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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ten provocative alternative histories where the South wins
"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...
Published on 9 Jun 2004 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars very interesting but you need to know real history first!
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.
Published on 9 April 2007 by M. Notman


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23 of 23 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 (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
"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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ten counterfactual essays: how the South could have won, 17 Nov 2011
By 
Marshall Lord (Whitehaven, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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. There is an amusing set of real and counterfactual footnotes and references for each essay, with the ones which are not real in our Universe marked out with an asterisk!

This is an interesting and well argued collection of essays which will make any reader who had been under the impression that a Northern victory in the civil war was inevitable think again. I still think that the massively superior resources of the USA made it the North's war to lose, but this book shows that this is not the whole story.

This book shows that, while Union generals and politicians made plenty of costly mistakes, they avoided all those which would have fatally blown their side's chance of winning, and there were quite a few of them: similarly, while the Rebels' military and political campaigns were often a miracle of improvisation, they had a number of chances for victory and missed them all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written counterfactuals, 29 Jun 2012
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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
3.0 out of 5 stars very interesting but you need to know real history first!, 9 April 2007
By 
M. Notman "northernfag" (sheffield uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dixie Victorious: An Alternate History of the Civil War (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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Dixie Victorious: An Alternate History of the Civil War
Dixie Victorious: An Alternate History of the Civil War by Peter Tsouras (Paperback - 15 May 2006)
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