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The Confederate States of America: What Might Have Been Hardcover – 17 Jun 2005

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Hardcover, 17 Jun 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st Edition edition (17 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393059677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393059670
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 721,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Roger L. Ransom is professor of history and economics at the University of California, Riverside. He is coauthor of the groundbreaking work One Kind of Freedom: The Economic Consequences of Emancipation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good idea behind the book. It is fairly well written, although not "light reading" which is the reason I have given only 3 stars.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.8 out of 5 stars 29 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars but the author makes some excellent points concerning how wealthy the South (and Southerners) were ... 3 Jun. 2016
By Douglas - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The so-called futuristic view is not very goo, but the author makes some excellent points concerning how wealthy the South (and Southerners) were compared to the North in 1860.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Hurrah? 2 Sept. 2005
By Joseph R. Goldman - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a solid, well-thought out "what might have been" study that goes beyond the sensational or the mythical. Here the reader is treated to the political history of the Confederate States of America as it might evolve. Almost 50 years ago McKinley Kantor penned one of the best pioneering works on the question "what if the South won in 1865?" (he has the North and South reunited by 1915 in the face of WWI and the growing threat to both side-by-side Americas); it also was an excellent political and military "first cut" to a fascinating subject not only for Civil War buffs but any one interested in "Alternative History".

Ransom's book is plausible in its projections based on the facts of the early formation and struggle by the CSA to become independent. He provides controversial thinking on what might happen if the CSA were successful, but his line of reasoning is what makes the book engaging and thoughtful. Ransom writes a good read, and the scholarship is of the quality to be quoted in other similar, high-quality studies.

Joseph Richard Goldman
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A broad sketch of economic trends, not an alternate history 12 Dec. 2010
By Norman Brenner - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two thirds of the book revisits the American Civil War and indicates how the South might have survived. In the West, Albert Sidney Johnston, wounded rather than killed at Shiloh, battles Grant to a draw. In the East, Lee attacks Cemetery Hill on the first day and wins the battle of Gettysburg. The military stalemate in 1864 costs Lincoln the election, and the Democrats end the war by granting the South its independence. So far, so familiar. In the last part of the book, Professor Ransom is more creative by examining the economic trends of the real post-war world to predict what, in very broad terms, the history of the early Confederacy might have been. Post 1865, Europe in our world developed alternate sources of cotton in Egypt and India, breaking the near-monopoly that the ante-bellum South had held. Also, he assumes that the pre-war exhaustion of the soil would have continued, and would have required the application of costly chemical fertilizers. Both factors would have led to a plateauing if not a decline in the cotton-derived income of the Confederacy, leading in turn to a drop in the price of slaves. The Confederacy, he contends, could not have emulated the North in industrial development because its capital was tied up in land and slaves and because it had no large urban markets to sell to, unlike the North. Therefore, he predicts that within a few decades, the largest slaveowners would press their government for compensated manumission, i.e. that the government should buy their slaves before the latter's value sank even further. Combined with international pressure, this would force the Confederate government to abolish slavery but then replace it by social controls like the Jim Crow statutes of our world's South. This last chapter, schematic and undetailed as it is, was the most interesting part of the book to me, as it emphasized the likely supremacy of economic factors over ideological ones.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 21 May 2014
By rich - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Whole Picture 7 May 2013
By Bugwar - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Did a good job of bringing the probable effects of real world developments in social, political, and economic issues on the future development of the Confederacy.
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