- Hardcover: 127 pages
- Publisher: Forge; 1 edition (Nov. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312865538
- ISBN-13: 978-0312865535
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.7 x 22 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,818,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
If the South Had Won the Civil War Hardcover – 1 Nov 2001
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About the Author
MacKinley Kantor was born in Webster City, Iowa, on February 4, 1904. In 1934, he published "Long Remember, " which received numerous rave reviews and became his first bestseller. Ten years later, Kantor was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel Andersonville. He was one of the most well-known American writers during the 1950s and still remains one of the most respected Civil War authors to date. He died on October 11, 1977. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Kantor takes the long view of what happens next: Texas breaks away from the Confederacy, the three nations fight together in various wars, while various generals become presidents of their respective countries. Ultimately Kantor's focus is more on the future of these Americans than the specifics of how the South actually wins the war. As far as Kantor is concerned the road not taken still produces a unified United States in the end. Consequently, "If the South Had Won the Civil War" is more a personal rumination along these lines than a scholarly argument. However, you have to appreciate his choice of the pivotal event, especially since he was writing at a time when it was pretty much gospel that the Confederacy's best chance was Pickett's Charge on the final day of Gettysburg.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In 1885, the CSA bans slavery.
The three nations form an alliance for World War 1 and 2. By 1960, talk begins to reunify the three nations.
What I enjoyed here was the end of slavery by the CSA. The hate toward blacks was intensified by Reconstruction after the real Civil War. When slavery ended through peace (as in England and many other nations), race relations were established on better terms. The forced integration of the South has led to many evils toward minorities.
Overall this was very interesting to read.
The details of this alternate history are astonishing, although possibly not surprising, as Kantor touches on relations between the United and Confederate States, the further secession of Texas, and combined efforts in the two World Wars. Slavery, as it turns out, was abolished within a few decades, and while African-Americans did not achieve full equality, they also did not suffer through Jim Crow, lynching, and other forms of overt repression, based on the theory that since emancipation was not forced on the slave states, the resulting animosity never developed. Kantor, unfortunately, spends little time on the westward expansion, and does not mention the treatment of the Native Americans, other than describing the Confederate annexation of Indian Territory. We also hear of "Russian America," which eventually poses an existential threat to the three American countries, but not much beyond that. The book ends on a hopeful note of reunification. It's telling to contrast Kantor's positive outlook with that in Kevin Wilmott's mocumentary CSA: The Confederate States of America, that imagines a worldwide expansion of racism and slavery that follows a Confederate victory.
According to the afterword, Kantor wrote this book at the behest of Look Magazine executive editor Daniel Mich, who urged him to take a break from the novel he was working on at the time, Spirit Lake, a story of the events around the last attack by the Lakota on settlers in Iowa in 1857. Kantor provides an explanation for the choices made in his alternate Civil War; apparently, the pivotal history-changing events came very close to actually taking place. It's possible that his eagerness to get back to "Spirit Lake" led him to write "If the South Had Won the Civil War" as a summary rather than a full-length novel. The concept certainly has enough merit to justify a longer treatment. Nevertheless, Kantor's engaging writing style is on full display, holding the reader's interest through sections that would not be out of place in a military history textbook.
Slavery and its aftermath arguably constitute the central narrative of the United States, a narrative whose repercussions are still playing out today. A country founded on the premise of liberty and justice for all has often fallen short of fulfilling that ideal for all of its inhabitants. Both entertaining and thought-provoking, "If the South Had Won the Civil War" is a fascinating addition to this discussion.
If Pres. Lincoln had lived, many of the problems in America today which resulted from revenge on the South would never have occurred.