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Dixie Victorious: An Alternate History of the Civil War [Paperback]

Peter G. Tsouras
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

16 Feb 2012
Based on a series of fascinating what ifs posed by leading military historians, this intriguing alternate history reconstructs moments during the American Civil War which could have altered the entire course of the war and led to a Confederate victory. Commencing with real battles, actions and characters, each scenario has been carefully constructed to reveal how at points of decision a different choice or minor incident could have set in motion an entirely new train of events altering history forever. What if Sherman had been stalled outside Atlanta, and Lincoln had lost the crucial 1864 election? Or if Stuart s Cavalry at Gettysburg had arrived in time to give Lee the freedom of operation he lacked in reality? These and many more convincing scenarios are played out against the dramatic and colourful backdrop of this critical and bloody era of American history.


Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline Books (16 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848326335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848326330
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 683,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

This will appeal to historians, re-enactors and wargamers, and will undoubtedly stir up debate amongst expert and amateur Civil War enthusiasts alike. Anyone with even a vague interest in the American Civil War will find this an interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking read, and would not be disappointed in seeking out a copy. --British Army Review

Dixie Victorious is both fascinating and an entertaining read. The latest entry in the Greenhill Alternate History series is highly recommended for the reconstruction of actual historic events to produce speculative alternative results. --Michael Russert in Civil War News

Solid and provocative... This latest entry in a series that s a byword among alternate-history fans succeeds in avoiding white supremacist fantasies and is well up to the very high standard set by earlier entries. --Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter Tsouras is a respected military historian whose books include Disaster at D-Day, The Dictionary of Military Quotations and (as editor and contributor) Rising Sun Victorious and Hitler Triumphant.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
"Dixie Victorious: An Alternative History of the Civil War" is a collection of ten essays imagining how the South could have won the Civil War edited by Peter G. Tsouras, author of several alternative histories including "Gettysburg: An Alternative History." The title, of course, spoils the outcome off all of the essays, but then the appeal here is more argumentative than narrative and the question is whether each author can make a compelling case that tips the delicate balance between military success and failure the other way:
Andrew Uffindell, "'Hell on Earth': Anglo-French Intervention in the Civil War," has the "Trent" incident resulting in Great Britain declaring war against the Union and France following suit. Uffindell comes up with additional reasons for the two nations to fight the war that neither wanted in 1861 to force the North into fighting a war on all fronts.
Wade G. Dudley, "Ships of Iron and Wills of Steel: The Confederate Navy Triumphant," has Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory creating an ironclad navy. Consequently, when the "Monitor" shows up at Hampton Roads it faces not one Confederate ironclad but three and the historical stalemate becomes a decisive Rebel victory.
David M. Keithly, "'What Will the Country Say?': Maryland Destiny," turns Special Order No. 191, which fell into McClellan's hands before the Battle of Antietam, into a "ruse de guerre" as Lee baits a trap to destroy the Army of the Potomac. This one is an interesting twist on history and yet another opportunity to show Lee as being clever and McClellan incompetent, which is almost always fun.
Michael R.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Marshall Lord TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This is a collection of ten essays by historians, mostly military historians, each of which assesses a different means by which the Southern states could have won the U.S. Civil War or, as we would probably be calling it if any of them had come true, the war between the states.

The ten essays do not form a continuous narrative, each of them is an independent counterfactual study of one particular course of events which could have led to the CSA gaining their independence.

These range from the diplomatic - the first essay by British historian Andrew Uffindell points out how easily the "Trent" incident could have led to British and French military intervention on the side of the south - through the political - e.g. if McLennan's Democrats had won the 1864 U.S. election - to the options for Southern military victory on land or at sea.

Perhaps the most interesting is the essay which the editor, Colonel Tsouras, contributed himself, on what might have happened if the confederacy had offered freedom to black slaves who enlisted in the Rebel Army in January 1864 when the outcome of the war was still in doubt, instead of 1865 when it was obvious that the South was going to lose and the slaves would get their freedom anyway.

Thes essays will be of most interest to the reader who already has a fair degree of familiarity with the real history of the US civil war, but it is not absolutely essential to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of actual events to appreciate the book. Each essay concludes with a section called "The reality" which explains how the counterfactual story presented diverges from actual history.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written counterfactuals 29 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There were, according to the introduction, several points in the American Civil war where, with different decisions or circumstances, the South might have won a battle that in reality it lost that could have changed the whole outcome of the war. Each of these is explored by a military historian in well described and plausible detail. At the end of each chapter a note is made of what really happened, allowing us to see that indeed the outcomes of the encounter could quite easily be different. Whether one of the battles being won by the South could alone have changed the course of the whole war is more doubtful I feel. Of more interest to me would have been a consideration of the nature and development of an independent Confederate States of America and how the subsequent history of America and the world might have worked out, but this is not the subject of the book.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
as a total novice to anglo-american history i was slightly at a loss as to what really happened and the short precis at the end didnt really help. Ive later read other books on what actually happened- and this book makes a lot more sense since. There are a lot of what ifs and if onlys, but personally i'd prefer to dwell on reality. Good read though, very entertaining.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten provocative alternative histories where the South wins 9 Jun 2004
By Lawrance M. Bernabo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Dixie Victorious: An Alternative History of the Civil War" is a collection of ten essays imagining how the South could have won the Civil War edited by Peter G. Tsouras, author of several alternative histories including "Gettysburg: An Alternative History." The title, of course, spoils the outcome off all of the essays, but then the appeal here is more argumentative than narrative and the question is whether each author can make a compelling case that tips the delicate balance between military success and failure the other way:
Andrew Uffindell, "'Hell on Earth': Anglo-French Intervention in the Civil War," has the "Trent" incident resulting in Great Britain declaring war against the Union and France following suit. Uffindell comes up with additional reasons for the two nations to fight the war that neither wanted in 1861 to force the North into fighting a war on all fronts.
Wade G. Dudley, "Ships of Iron and Wills of Steel: The Confederate Navy Triumphant," has Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory creating an ironclad navy. Consequently, when the "Monitor" shows up at Hampton Roads it faces not one Confederate ironclad but three and the historical stalemate becomes a decisive Rebel victory.
David M. Keithly, "'What Will the Country Say?': Maryland Destiny," turns Special Order No. 191, which fell into McClellan's hands before the Battle of Antietam, into a "ruse de guerre" as Lee baits a trap to destroy the Army of the Potomac. This one is an interesting twist on history and yet another opportunity to show Lee as being clever and McClellan incompetent, which is almost always fun.
Michael R. Hathaway, "When the Bottom Fell Out: The Crisis of 1862," revisits Lee's first invasion of the North and has the Confederate general avoiding hurting himself when he was thrown by his horse the day after the second battle of Manassas. Overall I tend to like the essays where the key change is rather simple, which is what Hathaway does by having Lee free from pain and clear headed during his first invasion of the North.
James R. Arnold, "'We Will Water our Horses in the Mississippi': A.S. Johnston vs. U.S. Grant," has Albert Sidney Johnston's life being saved by a tourniquet at the Battle of Shiloh. The South still loses on the second day, but Jefferson Davis is able to put Johnston back in command of Confederate forces in the West during the siege of Vicksburg. Clearly the idea here is insert Johnston back into the war in the western theater at the point where Davis most felt his loss, which explains why Shiloh remains a Confederate defeat.
Edward G. Longacre, "'Absolutely Essential to Victory': Stuart's Calvary in the Gettysburg-Pipe Creek Campaigns," has the Confederate cavalry keeping in contact with Lee during the second invasion of the North. The Battle of Pipe Creek replaces that of the historical Battle of Gettysburg. Those who have read the alternative history "Gettysburg" by Newt Gingrich and William R. Fortschen will find this essay of more than passing interest since it shares the belief that there was a Confederate victory to be had in Lee's second invasion of the North, but not at Gettysburg itself.
John D. Burtt, "Moves to Great Advantage: Longstreet vs. Grant in the West," finds Braxton Bragg being wounded and James Longstreet taking command of the Army of Tennessee and fighting Grant. Longstreet had agreed to go west so that he could have an independent command, and Burtt's essay argues out a best case scenario for what he could have accomplished, although his aggressiveness might strike many as being beyond his nature.
Peter G. Tsouras, "Confederate Black and Gray: A Revolution in the Minds of Men," has Jefferson Davis seizing the opportunity afforded by Major General Pat Cleburne's Manifesto to give the South's slaves an opportunity to earn their freedom by fighting for the Confederacy. This one has the advantage of taking actions the Confederacy was eventually compelled to do, and moving them forward to a time when it might have actually helped the Southern cause.
Cyril M. Lagvanec, "Decision in the West: Turning Point in the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy," has Kirby Smith taking back Arkansas and Missouri in 1864, as David Dixon Porter's Mississippi Squadron falls victim to its commander's greed for captured cotton. I had the most problems with this scenario because I am not inclined to think that the Union would have reduced its overwhelming number advantages in Virginia and Tennessee-Georgia to make up for setbacks in Louisiana, thereby setting up a domino of effects.
Kevin F. Kiley, "Terrible as an Army with Banners: Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley," basically has Phil Sheridan's ride failing to reverse the Union's fortunes after Early's attack in the Valley. Kiley also finds an opportunity to remove a major obstacle to a Southern victory with a single bullet, which I have to admit was a card I thought would be played more often in these essays.
In most of these essays the Confederacy does not win the war militarily, but rather a pivotal military victory (or combination of victories) tips the delicate balance and gives the South a political victory (e.g., McClellan defeats Lincoln in the 1864 election). All of these essays are presented as the work of military historians in an alternative reality. Each has footnotes documenting sources, with those from fictional sources noted with an * (Lagvanec is the farthest over the rainbow with all of his notes for his Trans-Mississippi essay having asterisks).
Readers will know exactly what they are getting with "Dixie Victorious," so those who are offended by "What If" stories in general and those in which the South wins the Civil War in particular can stay far away. The idea here is to be provocative and to come up with diverse scenarios for this to happen, and in that regard this collection is successful. Students of the Civil War will find a lot to argue about in these pages.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking alternative history 3 Sep 2004
By Edison McIntyre - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I recently asked a friend of mine, another Civil War buff (and a Southerner of Confederate heritage, like myself), if he had read this book. No, he allowed, he'd heard of it but was turned off by the prospect of reading something that celebrated secession and the defense of slavery that we both see as having been the core values of the Confederacy.

That sensibility is understandable, but if you are reticent about buying or reading some Southern nationalist fantasy that presents Confederate victory and independence as the desirable outcome of the Civil War, you need not fear "Dixie Victorious." At least one of the ten contributors (Wade G. Dudley) states bluntly that one should be thankful his scenario of Confederate triumph did not come to pass. "[Confederate] victory would have meant the continuation of the institution of slavery, an institution that the South would not have willingly abandoned for generations (if at all)." On the other hand, contributor Kevin F. Kiley projects Virginia's abolition of slavery in 1870 and the Confederacy's total abandonment of the "peculiar institution" by 1900, following the fictional death of Lincoln and the electoral defeat of the Republican administration in 1864. And Tsouras himself portrays a drastic transformation of Southern (and Northern) race relations following a Southern victory brought about in large part by the Confederacy's (fictional) decision in 1864 to enlist black combat troops into its armies. (That official decision actually was made less than a month before Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, far too late to affect the overall outcome of the war.) But there is no overall sense in this collection that a Confederate victory would have been for the best.

Mostly, the contributors to "Dixie Victorious" concentrate on the military impacts of some relatively small changes in the historical record - e.g., the immediate presence of Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston's personal physician at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862 saves the general from bleeding to death (as he actually did, because no one was around to put a tourniquet on his leg wound). James R. Arnold conjectures that Johnston's survival at Shiloh enabled him to lead the (fictionalized) campaign that saved Vicksburg for the Confederacy a year later. David M. Keithly and Michael R. Hathaway both offer counterfactual outcomes of Lee's 1862 invasion of Maryland (that actually ended with a nominal Union victory at Antietam) that lead to Confederate victory in the war. Among the most interesting scenarios are Dudley's depiction of the triumph of Rebel ironclads over the Union blockade in the spring of 1862 and Cyril M. Lagvanec's fictionalized account of the 1864 Red River campaign in Louisiana. The latter was in fact a Union fiasco, but Lagvanec argues that a few little twists could have made this often-ignored event the turning point of the war and a key to Confederate victory.

The contributors also are allowed to have some fun. Each historian presents an authentic bibliography, but the endnotes for most chapters are a mixture of actual sources and some provocatively fanciful ones ("From Manassas to Manila Bay: The Campaigns of James Ewell Brown Stuart").

The real purpose of such conjectures, as Tsouras points out, is to emphasize just how close the Confederacy came to winning the war -- how a relatively minor incident (e.g., Lee's actual injury just prior to the Maryland invasion in 1862) might have had major consequences. (MacKinlay Kantor posited just two alterations of fact to change the course of history in "If the South Had Won the Civil War," which presents a more thorough projection of the aftermath of Confederate victory.) For those who are already familiar with the actual military and political courses of the Civil War, "Dixie Victorious" is not just an amusement. The book illuminates the issues of these Civil War campaigns and encourages new ways of viewing them. It's well worth your time.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars And the South wins, again and again and again... 9 Jan 2009
By Mark Giordano - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
_Dixie Victorious_ is an intriguing exploration of alternative outcomes for the American Civil War. Peter Tsouras compiled several well-researched essays from learned historians, many who have contributed to his other alternate history collections which focus on other interesting periods, such as World War II and the Cold War. The articles begin with varying amounts of historically accurate events surrounding a key battle or political decision, then, following a key change of mind or plan, they launch into the course of the alternative path as if it had truly occurred, including footnotes and references to imaginary texts published in the alternate "present" world where the South had won. This unusual and clever feature works with varying success, depending on the author: some used the footnotes well in including additional details within and beyond their subject, while others left me doubting the accuracy of the notes to actual references used. The counterfactual essays finish with a feature I found particularly helpful: an account of what actually happened at the time and discussion comparing the two. There are some basic but well done line-drawing maps illustrating the articles too, which I particularly enjoyed in their simple but elegant design.

I came upon this book after reading _The Confederate States of America: What Might Have Been_ which was so well written, it left me wanting more. I've always been fascinated with the Civil War and war gaming as well; rereading rules of a Civil War oriented board game led me to search out books on the subject to teach me possible strategies in playing. I didn't quite find what I was looking for despite the wealth of information contained in the book. For example, the authors go into detailed categorization of the order of battle of involved military units, and the course of action each pursued in battle. Perhaps I'm not enough of a grognard to appreciate such specifics. Military historians will likely enjoy this depth of detail, but I found it wearing after a while.

If you're a historian or history buff looking for subject material for writing a paper on different outcomes for the Civil War, then this is the book for you. If you're like me, more a general enthusiast who prefers history books that cover a wider range of sub-topics such as politics or social issues, you might get more out of _The Confederate States of America: What Might Have Been_, by Roger Ransom, which addresses economical and political issues surrounding the Civil War as much as the military outcomes. Military history aficionados will have much here to enjoy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Civil War Book 5 Mar 2013
By L. Ferrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My husband enjoyed reading this book. It was bought as a present for him so that is all that matters.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tsouras gives another terrific analysis of war 22 Oct 2012
By Jawna Prieto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Peter's other book, "Third Reich Victorious" was a terrific work of strategic warfare analysis, and this one does the South's efforts justice. If Tsouras had been a Staff officer to Lee, the South may have been victorious.

as an ex-military intel analyst, I can say: read this. these types of analyses are rare.
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