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William Peynsaert

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The South Vs. The South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War
The South Vs. The South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War
von William W. Freehling
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 17,12

3.0 von 5 Sternen Five things I like about this book, 7. Dezember 2014
5 things I like about this book:

1. It comes with very good statistics showing the internal division of the South
2. It explains how the most important city in the South was Baltimore, industrially, economically, and that Baltimore, apart from some token resistance at the start of the conflict, was very much pro-northern. It was a city where slavery was legal, but, the city had more economical ties with the north and so, it didn't fight for the Confederacy. It's pretty obvious that if Maryland had seceded Washington would have been in a very difficult position. I didn't know how industrialized Baltimore was, nor did I know it was so vital in producing rolling stock, railways, etc.
3. It gives a good idea of the difficulties the north faced in conquering a territory as vast as the Confederacy. Sometimes people think the North had it pretty easy, having such an overwhelming advantage in industry and manpower. Freehling points out that the north's task was actually quite daunting and that without substantial support of lots and lots of southerns it might have proved impossible to accomplish
4. It gives a lot of attention to Cleburne's (and others') proposal to arm the slaves and enlist them in the Confederate armies. This debate clearly shows that it is highly unlikely that negroes fought for the Confederacy, barring a couple that picked up a rifle in the heat of the moment, it's highly unlikely blacks went into battle on the Confederate side.
5. It points out the flawed Confederate strategy that led to the loss of Kentucky and a large chunk of Tennessee, undermining the Confederate war effort right from the start

Why I give three stars: the narrative makes some strange turns here and there which makes it hard to follow. Also: Even though lots of southeners sided with the North I still think the Confederacy could have won the war.

My biggest problem with the book is that it doesn't link support for the South to the success or faillure of its armies. I'm convinced that more border south whites would have sided with the Confederacy if the Confederacy had been more succesful. I don't agree that the Confederates did a pretty good job in holding off the north for 4 years. I think their war effort was a dismal affair, even though they seem to have had the better lower ranking officers and the better soldiers. Strategically they made mistake after mistake. The Confederates made stupendous mistakes right from the start, leading to the loss of Kentucky, a large part of Tennessee, and often passed over too lightly: the loss of New Orleans (I suggest the book 'The night the war was lost', available on Amazon). If the South had avoided such terrible blunders, I think more border southeners would have 'rallied to the cause'. Border states were lukewarm from the start and were very reluctant to join the Confederacy. Those who sympathized with the South, but never enlisted, didn't enlist because they had the strong impression that the effort was doomed from the start. They didn't want to risk it. He could have given a bit more attention to Confederates deserting in droves, mainly because they were starving and wanted to protect their families at home.

As for Lincoln, I think he was a very cunning politician, who was deeply opposed to slavery, every time he publicly suggested otherwise was to manipulate unionist southeners. I think he had a plan all along to limit slavery and when he later on saw his chance to end slavery, he did so. Instead of rushing headlong to abolish slavery, he waited for the right moment.

All in all, this book is above average and should be included in any civil war library.


Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam
Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam

3.0 von 5 Sternen The battle of Antietam comes alive, but few 'what ifs' are covered, 7. Dezember 2014
Sears is a very good writer, he writes in a pleasant, fluent style, not too flowery, and not too dry either. It's very detailed, you'll be aware of every movement of every part of both armies. If you don't have google maps open while reading this book, you'll have trouble following the campaign, because the few maps that are included here are nearly invisible to the naked eye.

My problem with this book -but perhaps I'm being too demanding- is that it doesn't explore enough other options.

What if Lee and Bragg had united and invaded Ohio in the fall of 1862? They had the benefit of interior lines there I think, unless Buel could be easily sent to McClellan by rail. The book does explain why Lee decided to stand and fight, but it doesn't really discus if that was such a good idea or not. Personally I think it was a huge mistake to give McClellan battle at Sharpsburg, even with the benefit of hindsight. It also doesn't explain why he didn't entrench. Why don't we see the sort of fortifications Lee's army habitually threw up in 1864 in 1862? There may very well be a good reason for it, but I don't see it at present, the book doesn't explore that. Lee makes use of the natural defensive lay of the land, but I don't think he has his men dig in.

The lost order was certainly a huge advantage to McClellan, I have the impression that without the lost order McClellan would have let Lee camp in Maryland, possibly Pennsylvania, perhaps indefinitely until he had enough stuff prepared for a siege, eventually Lee would have attacked McClellan, sickeningly aggressive as Lee was, which would surely have come at great casualties to Lee, but might have left McClellan reeling back, always believing himself to be outnumbered like during the sevend days.

It's a good book, I enjoyed reading it, except where it goes into every little detail about which regiment moved where, other civil war buffs will certainly like this, but I prefer analysis to a detailed description of the flow of battle, but it was interesting nonetheless. The focus is mostly on McCellan, his acts and decisions are described, the theory that he was for a limited war, protecting slavery and being soft on the south is offered, his fear of faillure is clearly there, but isn't really explained. McCellan was a very talented man who was his own worst enemy.

Particularly interesting was that Lee wanted to recross into Maryland at Williamsport, but that his army balked at the idea, it was simply too tired.

I'm giving three stars, because it's not one of those civil war books that I'd like to reread or that really sheds new light on the conflict. Perhaps it deserves four. I'm sure that Sears is the leading expert on McClellan. I've also ordered Sears' book on Chancellorsville and his book on Gettysburg through Amazon. I like his style, his books are an easy read, sort of read like novels. I would be a bigger fan if more analysis was offered.

So in short, if you want to have a clear picture of how the Maryland campaign of '62 was conducted, especially from the Northern perspective, than this is the book for you.


Love's Executioner: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy
Love's Executioner: And Other Tales of Psychotherapy
von Irvin D. Yalom
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 11,40

5.0 von 5 Sternen Can I give six stars?, 19. November 2014
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
There's no better way to learn how therapy works than to start reading Yalom's books, fiction and non-fiction. Every story teaches you about as much as a good sized study book will.


The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
von Olivia Fox Cabane
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 11,49

3.0 von 5 Sternen You'll learn something, but do you really need this book?, 19. November 2014
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
The book offers a very interesting view of what charisma actually is, how you can learn it, and how you can 'work it up' yourself. The book's message could have been explained in something like ten pages. I read the whole thing and felt a bit cheated for investing my time in such a fairly simple message. If you can't find a good summary on the internet and you are dying to know more about this topic, then ok, go for it.


Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
von Robert T. Kiyosaki
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,92

4.0 von 5 Sternen Very sound advice, 19. November 2014
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
To be summed up as: Grow your asset column. Oh, and owning your own house is not an asset, it's a liability.

the book punctures some holes in a lot of oft repeated 'wisdom'. His view on education is great. His career advice is excellent.


Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Series)
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Series)
von Richard Carlson
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 11,45

2.0 von 5 Sternen So so..., 19. November 2014
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
A very easy read, some good reminders, some good advice. There are much better books out there. Most books by Tony Robbins for example. If you want to read some fairly ok advice in a very light style, then go ahead and read it. Won't hurt. Though there's better material out there for your money.


The Strangest Secret
The Strangest Secret

2.0 von 5 Sternen We become what we think, 19. November 2014
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Strangest Secret (Taschenbuch)
There's nothing more to it. No need to buy it, unless you absolutely need to have it in print. You can listen to the message on YouTube, and that will be just as effective.


The Firm
The Firm
von John Grisham
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 6,00

5.0 von 5 Sternen Live in the skin of a young hot shot lawyer for 400+ pages, 19. November 2014
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: The Firm (Taschenbuch)
A few pages into this novel and you'll be feeling, living and thinking like the main character. Even his stamina and crazy work ethic gets glued onto you. I saw the movie first, the book has a very different plot from the movie, so, if you happened to see the movie first, you can still read the book and enjoy it very much. The details make this novel come alive. You will root for the main characters (Mitch and his wife) and perhaps even feel a little sorry for some of the bad guys. Plus, you'll learn a lot about the world of tax lawyers, which is far from a boring subject, thanks to this novel.


April 1865: The Month That Saved America (P.S.)
April 1865: The Month That Saved America (P.S.)
von Jay Winik
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 12,20

5.0 von 5 Sternen A very insightful book, 19. November 2014
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
I have been a civil war buff practically all my life, but this book still managed to widen my perspective on the conflict. It's written with very vivid detail, it explains what a potentially fatal catastrophes the killing of the president plus the attacks on members of his cabinet were. You also get a very good idea of Lee's situation in the Petersburg trenches and his options when he pulled out. Very interesting is Grant's view of the matter who was sure that if he were Lee he could have gotten away with at least part of his army. The language is very beautiful, the reading is smooth. You won't be dissapointed by this one.


Psycho-Cybernetics
Psycho-Cybernetics
von Maxwell Maltz
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 5,80

4.0 von 5 Sternen Your self-image produces your reality, 19. November 2014
Verifizierter Kauf(Was ist das?)
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Psycho-Cybernetics (Taschenbuch)
If you can change your self-image, you will ultimately change your interactions with your environment and your reality, which will then in turn strenghten your new self-image. Highly recommended. It's up to us to mold our self-image, and to a large extent the reality we live in. I know this message gets repeated over and over again in a different package, but this one is a classic, and deservedly so.


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