Catalogue


The grand design : strategy and the U.S. Civil War /
Donald Stoker.
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
description
viii, 498 p.
ISBN
0195373057 (cloth : acid-free paper), 9780195373059 (cloth : acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2010.
isbn
0195373057 (cloth : acid-free paper)
9780195373059 (cloth : acid-free paper)
contents note
Policy and war -- The sinews of war -- Mr. Lincoln goes to war -- The border states' policy, strategy, and civil-military relations -- McClellan on top: Union strategy, July 1861-October 1861 -- Union strategy: November 1861 to March 1862 -- The foundations of naval strategy -- The war in the West: breaking the cordon -- A new year and a new strategy -- War in Virginia -- Confusion in the West: the summer of 1862 -- The tyranny of time -- Facing the arithmetic: escalation and destruction -- The enormous proportions of war -- Vicksburg and exhaustion -- The cruel summer of 1863: the Gettysburg campaign -- The autumn of 1863-playing the deep game -- The siren song of Tennessee: the winter of 1863-1864 -- Decision and desperation: 1864 -- The full fury of modern war -- War termination -- In war's shadow.
catalogue key
7260905
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2010-06-15:
Stoker (strategy & policy, Naval Postgraduate Sch., U.S. Naval Coll.) chastises Civil War historians for their supposed indifference to or ignorance of Civil War strategy and insists that his is the first book-length treatment of the subject. Despite that overstatement, Stoker makes a signal contribution to understanding the dynamics of the war by carefully defining policy, military strategy, operational strategy, tactics, and other political and military terms and showing the interactions, for example, of politics and strategy, in explaining Abraham Lincoln's development as a successful commander in chief and Jefferson Davis's failure to capitalize on Confederate advantages. Still, he insists the Union might have won the war earlier had it found generals in 1861 and 1862 able to think and act strategically. Stoker's overall conclusions about Lincoln, Davis, and the principal Civil War generals are not especially new, though he does give Robert E. Lee high marks as a strategic thinker and even sees merit in George McClellan's grand design. VERDICT General readers will profit from Stoker's clear explanations and sensible arguments, while more seasoned scholars will find his delineation of strategic concepts useful. A worthwhile addition for public and university libraries.-Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Finally, a Civil War study that reveals why strategy mattered to Union victory. Clearly and forcefully, The Grand Design shows how the Union learned to use its military force in pursuit of its political objectives."-William L. Barney, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, author of The Making of a Confederate"A superbly written, well-researched, and detailed analysis of how the Union's strategy-simultaneous strikes at the Confederacy's critical points and at its center of gravity its army-destroyed the South's capacity to fight and helped lead to its defeat. Stoker's first-rate study revives the role of strategy in the conversation on why the Union won the Civil War." -Howard Jones, University of Alabama, author of Mutiny on the Amistad"Donald Stoker breaks with a a generation's worth of cliches in this stimulating and persuasive demonstration that the Civil War's crucial contrast was not between ideas or resource bases. It involved strategy. The war was decided when Lincoln's generals were able to execute his policies while their Confederate counterparts failed to respond to Jefferson Davis's uncertain trumpet. As good a book on the Civil War as I've read for a decade."--Dennis Showalter, author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the 20th Century, and former president, American Society for Military History"Stoker's grand overview of strategy is a welcome introduction to the big picture of the Civil War. Too often, the American Civil War is read as an ill-fitting string of tactical incidents, determined almost entirely by the personalities of successful generals. Looked at in Stoker's bird's-eye fashion, the large-scale strategic picture, as well as the large-scale strategic mistakes, finally become to be clear."--Allen C. Guelzo, Director, Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College, author of Lincoln and Douglas"Donald Stoker's book offers a new way of looking at both the military and political history of the Civil War, and does so from a strategic vantage point far above that to which we have been accustomed. The Grand Design represents and important advance in our understanding of this momentous event."--Steven E. Woodsworth, Texas Christian University, author of Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1851-1865 and co-author of The Oxford Atlas of the Civil War
"Finally, a Civil War study that reveals why strategy mattered to Union victory. Clearly and forcefully, The Grand Design shows how the Union learned to use its military force in pursuit of its political objectives."-William L. Barney, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, author of The Making of a Confederate "A superbly written, well-researched, and detailed analysis of how the Union''s strategy-simultaneous strikes at the Confederacy''s critical points and at its center of gravity its army-destroyed the South''s capacity to fight and helped lead to its defeat. Stoker''s first-rate study revives the role of strategy in the conversation on why the Union won the Civil War." -Howard Jones, University of Alabama, author of Mutiny on the Amistad "Donald Stoker breaks with a a generation''s worth of cliches in this stimulating and persuasive demonstration that the Civil War''s crucial contrast was not between ideas or resource bases. It involved strategy. The war was decided when Lincoln''s generals were able to execute his policies while their Confederate counterparts failed to respond to Jefferson Davis''s uncertain trumpet. As good a book on the Civil War as I''ve read for a decade."--Dennis Showalter, author of Patton and Rommel: Men of War in the 20th Century, and former president, American Society for Military History "Stoker''s grand overview of strategy is a welcome introduction to the big picture of the Civil War. Too often, the American Civil War is read as an ill-fitting string of tactical incidents, determined almost entirely by the personalities of successful generals. Looked at in Stoker''s bird''s-eye fashion, the large-scale strategic picture, as well as the large-scale strategic mistakes, finally begin to become clear."--Allen C. Guelzo, Director, Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College, author ofLincoln and Douglas "Donald Stoker''s book offers a new way of looking at both the military and political history of the Civil War, and does so from a strategic vantage point far above that to which we have been accustomed. The Grand Design represents and important advance in our understanding of this momentous event."--Steven E. Woodsworth, Texas Christian University, author of Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861-1865 and co-author of The Oxford Atlas of the Civil War "Stoker makes a signal contribution to understanding the dynamics of the war by carefully defining policy, military strategy, operational strategy, tactics, and other political and military terms and showing the interactions, for example, of politics and strategy, in explaining Abraham Lincoln''s development as a successful commander in chief and Jefferson Davis''s failure to capitalize on Confederate advantages. General readers will profit from Stoker''s clear explanations and sensible arguments, while more seasoned scholars will find his delineation of strategic concepts useful."--LibraryJournal "Mr. Stoker has written a fascinating study of why strategy mattered in the American Civil War. With excellent maps at important points in his narrative, he clearly leads the reader through the conflict. He also makes it evident that Lincoln masterfully managed the resources at his disposal; and his counterpart did not. Mr. Stoker''s work should be on the shelf of anyone interested in the American Civil War. "--NY Journal of Books "The Grand Design examines how Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis identified their political goals and worked with their generals to craft the military means to achieve them--or how they often failed to do so. This is not a book for the causal history reader. For those who wish to drill down, this is an excellent book and worth reading."--The Order of Civil War Obsessively Compulsed -- Informed Amateurs Blog the American Civil War "Stoker examines all aspects of the war, blending political and military details very successfully, to assert his belief that the war''s outcome boiled down, primarily, to President Lincoln''s superior strategic plan."--Confederate Book Review "Despite some doubts over the book''s fundamental perspective, one cannot praise too highly the depth and acuity of the analysis that Stoker deploys in a trenchant and refreshingly well-written book, mercifully free of dreary jargon. Stoker touches upon most of the debates among Civil War historians. He downplays the overall significance of technology, arguing that it mainly affected tactics, not strategy, though such an assertion underestimates the strategic significance of railroads. ... Yet there can be no denying that henceforth no historian of the subject can afford to ignore Stoker''s views, and the legions of Civil War readers must be prepared to have their horizons stretched."--Brian Holden Reid,Civil War Book Review "Military-minded Civil War aficionados will find much appeal in the treatment of strategy emphasized in this book."--St. Louis Post-Dispatch "... lucid discussion of Civil War geography and its strategic connections to the operations of opposing armies. The Grand Design provides readers with a handy guide to Civil War strategies and strategists. It makes a convincing case that the North won the war in large part because Lincoln and the best of his generals were better strategists than their counterparts in Dixie."--James M. McPherson,North and South Magazine "It is increasingly difficult to say anything new about the Civil War, given its treatment at the hands of so many historians with so many different points of view. Yet Stoker''s book on the changing strategies of the military and civilian leaders in the North and South during the conflict casts a fresh light on what remains the most decisive and harrowing war in U.S. history. Stoker presents us with a picture of what Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis and their respective generals thought they should be doing, and with the advantage of hindsight, he evaluates the strategic concepts on both sides of the divide. Students of the Confederacy will find it interesting that he criticizes both Davis and General Joseph Johnston. The study of grand strategy is undergoing a much-needed revival at American universities; this clear and incisive book is a useful addition to the syllabus."--ForeignAffairs "Superb examination of Civil War strategy. Of the numerous books on the American Civil War, few have explored in depth the critical role of strategy in determining the outcome of this nation''s bloodiest conflict. On the eve of the sequicentennial of that war, Donald Stoker fills that gap with a superb examination of the larger employment of military power beyond the battlefield."ARMY Magazine "For the Civil War buff: As we head into the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States, armchair historians will want to keep up with the sesquicentennial. There is no shortage of excellent guides to the conflict. A recent one that I''ve enjoyed dipping into is The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, by Donald Stoker. Rather than a blow-by-blow account of battles and operations, it describes the strategic objectives of North and South and how civilian and military leaders tried to realize them."--National Review Online "The Grand Design is not for your basic Civil War buff, but it is an intense read on tactics, operations, and strategies that lead you to a deeper understanding of what we were really fighting for and how chance, vision, and perserverance actually led to the restoration of our country."--SacramentoBook Review
The Grand Design is an excellent military study of the Civil War. It is well researched and written. It flows smoothly and keeps the reader's interest. It is critical of both sides ... and Stoker is not afraid to offer controversial interpretations.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, June 2010
The Times (London), February 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
In the many books exploring the Civil War, surprisingly little has been said about what was in fact the determining factor in the outcome of the conflict: differences in Union & Southern strategy. Donald Stoker provides a comprehensive & often surprising account of strategy as it evolved between Fort Sumter & Appomattox.
Main Description
Of the tens of thousands of books exploring virtually every aspect of the Civil War, surprisingly little has been said about what was in fact the determining factor in the outcome of the conflict: differences in Union and Southern strategy. In The Grand Design, Donald Stoker provides a comprehensive and often surprising account of strategy as it evolved between Fort Sumter and Appomattox. Reminding us that strategy is different from tactics (battlefield deployments) and operations (campaigns conducted in pursuit of a strategy), Stokerexamines how Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis identified their political goals and worked with their generals to craft the military means to achieve them - or how they often failed to do so. Stoker shows that Davis, despite a West Point education and experience as Secretary of War, failed as astrategist by losing control of the political side of the war. His invasion of Kentucky was a turning point that shifted the loyalties and vast resources of the border states to the Union. Lincoln, in contrast, evolved a clear strategic vision, but he failed for years to make his generals implementit. At the level of generalship, Stoker notes that Robert E. Lee correctly determined the Union's center of gravity, but proved mistaken in his assessment of how to destroy it. Stoker also presents evidence that the Union could have won the war in 1862, had it followed the grand plan of themuch-derided general, George B. McClellan.Arguing that the North's advantages in population and industry did not ensure certain victory, Stoker reasserts the centrality of the overarching military ideas - the strategy - on each side, showing how strategy determined the war's outcome.
Main Description
Of the tens of thousands of books exploring virtually every aspect of the Civil War, surprisingly little has been said about what was in fact the determining factor in the outcome of the conflict: differences in Union and Southern strategy. InThe Grand Design, Donald Stoker provides a comprehensive and often surprising account of strategy as it evolved between Fort Sumter and Appomattox. Reminding us that strategy is different from tactics (battlefield deployments) and operations (campaigns conducted in pursuit of a strategy), Stoker examines how Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis identified their political goals and worked with their generals to craft the military means to achieve them--or how they often failed to do so. Stoker shows that Davis, despite a West Point education and experience as Secretary of War, failed as a strategist by losing control of the political side of the war. His invasion of Kentucky was a turning point that shifted the loyalties and vast resources of the border states to the Union. Lincoln, in contrast, evolved a clear strategic vision, but he failed for years to make his generals implement it. At the level of generalship, Stoker notes that Robert E. Lee correctly determined the Union's center of gravity, but proved mistaken in his assessment of how to destroy it. Stoker also presents evidence that the Union could have won the war in 1862, had it followed the grand plan of the much-derided general, George B. McClellan. Arguing that the North's advantages in population and industry did not ensure certain victory, Stoker reasserts the centrality of the overarching military ideas--the strategy--on each side, showing how strategy determined the war's outcome.
Main Description
Of the tens of thousands of books exploring virtually every aspect of the Civil War, surprisingly little has been said about what was in fact the determining factor in the outcome of the conflict: differences in Union and Southern strategy. In The Grand Design, Donald Stoker provides a comprehensive and often surprising account of strategy as it evolved between Fort Sumter and Appomattox. Reminding us that strategy is different from tactics (battlefield deployments) and operations (campaigns conducted in pursuit of a strategy), Stoker examines how Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis identified their political goals and worked with their generals to craft the military means to achieve them--or how they often failed to do so. Stoker shows that Davis, despite a West Point education and experience as Secretary of War, failed as a strategist by losing control of the political side of the war. His invasion of Kentucky was a turning point that shifted the loyalties and vast resources of the border states to the Union. Lincoln, in contrast, evolved a clear strategic vision, but he failed for years to make his generals implement it. At the level of generalship, Stoker notes that Robert E. Lee correctly determined the Union's center of gravity, but proved mistaken in his assessment of how to destroy it. Stoker also presents evidence that the Union could have won the war in 1862, had it followed the grand plan of the much-derided general, George B. McClellan. Historians have often argued that the North's advantages in population and industry ensured certain victory. In The Grand Design, Stoker reasserts the centrality of the overarching military ideas--the strategy--on each side, arguing convincingly that it was strategy that determined the war's outcome.
Unpaid Annotation
Compares the military strategies of Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln, suggesting that the Union could have won much earlier had they followed the grand plan of George B. McClellan.
Table of Contents
List of Mapsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Policy and Warp. 13
The Sinews of Warp. 22
Mr. Lincoln Goes to Warp. 36
The Border States: Policy, Strategy, and Civil-Military Relationsp. 44
McClellan on Top: Union Strategy, July 1861-October 1861p. 52
Union Strategy: November 1861-March 1862p. 69
The Foundations of Naval Strategyp. 93
The War in the West: Breaking the Cordonp. 107
A New Year-and a New Strategyp. 119
War in Virginiap. 139
Confusion in the West: The Summer of 1862p. 169
The Tyranny of Timep. 185
Facing the Arithmetic: Escalation and Destructionp. 207
The Enormous Proportions of Warp. 231
Vicksburg and Exhaustionp. 261
The Cruel Summer of 1863: The Gettysburg Campaignp. 277
The Autumn of 1863: Playing the Deep Gamep. 307
The Siren Song of Tennessee: The Winter of 1863-64p. 332
Decision and Desperation, 1864p. 351
The Full Fury of Modern Warp. 334
War Terminationp. 395
Conclusion: In War's Shadowp. 405
Abbreviationsp. 419
Notesp. 421
Indexp. 482
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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