Books by Steven E. Woodworth

Released: Nov. 4, 2010

"An approach that will appeal mostly to readers of military history."
Woodworth (History/Texas Christian Univ.; Sherman: Lessons in Leadership, 2009, etc.) examines the political and military conflicts that accompanied the westward flow in the 1840s and exacerbated hostilities between the North and South. Read full book review >
SHERMAN by Steven E. Woodworth
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

"A crisp assessment of a warrior who perfected the doctrine of striking at the enemy's economic resources and will to resist, making the South so sick of war 'that generations would pass away before they would again appeal to it.'"
A fast-paced look at the military career of Grant's most trusted, effective subordinate, the latest from the publisher's handy Great Generals Series. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 2001

"A superior example of unit history, which provides an almost inexhaustible treasure trove for history buffs because each regiment fought the same war, but each underwent a unique experience."
The story of a Confederate regiment, from the naïve enthusiasm of its muster in 1861 to its dissolution after the bitter surrender at Appomattox. Read full book review >
Released: April 8, 1999

A wide-ranging look at various Civil War generals and their defeats, as well as their places in the accepted Civil War history, edited by Texas Christian University historian Woodworth (Six Armies in Tennessee: The Chickamauga and Chattanooga Campaigns, 1998). Woodworth's contributors, academics from throughout the US, look at how and why a variety of Northern and Southern generals were defeated and what those defeats did to their military careers. The generals studied, including such notables as Albert Sidney Johnston, Joe Hooker, and George B. McClellan, are all considered "capable failures," with excellent prewar reputations and whose defeats make them ripe for analytical study. Essays cover such ground as "In Defense of Joe Hooker," "Misused Merit: The Tragedy of Joh Pemberton," and "If Properly Led: Command Relationships at Gettysburg," a look at both Northern and Southern commands. Throughout the volume, the guiding idea is to look at what exactly constituted failure and how hindsight has shaped our perceptions of them, notably in the case of Hooker. Stephen Sears looks at Hooker's famous loss of nerve at the battle of Chancellorsville and debunks the myth of a post-battle confession by Hooker to Abner Doubleday that he lost faith in himself. Sears looks at the details of that reported conversation and determines that it could not have taken place, thus altering the historical record. Although it doesn—t change what took place at Chancellorsville, it certainly does change history's perception of Hooker and casts him in a far better light. As in many edited volumes, writing quality and style vary from piece to piece, but overall, Woodworth offers a worthy look at Civil War command by looking at the losers. (History Book Club alternate selection) Read full book review >
Released: March 25, 1998

A narrative history of crucial Civil War operations in the West after Grant's great victories at Vicksburg and Fort Donaldson in July 1863. Woodworth (History/Texas Christian Univ.) traces how several bloody campaigns, marked by serious blunders on both sides, helped seal the Confederacy's fate. The Union Army of the Cumberland, under the command of General William S. Rosecrans, a neurotic, slow-moving perfectionist, were under orders to seize Chattanooga, a city important both because it served as a Confederate rail center (and the area around it was a breadbasket for Confederate forces) and because it guarded the path to Atlanta and the deep South. Opposing Rosecrans was Braxton Bragg, in charge of the Army of Tennessee. Bragg was particularly unpopular, and his command was frequently hamstrung by dissension. The opposing armies, maneuvering in an immense mountainous and forested area, were intermittently crippled by a lack of intelligence and by the difficulty of moving large numbers of troops over inhospitable terrain. Woodworth offers some convincing portraits of Rosecrans, Bragg, and their officers, and catches with great clarity the nature of the deadly chess game the armies were engaged in. Rosecrans's errors led to a Union defeat at Chickamauga, costly for both sides, after which both armies were reinforced. General Longstreet joined Bragg, bringing elements of the Army of Northern Virginia, and deepening the professional jealousy that kept threatening to dissipate Confederate successes. Union forces were bolstered by the arrival of the armies of Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan, all talented, aggressive fighters. Pressured by Lincoln, the Union forces finally captured Chattanooga, inflicting another humiliating setback on the Confederates and opening up the path for Sherman's march to Atlanta and the sea. A fine analysis of strategic and tactical operations, stressing the influence of commanders on the success, or failure, of their armies, while not losing sight of the grim experience of war for frontline troops. (4 photos, 6 maps, 5 engravings, not seen) Read full book review >