restricted access Confederate Rams at Birkenhead (review)
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344CIVIL WAR history partiality collapses completely, and die book now becomes a lawyer's brief rather than a critical study. On page 450 Hyman declares with all the dictatorial authority of a schoolmaster speaking to his class tiiat "Stanton was not at one with the Radicals," and that patriotism was die compelling reason that induced him to hold on to his position in Johnson's cabinet. Furthermore, to the author "it appears improbable that [in February, 1867] Stanton was playing a Machiavellian role." In his eagerness to whitewash Stanton, Hyman seems to have forgotten that his readers may not be schoolchildren, but people who might be doing their own thinking, and who need not stand in fear of criticizing or contradicting someone who tries to force opinions on them which have no foundation. In February, 1868, Stanton still stuck to his position, an unheard-of piece of impudence and low ethics. But Hyman does not think so, and becomes almost lyrical in his endeavor to turn black into white. "He was now ruled by an idealism capable of denying to his family a minimal standard of living " (p. 579). And more of the same: "There can be no doubt that Stanton saw himself as the savior of the nation's best . . . interests." There may be no doubt in Hyman's mind, but there certainly is in the minds of those who have no axes to grind and are not trying to prove die unprovable. Summing up, the Thomas-Hyman book makes good reading and contains some new material; but, due to its partisan nature and one-sided presentation , the definitive biography of this remarkable man Stanton still remains to be written. Otto Eisenschiml Chicago, Illinois Confederate Rams at Birkenhead. By Wilbur Devereux Jones. (Tuscaloosa , Ala.: Confederate Publishing Co., 1961. Pp. 124. $4.50.) I tip my hat to Wilbur Devereux Jones. In any study of the naval end of die Civil War, die part played by England is not to be overlooked. It must be studied and restudied for complete understanding and for its significance. The Soutii banked heavily on its friends across die sea, and during tile early months of the conflict based its economy and its strategy largely on what the British would do. The North set up a blockade of die Southern coast, at the same time constandy glancing over its shoulder to see what the reaction would be across die Adantic. If not recognized as a blockade under international law, supplies pouring into the South from abroad could not be stopped. In die midst of tin's stroke the Trent affair broke like a bursted bubble; the uproar among the British, and even among the French, neared the shooting stage. Then came the cruisers Alabama and Florida, built in British shipyards, deadly foes that roamed the seas under Semmes and Maffitt, destroying Union commerce with a free hand and defying every effort aimed at stopping tiiem. And finally it was learned that England was building ironclads for the Confederacy, under the guise that they were intended for the Pasha of Egypt. Book Reviews345 How did Great Britain get by widi these obvious hostilities? What kept her out of war? These questions are specifically answered by Mr. Jones. He goes into a careful study of the subject, weighing evidence, balancing conespondence, and drawing sound conclusions. His findings have been put together in a pleasant, unexcited, easy style. He explains tiiat England's main interest in securing information on the United States Navy was to maintain its own naval superiority with respect to France, which was also building ironclads. And he poses, with autiientic reference, what might have happened had die two ironclads die British were preparing for the Confederates actually been turned loose against die Union. This is a useful little book. It is clear and interesting, and reads like a scholar 's diesis. VmGrL C. Jones Centreville, Virginia Washington. Vol. I, Village and Capital, 1800-1878. By Constance McLaughlin Green. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962. Pp. xix, 445. $8.50.) Civil War Days in a Country Village. By Colin T. Naylor, Jr. (Peekskill, N.Y.: Highland Press, 1961. Pp. 122. $4.00.) Of special interest to...


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