Catalogue

COVID-19: Updates on library services and operations.

War on the waters : the Union and Confederate navies, 1861-1865 /
James M. McPherson.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2012.
description
277 p.
ISBN
0807835889 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780807835883 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2012.
isbn
0807835889 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780807835883 (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Mobilizing for war -- Establishing the blockade -- We've got New Orleans -- The river war in 1861-1862 -- The Confederacy strikes back -- Nothing but disaster -- A most signal defeat -- Unvexed to the sea -- Ironclads, torpedoes, and salt, 1863-1864 -- From the Red River to Cherbourg -- Damn the torpedoes.
catalogue key
8534702
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-267) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Although previously undervalued for their strategic impact because the represented only a small percentage of total forces, the Union and Confederate navies were crucial to the outcome of the Civil War. In War on the Waters, James M. McPherson has crafted an enlightening, at times harrowing, and ultimately thrilling account of the war's naval campaigns and their military leaders.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-09-01:
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian McPherson (history, emeritus, Princeton Univ.; Battle Cry of Freedom), who has written extensively on various aspects of the American Civil War, now turns his authoritative attention to the naval campaigns that played a crucial but underappreciated role in the war's outcome. He provides thorough analyses of Union and Confederate strategies and detailed descriptions of pivotal battles in Memphis, New Orleans, Charleston, and elsewhere. His concise but comprehensive account includes explanations of how the Union navy and army cooperated, sometimes reluctantly and clumsily, to win the war's most critical sea battles, while the undermanned Confederates used torpedoes and tenacity to try to thwart their opponent's mostly successful attempts at blockading Southern ports. VERDICT McPherson's well-researched book is too dense and detailed for general readers, who would benefit from William Fowler's more accessible Under Two Flags: The American Navy in the Civil War, but this important addition to scholarship on the naval aspects of the Civil War is recommended for academic audiences. With maps of several key battle sites clearly depicting ship and fort locations.-Douglas King, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2013-01-01:
Pulitzer Prize winner McPherson (emer., Princeton Univ.) offers a general review of the nautical war on ocean and stream. Earlier students and others seeking details of the naval or riverine operations of the Civil War were forced to rely on old standbys published at the end of the 19th century--some memoirs, several rather popular chronicles--and the Navy Official Records (ORN). Now, within a span of six years, three excellent histories have appeared, all demonstrating the impact of the sea services on the war. The first was Spencer C. Tucker's Blue and Gray Navies: The Civil War Afloat (2006), the second Craig Symonds' The Civil War at Sea (CH, Jan'10, 47-2785). The third is the present title. While attempting to remedy a perceived lack of attention by writers on the topic, none of the three offers new information or startling interpretation, though McPherson seems to pay slightly closer attention to the Mississippi River campaigns than do the others. These three works are well written and footnoted, and have bibliographies and photos, thus complementing one another so as to be equally recommended for undergraduates, Civil War buffs, and anyone seeking introductions. Summing Up: Recommended. General/public/undergraduate collections. M. J. Smith Jr. Tusculum College
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2012-06-04:
McPherson, professor emeritus of Princeton and dean of Civil War historians, enhances our knowledge with this history of the conflict's naval aspects. As definitive as it is economical, the work establishes beyond question the decisive contributions of maritime power to Union victory. The Confederate Navy, though materially outnumbered tenfold, was technologically advanced in such fields as mines and ironclads. Its commerce raiders devastated Union merchant shipping. Nevertheless, on the sea, along the coasts, and on the inland river systems, the North's warships and landing parties independently achieved politically and strategically important victories: Port Royal, S.C., and Fort Henry, Tenn., Memphis and New Orleans. The fleet synergized with the army in combined operations from North Carolina to the Mississippi River and Texas. The Union Navy established and sustained a blockade without which "the Confederacy might well have prevailed," These achievements were above all a product of pragmatism. From Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, through admirals like David Farragut and D.D. Porter, to the seamen and rivermen who joined for the duration, the Union Navy designed ships and developed doctrines to fit circumstances. Not everything worked. But as McPherson indisputably shows, the Civil War's outcome was in good part shaped by Northern naval power A Main Selection of the History Book Club and a selection of the Military Book Club, BOMC, and BOMC2 online, (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"A concise, fact-filled and exciting work in the Civil War's naval aspects. . . . Shows that the Civil War-a war of intense technological innovation on both seagoing sides-was won in large part by the Union Navy." - Tampa Bay Times
"An outstanding survey by someone who brings to bear a grand knowledge of the complex social/political/military tapestry against which this tale unfolds. . . . An effective, eminently readable introduction to the subject, with good maps to boot." - United States Naval Institute
"Anyone wishing to acquire an immediate grasp on the main narrative points of the Civil War at sea, while enjoying a masterful summation of past and current historical thinking, should read this book." - Daybook
"As definitive as it is economical, [ War on the Waters ] establishes beyond question the decisive contributions of maritime power to Union victory." - Publishers Weekly starred review
"As definitive as it is economical, [ War on the Waters ] establishes beyond question the decisive contributions of maritime power to Union victory."- Publishers Weekly starred review
"A sound collection-development investment." - Booklist
"A tremendous addition to Civil War literature, and McPherson has demonstrated his mastery of a new subject." - Sea History
"Both the general reader and the experienced historian can equally enjoy. . . . This one should definitely be on your reading list." -Speedreaders.info
"McPherson displays his massive knowledge of the Civil War. . . . A solid contribution to Civil War scholarship." - Kirkus Reviews
"McPherson has written a popular history that is both approachable and fairly thorough." - Library Journal
"McPherson's accounts of set-piece battles-Farragut's assault on Mobile Bay, the duel between the Monitor and the Merrimack-are vivid. Much of this briny story is provided through the words of the participants, and the maps are excellent throughout." - Wall Street Journal Gift Guide 2012
"McPherson's erudite prose and intimate knowledge of his subject makes War on the Waters an invaluable reference for Civil War scholars and laymen alike." - Charleson Post and Courier
"[McPherson] uses impeccable scholarship in the service of narratives that have appeal for the general reader." -Howell Raines, Washington Post
"McPherson writes extremely well and is able to interweave political and diplomatic events into his tale. . . . An excellent one volume overview of the naval side of the Civil War, particularly valuable to those unfamiliar with this aspect of the conflict, and also useful for the more seasoned student of the war." - The NYMAS Review
"Readers of Battle Cry of Freedom well may wish to add this sequel to their bookshelf." - The Washington Times
"Recommended. General/public/undergraduate collections." - Choice
"The book is, quite simply, a superb synthesis. . . . [It is] eloquently written in a spare, direct style with clear and moving descriptions that bring both individuals and events to life." - International Journal of Maritime History
"Well-researched. . . . This important addition to scholarship on the naval aspects of the Civil War is recommended for academic audiences. With maps of several key battle sites clearly depicting ship and fort locations." - Library Journal
"Wonderfully written and researched. . . . Balanced, objective, and highly readable."--Howard Jones, University of Alabama
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, June 2012
Booklist, August 2012
Kirkus Reviews, September 2012
Library Journal, September 2012
Choice, January 2013
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
Library of Congress Summary
McPherson recounts how the Union navy's blockade of the Confederate coast, leaky as a sieve in the war's early months, became increasingly effective as it choked off vital imports and exports. Meanwhile, the Confederate navy, dwarfed by its giant adversary, demonstrated daring and military innovation.
Main Description
Although previously undervalued for their strategic impact because the represented only a small percentage of total forces, the Union and Confederate navies were crucial to the outcome of the Civil War. In War on the Waters , James M. McPherson has crafted an enlightening, at times harrowing, and ultimately thrilling account of the war's naval campaigns and their military leaders. McPherson recounts how the Union navy's blockade of the Confederate coast, leaky as a sieve in the war's early months, became increasingly effective as it choked off vital imports and exports. Meanwhile, the Confederate navy, dwarfed by its giant adversary, demonstrated daring and military innovation. Commerce raiders sank Union ships and drove the American merchant marine from the high seas. Southern ironclads sent several Union warships to the bottom, naval mines sank many more, and the Confederates deployed the world's first submarine to sink an enemy vessel. But in the end, it was the Union navy that won some of the war's most important strategic victories--as an essential partner to the army on the ground at Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Mobile Bay, and Fort Fisher, and all by itself at Port Royal, Fort Henry, New Orleans, and Memphis.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
Mobilizing for Warp. 11
Establishing the Blockadep. 31
We've Got New Orleansp. 50
The River War in 1861-1862p. 70
The Confederacy Strikes Backp. 96
Nothing but Disasterp. 118
A Most Signal Defeatp. 135
Unvexed to the Seap. 154
Ironclads, Torpedoes, and Salt, 1863-1864p. 170
From the Red River to Cherbourgp. 187
Damn the Torpedoesp. 207
Conclusionp. 224
Acknowledgmentsp. 227
Notesp. 229
Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 269
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem