THE CIVIL WAR IN THE AMERICAN WEST by Alvin M. Josephy

THE CIVIL WAR IN THE AMERICAN WEST

KIRKUS REVIEW

 A thorough but disappointing assessment of the Civil War as waged west of the Mississippi, by Native-American specialist Josephy (Now That the Buffalo's Gone, 1982; The Indian Heritage of America, 1968), who skillfully weaves an impressive knowledge of tribal encounters into the larger fabric of conflict between North and South. The battles of the West were fought not only by Union and Confederate forces but by whites and Indians as well, continuing the pattern of violence that characterized the American policy of Manifest Destiny from its inception. Discussions of various maneuvers in the territories and western states, from unsuccessful efforts by Texans to annex the areas of Arizona and New Mexico, to genocidal campaigns directed against tribes in the Rocky Mountains and Northern Plains, to an intense and protracted struggle over Indian Territory in which many members of the Five Civilized Tribes were forced to take sides--all reveal the extensive role that Apaches, Shoshonis, Sioux, Cherokees, and others had in the war. Bungled Union efforts to seize badly needed cotton regions in Texas or a more successful campaign to wrest control of the Mississippi River from the South indicate that not all western conflicts involved Indians, but even so their presence as a bellicose third party had a pronounced impact on the distribution of forces and resources for both sides. While meticulous in detailing troop movements, statistics, and strategy, as history this falls consistently short of providing an overview, and sticks closely to facts and personalities without drawing substantive conclusions. Competent and informative as far as it goes, but a definitive account of the West and the Civil War remains to be written. (Twenty maps.)

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1991
ISBN: 0-394-56482-0
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1991




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