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l82CIVIL WAR HISTORY middle-sized farms" (334); the strongest backers of secession came from the nonslaveholders and the poor whites who, Brown trumpeted, had the most to fear ("miscegenation and racial equality") should Yankee rhetoric win the day (337). DeBats is also successful in underlining the surprising inexperience of the legislatures after 1850, particularly the political naivete of the i860 representatives—a lack of confidence Brown took advantage of to secure dominance of the assembly. His figures showing that approximately 80 percent of the eligible voters actually exercised their franchise during the period under discussion (396) almost boggle the mind of the reader of the 1990s, accustomed as he or she may be to the boredom and atrophy of modern-day politics. In sum, Elites and Masses is a flawed production that should be read with care, and yet there are strong points to the volume. It must be asked, though, if DeBats has added much to our understanding of Georgia politics, and more particularly ifhe has superseded Ulrich B. Phillips's Georgia andState Rights or Horace Montgomery's Cracker Parties. The answer to this reviewer is no. Phinizy Spalding University of Georgia Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat. Volume 1 . By Grady McWhiney. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969. Reprint. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1991. Pp. 421. $19.95.) Braxton Bragg and Confederate Defeat. Volume 2. By Judith Lee Hallock. (Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1991. Pp. 472. $29.95.) Braxton Bragg's service to the Confederate States of America, like other efforts on behalf of the Southern Confederacy, ended in failure. Yet unlike many of his high-ranking comrades in arms, Bragg has been saddled with a reputation that has been exciting the disgust of students of the Civil War ever since. Grady McWhiney's decision not to write the second volume of the present work prompted fellow Civil War historian Richard McMurry to observe that he had "found his subject so nauseous that he abandoned the project after completing only the first of a projected two volumes" (7Wo Great Rebel Armies: An Essay in Confederate Military History [Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1989], 7-8). Yet McWhiney and, subsequently , Hallock seem to have found the much-maligned general far less nauseating than have previous scholars. McWhiney's book starts with Bragg's childhood and family background and, with the author's characteristic grace and wit, follows the future Confederate 's youth and education to West Point and into the regular army. Interesting anecdotes illustrate both Bragg's personality and the spirit of the times in which he lived. Of special interest in these early years are BOOK REVIEWS1 83 McWhiney's careful accounts of Bragg's various disputes with fellow officers and with the War Department, illustrating the broad streak of contentiousness that seemed to run through Bragg, at least at this point in his career. McWhiney also gives a detailed and balanced account of the young officer's impressive service and rise to fame in the Mexican War. Having taken a rich wife and resigned from the army in the 1850s, Bragg spent the years leading up to the Civil War planting sugar in Louisiana. The coming of secession found him ardent in his Southern sentiments and soon serving first as commander of the Louisiana militia and then, in Confederate service, in charge of the defenses of Pensacela, Florida, at that time second only to Charleston, South Carolina, as a point of military tension in the South. McWhiney makes it clear that whatever may have prompted Bragg's early promotions it was not friendship with Jefferson Davis, as Bragg's prior relations with the man who was now Confederate president had been far from cordial. In his account ofthe Shiloh campaign, McWhiney credits Bragg with more nerve and less confusion than P G. T. Beauregard, but still criticizes his subject for his unimaginative, ineffective, and costly series of frontal attacks against the Hornet's Nest. Bragg is given much credit for his excellent strategy , rapid marching, and good use of railroads in the subsequent movement into Kentucky, and McWhiney shows far more sympathy than have other scholars for the peculiar difficulties under...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 182-184
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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