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I would also encourge people considering this book to take a look at Gettysburg: A Battlefield Guide by Mark Grimsley. (ISBN 0803270771) In my opinion the Grimsley book is a bit clearer on some of the more confusing parts of the battle - the fighting in the Wheatfield for example.
All things considered both books are quite good.
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Another thing missing is a comprehensive map of the battlefield with his selected stops, again helping show the context of a given part of the battle with the whole.
Unlike the Gettysburg guide this book outlines the campaign on an "operational" as well as "tactical" level. Both of which are easy to understand and follow along if you desire to use this book as a battlefield guide.
The driving directions along with detailed maps, historical photos, and reports taken from the Official Records make this book a complete tour and reference package!
If you require an outstanding volume of work detailing nearly every aspect of the campaign, then look no further. I highly recommend this book as "must read" for anyone interested in Marse Robert's Maryland Campaign of 1862. It will also make an excellent reference tool for anyone who cannot make it to the battlefield. It brings the fields of battle to you!
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The Union attempted to take Richmond by the shortest and most direct route; but this way was blocked with natural obstacles. If the Confederates fell back they would be closer to their reserves, supplies, and reinforcements. These facts favored the entrenched defenders.
The western campaign ended in the capture of Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi from St. Louis to New Orleans. Liddell Hart contrasts the maneuvers here to the stalemate back east. But the conditions, or politics, did not allow a wide flanking invasion through West Virginia or North Carolina. The threat to Richmond kept Confederate troops there. Longstreet proposed an invasion of Kentucky, a far flanking attack, but was turned down by Lee.
It explains how Sherman out-maneuvered Johnston from Chattanooga to Atlanta. By threatening to outflank Johnston, the Confederates fell back. His replacement by Hood did not prevent the capture of Atlanta. This revived the hope of victory for the North, and helped to re-elect Lincoln.
Sherman then abandoned his supply and communication lines (vulnerable to attack) and marched on to Savannah and the ocean. His army lived off the land. This enabled his army to be resupplied by the Navy. He then marched north, seeming to attack other cities, but passed between and continued to destroy railroads and bridges.
The end came soon after this, as other armies invaded the South. Sherman designed an armistice and amnesty where the Confederates would be disbanded, and their arms turned over to the states. The latter would allow repression of bandits and guerillas. He was criticized for this.
Sherman was a man of modest habits. When admirers raised [money]to buy him a house, he refused to accept unless he received bonds that would pay the taxes! He lived within his means. The resisting power of a state depends more on the strength of popular will than on the strength of its armies, and this depends on economic and social security (p.429).
Liddell Hart gave preference to contemporaneous correspondence rather than Official Reports (which are written for history to justify a policy). Some of the ideas in this 72-year old book may not coincide with more recent history.
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It is probably a great read for business managers.
Ultimately it was his total failure in the Russian Campaign that caused his downfall. This incident demonstrated to the rest of Europe that Napoleon was not the living reincarnation of the god of war; quite to the contrary, he was a mediocre strategist. His failure was the result of his lack of organization, and his inability to compete with the Scorched Earth Policy and a small typhus endemic. In fact, his failure was so total that his "Grand Army" was decimated from 422,000 men strong to a mere 10,000: that is 97.6% casualties. This complete failure was caused because he did not heed the things that he himself propounds in this book.
That begs the question: Can this book truly be reflective of Napoleon?
If you want to know how to run an army: read this book.
If you want to keep your idealized version of Napoleon: avoid this book because it will demonstrate just how absurd his command was in the end.
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