Lincoln fan, I particularly enjoyed the subtle hints starting in December 1863 when Welles started to mention that Salmon Chase seldom attended the cabinet meetings prior to his resignation in June 1864. On a more serious note, I truly appreciated that the editors chose to include Welles's entries from the first year in Lincoln's presidency as an appendix since Welles did not start writing his diary until 1862 and the entries for 1861 were written well after they had taken place.
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read. To bad our political leaders do not follow his example. 23 July 2015
By William Hamilton - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This revision is the best I've ever read. The book is very insightful an unmodified. Giddeon' s I sights should be read by every political science majors and are a must for any serious history major. Gideon Welles offers real insight on personal behavior, political behavior, and ethics. It is also a great read for all Navy personal and those who study the Civil war.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 28 Dec. 2014
By CHARLES PROTASIO - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Provides great insight to the inner working of the Lincoln administration.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 Jan. 2015
By Ron Eltzeroth - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most interesting account of the war from a naval perspective.
0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 2 Oct. 2014
By ann greenfield - Published on
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