A dramatic tale of the fall, flight, and capture of the Confederate government in 1865, "An Honorable Defeat" is a rich canvas of a time of despair that sweeps from the marble halls of Richmond to a dingy room in a Havana hotel. Two 8-page photo inserts.A dramatic tale of the fall, flight, and capture of the Confederate government in 1865, "An Honorable Defeat" is a rich canvas of a time of despair that sweeps from the marble halls of Richmond to a dingy room in a Havana hotel. Two 8-page photo inserts.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2001-07-09 The Pulitzer Prize-nominated Civil War historian turns his pen to the last four months of the Confederacy: how, asks Davis (Three Roads to the Alamo, etc.), did Confederate president Jefferson Davis respond to Union victory? Author Davis charts the president's gradual acceptance of defeat, his flight from the Confederate capital and his eventual capture. The author has an eye for detail, and his chronicle of the Confederate cabinet's attempt to escape Richmond is lively. We watch President Davis sending his wife out of the city on a train, having given her a gun "and instructed her in its use." We see Davis silently reading a note from Robert E. Lee in the middle of Sunday morning worship at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and we watch as Secretary of War John Breckenridge leaves behind his invalid wife, who is "too ill to travel." But if Davis has given us a fast-paced story, his analysis leaves something to be desired. He is too busy telling us what happened to pay attention to why. The gist of Davis's analysis can be gleaned from his title like many scholars of the Confederacy before him, Davis is interested in showing that the rebels were, above all, honorable. They emerge as gentlemen, hounded and beleaguered, rather than as traitors. Readers who enjoy romantic renderings of the Civil War era will enjoy this portrait of defeat. Readers looking for a compelling and convincing historical interpretation will be disappointed. (July) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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