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84CIVIL WAR HISTORY ists advocated reopening; others opposed it. While some southerners believed that importing Africans would increase slave resistance others believed that reopening would increase the slave owning population and thereby militate against slave revolts. The entire population would be more watchful. Some advocated reopening because they believed it right; others did so because they were trying to rid themselves of their own personal doubts about the morality of slavery. Finally , the agitators themselves were divided. The reopening agitation perhaps further aggravated rather than healed southern divisions. Despite some minor questions Takaki's well-written study is an interesting and useful chronicle of the failure of the agitation for the reopening of the African slave trade. Joe M. Richardson Florida State University Kirby Smith's Confederacy: The Trans-Mississippi South 1861-1865. By Robert L. Kerby. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1972, Pp. vin, 529. $12.95.) In recent years the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederacy has received renewed attention from scholars, journalists, local historians , and buffs, perhaps, because while forming a part of the overall conflict, things seemed so different beyond the great river. Society was more rough and tumble, the violence more brutal, the scene distinctly more frontier-like than in the Cis-Mississippi. Kerby now joins Stephen Oates, Albert Castel, and Robert E. Shalhope, among others, in an intensive examination of men and events in what he terms that vital but "never more than peripheral theater of operations, . . ." Kirby Smith's section of the Confederacy. Kerby contends that after the fall of Vicksburg the area of the Confederacy including Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, western Louisiana, and the Indian Territory by necessity became self-sufficient and forced to preserve itself without support from the remainder of the Confederate states. Kirby Smith effectively combined military and civil administration and came to symbolize the section's stalwart but futile effort to stave off inevitable defeat resulting from battlefield events east of the Mississippi. Seeking to provide a case study of a segment of American society which yielded everything in pursuit of an unattainable military victory, Kerby suggests that the story of the Trans-Mississippi adds some new dimensions to the history of the Confederacy and serves to illumine and complement the familiar history of the wartime South. Important and certain to stimulate discussion are Kerby's five impressions which emerge from his ambitious project. First, he feels that southern strategists miscalculated in using the great river as a departmental boundary, thereby hampering communications and administration of forces on both sides of the stream, while the Federals never made this mistake. Secondly, the author claims that the section's econ- book reviews85 omy remained viable until the end of the war, despite severe dislocations . Third, he sees disintegration of morale during the last months of the conflict directly causing the breakup of the war effort in Kirby Smith's area rather than battlefield defeats or economic inadequacies. Fourth, Kerby suggests the need for some modification of the notion that states' rights undermined the achievement of Confederate national independence. Apparently state governments west of the river all but abdicated authority to Confederate representatives and if anything, this weakened the citizenry's faith in their own states' rights rhetoric. Finally, Kerby thinks that: "If any generalization may be made upon the basis of evidence taken from the history of the Confederate Southwest , it seems that the high tide of Confederate aspirations began ebbing away during the first months of the Civil War." The first chapter is too long, the book might profit from illustrations and a bibliographic essay rather than list, but good maps are included and the footnotes seem to indicate exploration in width and depth. Perhaps Kerby's contribution assumes significant proportions because he has undertaken so much within one volume. He has unshackled Civil War history from unilateral consideration of battles, leaders, political events, economics, or social customs. He has packaged all of these together in a fashion which may seem diffusive, yet possibly more indicative of how wartime situations really were than the neatly blown conclusions and polished images of older accounts. B. Franklin Cooling U.S. Army Military History Research Collection Carlisle Barracks An Englishman in the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 84-85
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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