- Hardcover: 300 pages
- Publisher: Greenhill Books; First edition (Jan. 1 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1853675954
- ISBN-13: 978-1853675959
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 581 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,771,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Dixie Victorious: An Alternate History of the Civil War Hardcover – Jan 1 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
A well-known series of alternate history anthologies now adds this solid and provocative exploration of the American Civil War. Seasoned alt-hist veteran Tsouras and nine other scholars offer 10 ways in which the South could have won its independence, beginning with European intervention or the construction (with British help) of a blockade-breaking navy. More subtle suggestions include Lee's lost order at Antietam being a deliberate deception, or the Union going bankrupt. The high points are probably Edward Longacre's Gettysburg campaign in which Jeb Stuart does his duty (he notoriously did not) and the editor's own somewhat implausible but enormously powerful scenario in which the South adopts General Cleburne's plan to free and arm the slaves. After that, Southern victories change the political equation, leading to Lincoln's defeat in the 1864 election. Evaluating these possibilities, one has to remember Shelby Foote's comment that "the North would just have brought the other hand out from behind its back." This latest entry in a series that's a byword among alternate-history fans succeeds in avoiding white supremacist fantasies and is well up to the very high standard set by earlier entries.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
– Publishers Weekly
"Dixie Victorious is both fascinating and an entertaining read. The latest entry in the Greenhill Alternate History series is highly recommended for the reconstruction of actual historic events to produce speculative alternative results."
– Michael Russert in Civil War News
– Iain Standen in British Army Review
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Andrew Uffindell, "'Hell on Earth': Anglo-French Intervention in the Civil War," has the "Trent" incident resulting in Great Britain declaring war against the Union and France following suit. Uffindell comes up with additional reasons for the two nations to fight the war that neither wanted in 1861 to force the North into fighting a war on all fronts.
Wade G. Dudley, "Ships of Iron and Wills of Steel: The Confederate Navy Triumphant," has Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory creating an ironclad navy. Consequently, when the "Monitor" shows up at Hampton Roads it faces not one Confederate ironclad but three and the historical stalemate becomes a decisive Rebel victory.
David M. Keithly, "'What Will the Country Say?': Maryland Destiny," turns Special Order No. 191, which fell into McClellan's hands before the Battle of Antietam, into a "ruse de guerre" as Lee baits a trap to destroy the Army of the Potomac. This one is an interesting twist on history and yet another opportunity to show Lee as being clever and McClellan incompetent, which is almost always fun.
Michael R. Hathaway, "When the Bottom Fell Out: The Crisis of 1862," revisits Lee's first invasion of the North and has the Confederate general avoiding hurting himself when he was thrown by his horse the day after the second battle of Manassas. Overall I tend to like the essays where the key change is rather simple, which is what Hathaway does by having Lee free from pain and clear headed during his first invasion of the North.
James R. Arnold, "'We Will Water our Horses in the Mississippi': A.S. Johnston vs. U.S. Grant," has Albert Sidney Johnston's life being saved by a tourniquet at the Battle of Shiloh. The South still loses on the second day, but Jefferson Davis is able to put Johnston back in command of Confederate forces in the West during the siege of Vicksburg. Clearly the idea here is insert Johnston back into the war in the western theater at the point where Davis most felt his loss, which explains why Shiloh remains a Confederate defeat.
Edward G. Longacre, "'Absolutely Essential to Victory': Stuart's Calvary in the Gettysburg-Pipe Creek Campaigns," has the Confederate cavalry keeping in contact with Lee during the second invasion of the North. The Battle of Pipe Creek replaces that of the historical Battle of Gettysburg. Those who have read the alternative history "Gettysburg" by Newt Gingrich and William R. Fortschen will find this essay of more than passing interest since it shares the belief that there was a Confederate victory to be had in Lee's second invasion of the North, but not at Gettysburg itself.
John D. Burtt, "Moves to Great Advantage: Longstreet vs. Grant in the West," finds Braxton Bragg being wounded and James Longstreet taking command of the Army of Tennessee and fighting Grant. Longstreet had agreed to go west so that he could have an independent command, and Burtt's essay argues out a best case scenario for what he could have accomplished, although his aggressiveness might strike many as being beyond his nature.
Peter G. Tsouras, "Confederate Black and Gray: A Revolution in the Minds of Men," has Jefferson Davis seizing the opportunity afforded by Major General Pat Cleburne's Manifesto to give the South's slaves an opportunity to earn their freedom by fighting for the Confederacy. This one has the advantage of taking actions the Confederacy was eventually compelled to do, and moving them forward to a time when it might have actually helped the Southern cause.
Cyril M. Lagvanec, "Decision in the West: Turning Point in the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy," has Kirby Smith taking back Arkansas and Missouri in 1864, as David Dixon Porter's Mississippi Squadron falls victim to its commander's greed for captured cotton. I had the most problems with this scenario because I am not inclined to think that the Union would have reduced its overwhelming number advantages in Virginia and Tennessee-Georgia to make up for setbacks in Louisiana, thereby setting up a domino of effects.
Kevin F. Kiley, "Terrible as an Army with Banners: Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley," basically has Phil Sheridan's ride failing to reverse the Union's fortunes after Early's attack in the Valley. Kiley also finds an opportunity to remove a major obstacle to a Southern victory with a single bullet, which I have to admit was a card I thought would be played more often in these essays.
In most of these essays the Confederacy does not win the war militarily, but rather a pivotal military victory (or combination of victories) tips the delicate balance and gives the South a political victory (e.g., McClellan defeats Lincoln in the 1864 election). All of these essays are presented as the work of military historians in an alternative reality. Each has footnotes documenting sources, with those from fictional sources noted with an * (Lagvanec is the farthest over the rainbow with all of his notes for his Trans-Mississippi essay having asterisks).
Readers will know exactly what they are getting with "Dixie Victorious," so those who are offended by "What If" stories in general and those in which the South wins the Civil War in particular can stay far away. The idea here is to be provocative and to come up with diverse scenarios for this to happen, and in that regard this collection is successful. Students of the Civil War will find a lot to argue about in these pages.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
as an ex-military intel analyst, I can say: read this. these types of analyses are rare.
I came upon this book after reading _The Confederate States of America: What Might Have Been_ which was so well written, it left me wanting more. I've always been fascinated with the Civil War and war gaming as well; rereading rules of a Civil War oriented board game led me to search out books on the subject to teach me possible strategies in playing. I didn't quite find what I was looking for despite the wealth of information contained in the book. For example, the authors go into detailed categorization of the order of battle of involved military units, and the course of action each pursued in battle. Perhaps I'm not enough of a grognard to appreciate such specifics. Military historians will likely enjoy this depth of detail, but I found it wearing after a while.
If you're a historian or history buff looking for subject material for writing a paper on different outcomes for the Civil War, then this is the book for you. If you're like me, more a general enthusiast who prefers history books that cover a wider range of sub-topics such as politics or social issues, you might get more out of _The Confederate States of America: What Might Have Been_, by Roger Ransom, which addresses economical and political issues surrounding the Civil War as much as the military outcomes. Military history aficionados will have much here to enjoy.