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1. Look Away! A History of the Confederate
2. The Fighting Men of the Civil
3. Landscape and Journey
4. Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative
5. West Settling of Frontier America
6. Three Roads to the Alamo: The
7. The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities
8. Commanders of the Civil War
9. William S. Hart: Projecting the
10. Taste for War: The Culinary History
11. Operating Systems: A Systematic
13. Duel Between the First Ironclads
14. The Battlefields of the Civil
15. Jefferson Davis: The Man and His
16. Jefferson Davis, American
17. Touched by Fire: A National Historical
18. Jefferson Davis: The Essential
19. Retaking the Universe: William
20. Barack Obama: The Politics of

1. Look Away! A History of the Confederate States of America
by William C. Davis
Paperback: 496 Pages (2003-04-01)
list price: US$30.95 -- used & new: US$12.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743234995
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

William C. Davis, "one of the best and most prolific historians of the American Civil War" (James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom), offers a definitive portrait of the Confederacy unlike any other.

Drawing on decades of writing and research among an unprecedented number of archives, ranging from the 800-odd newspapers in operation during the war to the personal writings of more than 100 leaders and common citizens, Davis reveals the Confederacy through the words of the Confederates themselves. Look Away! recounts all the epic sagas -- as well as those little-known and long-forgotten -- about a desperate government that socialized the salt industry, rangers and marauders who preyed on their fellow Confederates, and the systematic breakdown of law and order in some states. A dramatic, definitive account of one of our nation's most searing episodes, Look Away! shows us a South divided against itself, unable to stand.Amazon.com Review
The military history of the Civil War is well known. The political history of the era, and especially of the South, is less documented, a gap that William Davis's Look Away! admirably addresses.

Although the rhetoric of secession was democratic, invoking the ideals of the American Revolution and its classical forebears, Southern politics was directed by members of a small, self-serving aristocracy. And though the Confederate government advanced what then and now might be thought to be radical proposals (for one, that the postal service had to be self-supporting within two years of its founding), it was intolerant of dissent; the South's leaders, Davis writes, even barred a constitutional provision "recognizing the right of a state to secede." The natural result, Davis shows, was widespread resistance, including the development of a peace movement and of political groups loyal to the old Union. At the end of the war, Davis writes, "Confederate democracy had gone and would not be seen again--but the oligarchies had survived." Davis's study affords a new view on the Civil War, and it makes a fine addition to the overflowing library devoted to that crisis. --Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (32)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not perfect, but fantastic
Fantastic. Not perfect, but fantastic.Almost every history of the Confederacy is military-heavy, but not Davis's work here.The book goes through several important cross-sections of what life was like- women, poor whites, slaves, governors, manufacturers, courts, town mayors, and more.It starts by telling a rather riveting tale of the CSA's beginnings in Montgomery, detailing the first discussions of an interim government and constitution along with the related internal battles; the only thing that the book lacks is follow-up to the political story and how it played out over time.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Treasure trove of insight
Look Away:by William C. Davis

This book provides a very informative and enlightening presentation of the formation, philosophy, and attitudes of the leadership and people of the Confederate States of America and provides a treasury trove of materials that can be used to refute the scurrilous attacks on the USA and its constitution in general, and on Lincoln in particular.I have been reading this book very slowly in order to more fully comprehend and appreciate the issues and to take hand written notes of important points.The pages and paragraphs are dense with details and information and there are a huge number of points well made and well tied together.I was particularly pleased that several of my own original thoughts and opinions were plausible and even considered by others before me.

This book considers only the seceding states and, in the first third of the book, at least, hardly mentions Lincoln at all (no more than perhaps a dozen times.)Davis (William C., that is) considers several aspect of the confederacy but pays particular attention to the conception, debates, and purposes of the Confederate constitution and we can see how it was really driven by the property right of, and to, slavery.For those arguing that secession was legal, even though it is not mentioned in the US constitution, Davis points out that secession was also not condoned or mentioned in the Confederate constitution, even though it was vigorously debated.It is pointed out that even states rights are compromised in the CSA constitution in order to accommodate slavery.Davis does a great job in repeatedly pointing out southern hypocrisy with regard to individual and states rights.There is just too much important detail in this book to fit into a review.

As good as I think "Look Away" is, I feel that there are also several problems with it.Clearly, the villain in the first third of the book is Robert Barnwell Rhett of South Caroline: as is South Carolina.With regard to the confederate constitution, Rhett is at the forefront defending, praising, and glorifying slavery and more slavery at all costs.In searching for more detail on Rhett (and son) I found that he was actually almost a minor character.As the book says, most of his ideas and demands were rejected by participants and leaders of the confederate constitutional convention.Blaming it almost all on Rhett works to undermine the power and integrity of this book.

Also, viewpoints and positions on controversial issues, especially in the portion devoted to the constitution, are spread out in such a way that it is easy to mistakenly presume that a position was adopted rather than just discussed and disputed.For example, Rhett and others tried several times to allow for the constitutional expulsion of a state if it decided to not love slavery enough.For a while I thought it was in the confederate constitution (because of the debates) only to realize that it was not adopted.

In all, this is a very insightful book and I'm glad I selected it when I originally searched for another book that was unavailable.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lots of one-sided political philosopy, very little history
This book is simply ham-handed political propaganda masquerading as history.Much of the space is spent indulging the author's rather naive philosophies while making only token attempts to justify projecting those philosophies upon the people and states described.

1-0 out of 5 stars A fictional indulging of historical myths
For the past fourteen years I have been an ardent and passionate student of the Civil War. I've read dozens of memoirs, biographies, and accounts and have visited every major battlefield in America as well as many of the lesser known ones.I have belonged to two Civil War history organizations and published several writings on the period.
Look Away by William C Davis includes none of the facts and truth behind the causes of the Civil War or the causes of secession. His accounts are based on myths fabricated by modern ideas and outlook over one hundred and forty years after the fact.
He does not use any material from the accounts or memoirs written by the founders of Southern secession or the Southern Confederacy.
Though he got many of the dates, names, and numbers correct, his story, description, and study of them is incorrect.
This book does not offer the unique, truthful, or radical glimpse behind the true history of the Confederacy but is rather another very common and stereotypical retelling of the works from other revisionists-revisionists who do not go back in time and record what was written and saved for us to understand now.
I do not recommend this reading for anyone wishing to learn about the Southern Confederacy. I instead recommend that you read President Jefferson Davis' historical volume about the birth, life, and fall of the Confederacy titled the Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government. It is legit for the man was not only there with the Confederacy but he had also led it. It also includes thousands of sources and quotes from the period and the period leading to it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Political history of the C. S. A.
Well known historian of the Civil War, William Davis, has written a nicely done political history of the Confederate States of America.While, as the author notes (page ix), "The campaigns and battles are here," the main thrust of the book is (page x) ". . .seeks to present a comprehensive view of everything else that went into making the Confederate national experience. . . ."

There is a useful discussion early on of the nature of the Confederate Constitution.My own sense is that this could have been developed better, placing that document in a larger context.Nonetheless, one comes away from the discussion with a reasonable view of the nature of that document--and with an understanding of the importance of slavery for the south.

There is good exposition of the variety of internecine conflicts among the leaders of the Confederacy.President Jefferson Davis' prickly personality scarcely helped out here.

Davis also does a serviceable job of discussing the political economy of the south, from its economic base to the challenges facing its economy as the Civil War unfolded.

All in all, a useful book.
... Read more

2. The Fighting Men of the Civil War
by William C. Davis, Russ A. Pritchard
Paperback: 255 Pages (1998-06)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$13.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0806130601
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
They fought for honor, leaving a trail of death from Bull Run to Atlanta. Here is a pictorial record of the soldiers of the Civil War. From daily life to prison life, personal experiences add a poignant epitaph to an epic conflict. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars love it
great to see history this way!
this book has lots of contemporary photos and modern photos(of guns,uniforms,etc).it is everything the reader could ask for but...the HUGE size is a slight drawback.i found myself sitting it on a table just to read it.i guess i need STRONG MAN HANDS!...still love it though.
this book contains 13 chapters-including a appendix,index,and bibliography. it is very well written in an easy style to read and enjoy.it includes many aspects of the american civil war like:how the men were trained,a section on guns,the cavalry(with a section showing lots of swords),"rolling thunder"(equipmentused-meaning,
artillery pieces),life at sea,living in tents,soldiers involvment with prostitutes,
prisoners of war(both sides),diseases,in battle,and victory-the end of the war.
simply put-a great book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful into the common soldiers of this conflict
A well written and well illustrated look into the common soldiers of North and South of this conflict.

Nicely written and well illustrated. A good book to have for those interested in this subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Soldiers brave and true
An oversized, handsomely illustrated look at the Civil War, with emphasis on the soldiers themselves - camp life, uniforms, weapons, etc. Perhaps the most interesting and rewarding chapter, because it is so rarely dealt with in most other books about the war, is the one entitled "Willing Spirits & Weak Flesh," all about the sordidness of army life: drunkenness, prostitution, theft, and insubordination, among many other miseries. An excellent book that focuses on the human side of war, not the politics, the generalship, the maneuvering. An excellent addition to anyone's Civil War library.

5-0 out of 5 stars essential reading for military history enthusiasts everywher
An unrivalled source of information on the uniforms, insignia and appearance of the civil war fighting men.the Fighting Men of the Civil War covers subjects as diverse as the drill movements, the life at sea,Zouaves,Black troops,weaponry and many more. Each page is fully illustrated,includes more that 100 photographs and diagrams, as well as alot of pages of full colour artwork that provide the precise level of detail demanded by the enthusiast or any historians. Hundreds of photos of real items use in the civil war make this book one of the most enduring and popular military publications ever produced. Willian C Davis, has produce accessible reference resource for military history enthusiasts of all

This book should be One of the handiest one-volume sources of information ever assembled: serious, and surprisingly hard to find, information on the nation and its people is interspersed with the many colorful characters and incidents so often associated with this dramatic conflict.

Key interests and user groups;Artists and illustrators, Collectors, Costumiers, Historians, Historical societies and interest groups, Modellers, Re-enactors, Restorers, Special interest groups, Wargamers, Schools, Educational Establishments.

5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing account of the men who fought the Civil War.
This book is a fantastic source of information about the lives of the menfighting the Civil War.It is not focused on causes of the war or thegovernmental issues that fueled it except where these related the personallives of the men who fought. It was about common men: Yankee and Rebel. Itgives us a snapshot of their passion, the conditions they endured, theirjoys and sorrows.

The book shows us how common men of all walks of life,and nationalities became soldiers (or not). There are many excerpts andquotes from the people who were there.It gives insight into how theyfought, the equipment they used, the pride they felt and what it was likewhen it was over.

The pictoral history in this book is wonderful. Thereare pictures from the actual conflict as well as pictures of artifactsphotographed later.

Davis' writing style creates such a vivid picture ofthe world these men lived in. This book is a long way from the dry accountsmany history books provide.

I highly recommend this book! ... Read more

3. Landscape and Journey
by William Virgil Davis
Hardcover: 72 Pages (2009-10-25)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$14.04
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1566638399
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4. Readings in Ancient History: Illustrative Extracts from the Sources, Volume 1
by Willis Mason West, William Stearns Davis
Paperback: 392 Pages (2010-03-16)
list price: US$33.75 -- used & new: US$19.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1147509107
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

5. West Settling of Frontier America
by William C Davis
Hardcover: 176 Pages (1997-12)

Isbn: 1855019574
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6. Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie, and William Barret Travis
by William C. Davis
Paperback: 816 Pages (1999-05-01)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$10.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060930942
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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Three Roads to the Alamo  is the definitive book about the lives of David Crockett, James Bowie and William Barret Travis--the legendary frontiersmen and fighters who met their destiny at the Alamo in one of the most famous and tragic battles in American history--and about what really happened in that battle.Amazon.com Review
Ever since the day in March 1836 when an obscure Spanishmission in Texas fell to Mexican forces led by President Santa Anna,Americans have been exhorted to "remember the Alamo." And remember itwe do--primarily as the place where American folk legends DavyCrockett, Jim Bowie, and William Travis met their end fighting forTexas independence. Though it is primarily the Alamo we remembertoday, the battle itself takes up just a few pages of WilliamC. Davis's Three Roads to the Alamo; Davis is far moreinterested in what brought three such disparate men as Crockett,Bowie, and Travis to Texas in the first place than in how they diedthere. As any schoolchild knows, Davy Crockett was the "king of thewild frontier," a bona fide folk hero in his own time who rode hislegend to political office first in Tennessee and then as a UnitedStates congressman. Bowie was both less well known and less heroic--aland speculator not above resorting to fraud and forgery to get whathe wanted, while William Travis, the youngest of the three, broughtlittle but potential with him to Texas.

Davis does a good job of illuminating both the personalities of hissubjects and the situation in which they found themselves in Texas. Hethoroughly explores the lives of these three men--their successes,their failures, their hopes for the future--and lays out the argumentsfor and against Texan independence from Mexico in which they foundthemselves embroiled. By the time Crockett, Bowie, and Travis finallyarrive at the Alamo, it seems the inevitable conclusion to the roadsthey each have been traveling over the course of theirlifetimes. Three Roads to the Alamo is a fine piece ofhistorical research and an entertaining read, as well. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of "Three Roads to the Alamo"
This is possibly one of the greatest and well written books about the Alamo and the three most legendary men that were behind the walls those 13 days. I would suggest this book to any historian.

3-0 out of 5 stars This book needed to be edited with a BOWIE KNIFE!Far too long!
It's fairly obvious that by themselves, neither David Crockett, James Bowie nor William Barrett Travis would merit a full-scale biography.In fact, even together it beomes a stretch.

Of the three, Crockett certainly comes the closest because of his extended exposure on the national stage, while Travis due to his short life span, leaves the author very little to actually talk about.

So this leaves James Bowie and my goodness!! ... how much minutiae about land speculation and fraud does one need to read before they've heard enough about Bowie's life prior to The Alamo?!?His entire life up to 1834 could have easily been summed up in about 50 pages, and Travis in about 25 pages.

Instead, we grind through almost 400 pages before the author finally reaches the point most people picked the book up for in the first place.Specifically, how the heck did these three end up together defending The Alamo?

Don't get me wrong ... the historical and political backstory concerning the American frontier, Texas land speculation, and Jacksonian politics is important, and this book helps to clarify the issues and to explain how things occured as they did.

But, the convoluted (and frankly boring) facts involving every single honest and dishonest facet of Bowie's career in land speculation was almost enough to cause me to put the book down.

I've enjoyed hearing William C. Davis on shows like Civil War Journal, etc., but this is the first time I've read him.

Not sure I'll read him again after this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Three Roads to the Alamo: The Lives and Fortunes of David Crockett, James Bowie and William Barret Travis
Delivery time was exceptional!Book is fantastic! A great biography of each man, and a great historical piece!This has got to be the best history written of each of these men!A true bargain and very pleased with delivery!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book, but problems with the electronic version
This wasn't the greatest history I've ever read, but it was quite good.Davis seems to have been scrupulous about using only primary sources, and presents a lot of fascinating detail about lives that are frequently mythologized.

My only quibble is with the Kindle version, which is loaded with typographical errors.Some are simple mis-spellings which the spell checker should have caught.However, in many instances, the text was garbled to the point of incomprehensibility.The book also refers to several fairly obscure parts of Texas and Louisiana, but the maps were essentially unreadable as reproduced on the Kindle.It was still worth reading, but more trouble than I expected.If you're really interested in this topic, you might want to get the paper version instead.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thorough History Lesson
Very thorough and well-organized. The story lays to rest the myths good and bad of these three heroes of the Alamo, but this only serves to make them more human and far more interesting. As a Texan who was raised on many of the legends, I was a little upset that some of the stories may not be true (the line in the sand), but was actually more impressed with the three as individuals by the end of the book, and appreciated more the often contentious road to Texan independence. Furthermore, while the book focuses mainly on Bowie, Crockett, and Travis, there are tremendous insights into many individuals and processes involved in the revolution, including reflections on the reluctant leadership of Stephen F. Austin (whom I greatly respect) and the unsteady and unpredictable leadership of Sam Houston (whom I do not). Very informative and well worth the time. ... Read more

7. The Cause Lost: Myths and Realities of the Confederacy (Modern War Studies)
by William C. Davis
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-05)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$10.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0700612548
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
For nearly a quarter of a century, Pulitzer Prize nominee William C. Davis has been one of our best writers on the Civil War. His books--including Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol; Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour; and "A Government of Our Own": The Making of the Confederacy--have garnered numerous awards and enlightened and entertained an avid readership. The Cause Lost extends that tradition of excellence with provocative new insights into the myths and realities of an endlessly fascinating subject.

In these pages, Davis brings into sharp focus the facts and fictions of the South's victories and defeats, its tenacious struggle to legitimize its cause and defeat an overpowering enemy, and its ultimate loss of will. He debunks long-standing legends, offers irrefutable evidence explaining Confederate actions, and contemplates the idealism, naivete, folly, and courage of the military leadership and would-be founding fathers.

Among the most misunderstood, Davis contends, was Jefferson Davis. Often branded as enigmatic and incompetent, the Confederate president was simply a decent and committed leader whose mistakes were magnified by the war's extraordinary demands. Davis scrutinizes Jefferson Davis' relationship with his generals--most of whom were unproved talents or cronies with proven deficiencies--and reveals why only Robert E. Lee succeeded in winning Davis' confidence through flattery, persuasion, and a sense of responsibility. He also examines the myths and memories of the nearly deified Stonewall Jackson and of John C. Breckinridge, the only effective Confederate secretary of war.

Davis also illustrates why the cause of the war--a subject of long-standing controversy--boils down to the single issue of slavery; why Southerners, 90 percent of whom didn't own slaves, were willing to join in the battle to defend their homeland; how the personalities, tactics, and styles of the armies in the turbulent West differed greatly from those in the East; what real or perceived turning points influenced Southern decision making; and how mythology and misinterpretations have been perpetuated through biography, history, literature, and film.

Revealing the Confederacy's myths for what they really are, Davis nevertheless illustrates how much those myths inform our understanding of the Civil War and its place in Southern and American culture.

This book is part of the Modern War Studies series. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Collection of Essays
William C. Davis is a fine historian of the Civil War who has written a number of excellent and lengthy books on the subject. But, as this collection of essays shows, Davis is not a strong essayist despite some valiant efforts. There are some excellent essays here; namely a critical but sympathetic look at Jefferson Davis and another sketch covering Jefferson Davis and his troubled relations with P.G.T Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnston that ranks as one of the funniest pieces I have ever read on the war. But there are also some very weak entries including rushed looks at the various sieges of Charleston and the Trans-Mississippi region. There is also a look at film interpretations of the war which was entertaining. There is also a serious ethical breech from the historian. William C. Davis takes a number of shots at the Ken Burns production of the Civil War and praises A&E's "Civil War Journal." Alright. But William C. Davis consulted for "Civil War Journal" and appeared on it numerous times. Somehow he does not mention that in the essay. Sure it's a minor point but that's a conflict of interest and you would think Davis could have mentioned it. Davis is, as always, a readable writer but this collection of essays was not his finest effort.

4-0 out of 5 stars Destroying the Lost Cause myths
William C. Davis, famous and rather prolific Civil War historians, faces the myths that constitute the Lost Cause doctrine and destroys a lot of them.
The book is a collection of articles published previously on several reviews: they analize the relationships between Jefferson Davis and his generals, the forgotten fronts of war (South Carolina, Trans-Mississippi), and -last but not least- the southern attempts to find explanations to the defeat.
The second half of the book is the better. The chapters devoted to the "forgotten fronts" are pheraphs too short and generic.
However a very intriguing book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not indepth but...
Mr. Davis writes for popular history in that he does not go too deep into any single issue but that he does reduce issues to the point that most readers can understand them.In this book he takes on several of the most enduring "histories" of The Lost Cause of the Southern view of the Civil War and for the most part effectively refutes them. He has done popular history a service by entering into this particular fray.

Most Americans recall of the Civil War revolves around what can loosely be called history, much of which is either partiallly or deeply wrong.Not all states for instance that left the US did so explictly mentioning slavery, here Alabama comes to mind (the majority of the CS did name it the first or chief reason for secession).The Lincoln pre war tax impost was a reason but outside of SC is seldom mentioned in any other state paper and at best is a minor reason or excuse for the war that resulted.Slavery and Federal interference (or threat of interference) with it, constituted the chief reason for secession.Of course the majority of Southern men fought to defend their homes, one can argue here poor men were manipulated into fighting for the rich slave holders if you take the view of poor always fighting rich men's fights.
However, this and the failure of the CSA government, other then the military, to acomplish much in the course of the War is today only now being noticed or studied.

Reading several of the previous reviewers it is obvious that no amount of scholarship will change their minds regarding the War, its causes, or lasting effects.Here is proof positive of Mr. Davis' points regarding The Lost Cause; yes history was rewritten, but by the losers.From the effects of various battles, the disregard in many Southern partisans' minds for the Western theater, hatred for those who after the War decided they were Americans again (Longstreet for instance), reasons why War came about, and coming up with reasons why the South lost all have been so colored by revisionists that non-Americans often wonder if the South had really won but allowed the North to think otherwise...

There are many books coming out now on the Southern homefront now that are direct contradictions to this revised version of history.The South was never monolithic in white opinion (look at CSA desertion rates, voting records on secession, & Unionist activity behind Southern lines) nor was it a simple all blacks being pro-Union but there were no New York or black Confederate units either.This history is complex enough that the simplistic Lost Cause version is slowly being crushed, the fusion of whats left will doubtless be closer to the truth.

4-0 out of 5 stars The truth hurts
I found the book refreshing. Especialy the chapter titled "Myths and Realities of the Confederacy." (Part Four #11) That section realy pulled together a lot of truths to combat the myths that have been foisted on the public by Southern writers since the war ended. Defeat is a bitter pill for anyone to swallow and more difficult for the prideful people of the south. To this day many will not admit to it.

Mr. Davis is an accomplished author and historian with whom I do not always agree but with this book he has "hit the nail on the head."

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Thoughts on Civil War Basics, Mainly Confederate
William C. (Jack) Davis is a prolific author on the Civil War whose books (and talks) are both extremely well-researched and entertaining. He would be on anyone's short list of the best Civil War historians, and is the History Book Club's reviewer for new Civil War books. His books specialize on the Confederate side of the recent unpleasantness between the states. Like his other books, this one is well worth reading for his illuminating insight into topics such as the relationship of Jefferson Davis to his generals, especially Lee, Johnston, Beauregard, Jackson, and Breckinridge; the Confederate secret service and the 1864 U.S. presidential election; and the reasons behind the development of the post-Confederate philosophy known as the Lost Cause. Only one chapter deals with the lost cause--for a detailed book on the lost cause, read Gary Gallagher and Alan Nolan's "The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History." But Davis's Cause Lost is a must read for anyone interested in the Civil War. ... Read more

8. Commanders of the Civil War
by William C. Davis
Hardcover: Pages (1990-12)
list price: US$24.98 -- used & new: US$11.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0831715057
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars "The rule of the day was that there were no strict rules of procedure. What was policy was simply whatever means succeeded ."

There is virtually no end to the books that have been published on the Civil War.
This is a very large book,10 1/2 X 13 1/2 incheswith 256 pages. When first seeing it, one might be tempted to write it off as just another glossy coffee table book. That would be a big mistake. This is one of 3 books in the Rebels & Yankees Series,by two who have great knowledge,involvement and experience andwho have done much consulting work on TV,Films,Museums and other historical efforts on the Civil War.
When I first thumbed through the book, I was immediately impressed by the artwork on the cover and drawings of men and officers in military dress. These are actually more than just drawings; they are full page works of supurb art and detail. The book is loaded with some of the best photographs taken during the war which are used to explain much that is glossed over in Civil War mooks ;that tend to concentrate on the battles. Then we are also given dozens of excellent photographic plates showing, as well as explaining,the uniforms,equipment,pistols and swords that were actually the ones used by the well known as well as those not so well known. These photographs were made from artifacts now held in the best museums in the country.
Not only is the artwork and photography outstanding; the text throughoutextremely informative;but it also covers a lot that is not usually found in history books.
The book does a teriffic job of showing how in 1861,there were a relatively few militarily trained, organized or equipped men in the the country and how the great armies were put together in such a short time. The book deals mainly on how the officers were created and how and why some were successful as well as why those who were not,got into the positions they held. Personally,I've often wondered how come some of the great Generals were only in their twenties. After reading this book,I have a much better understanding. Another thing that often made me wonder was the variety of both weapons and uniforms;which is well explained. Another thing that intrigued me was the ever present image of the fancy swords carried by all the officers.The role of those is also explained.
There is still one thing that I still wonder about is the gold boxed epaulettes that appear in every photograph of officer's uniforms and equipment. In all the actual photogrphs as well as the portraitsthe epaullettes almost never appear.They seem to have been used on only 'dress" or very formal occassions. For instance the portraits of Grant and Sherman on page 172, or Lee on page 195 don't have them .That being said,they do appear once in a while as we see on page 10; or at the Cavalry School of Practice on page 220.
The book is of excellent construction with fine paper,printing,color rendition and binding. The hard cover even has a glossy surface identical to the dust jacket. It is hard to imagine anyone with an interest in the Civil War who would not be impressed with the effort that went into this book and the results achieve.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Done!
Davis and Pritchard have created a wonderful work that is sure to become a hit with anyone who studies the Civil War. This book uses words and a generous amount of pictures to tell the story of the leaders, both talented and flawed that held together the two struggling armies in a time of chaos and devastating loss. Although many of the stories have been told in one form or another, "Commanders..." compiles this study in a single book that makes it very easy to compare and contrast the styles and techniques employed by officers of both armies. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it to others. I look forward to reading the next book in the 'Rebels and Yankees' series. ... Read more

9. William S. Hart: Projecting the American West
by Ronald L. Davis
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2003-08)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$25.24
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Asin: 0806135581
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Stage actor turned Hollywood star, William S. Hart (1864-1946) was for movie fans a cherished symbol of the romantic Old West. His silent westerns offered excitement, lessons in righteous behavior, and a nostalgic vision of the American frontier. This intriguing biography explores the personal and professional life of Hollywood's prototypical cowboy hero. Born in Newburgh, New York, Hart grew up in a Victorian atmosphere that gave rise to the rigid morality prevalent in many of his films. From 1914 to 1924, he appeared in or produced more than sixty movies, but it was not until he abandoned Shakespearean characters for parts in The Squaw Man and The Virginian that Hart truly assumed his western persona. For the first time, readers are given insights into Hart's somewhat lonely and tragic personal life, his quarrels with exploitive studios, and his association with such latter-day frontier legends as Charles M. Russell, Bat Masterson, and Wyatt Earp, who regarded him as a kindred spirit. Other highlights of this book include excerpts from his previously unpublished letters to starlet Jane Novak, Hart's one-time fiancée, as well as numerous photographs from studio and private collections.

Drawing on Hart's papers, primary sources of the Motion Picture Academy, oral histories, and contemporary newspapers, this chronicle of Hart's life is the first since his own starry-eyed autobiography, My Life East and West, appeared in 1929. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars No heart for Hart
It is a a disgrace that an author can project his or her personal opinions in subtle but obvious "digs" without a full disclaimer in the preface. So much for scholarly ehthics in this day of easily attainable PhDs. Find another source for info on Mr Hart

3-0 out of 5 stars The Cinema's Western Pioneer
This long-overdue study on Western icon William S. Hart (1864-1946) provides new archival information and a better understanding of the actor-filmmaker's forced retirement from the silver screen. However, author Ronald L. Davis offers minimal analysis on Hart's work - particularly his silent classics "Hell's Hinges" (1916), "The Toll Gate" (1920) and "Tumbleweeds" (1925) - which this book desperately needs. For scholars and researchers, it would be helpful to know how many films survive from Hart's 11-year career. "Projecting the American West" takes the right path, but the movie pioneer's life and art deserve further exploration.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Note to Dr Davis
I just know it could have been a lot better.Davis is talented at picking his subjects, from John Ford to Linda Darnell to Van Johnson, for in each case we wanted to know a whole lot about each personality, and then he had the additional gift of being able to do thorough research, and yet somewhere between the wish and the execution the person slips away, but it just might be that Davis isn't a very good writer, at least in the traditional sense of making people come alive.I think I wound up knowing less about William Hart after reading the book than I did before, because now I'm just confused.

His antagonistic thrust against Hart is puzzling.If Hart was such a bad actor and negligible screen presence, why did people adore him and how did he stay on top of the screen world for so long?Davis never answers these questions.When he wrote about poor Van Johnson, he explained away Johnson's reign on top of the box office charts by, pretty much, MGM paying for it (cheating, as it were).But in Hart's case, was he able to make literally hundreds of films through payola?I don't think so!Come on, Ronald Davis, next time write a book about someone you really like!We haven't seen your sympathetic side yet, just your Kitty Kelley sneer side.

4-0 out of 5 stars Prototype of the Western Star
William S. Hart and Tom Mix helped establish the model of the western action star.Mix was a lovable character on screen who presaged Gene Autry, and Hart expressed a deeply thoughtful, stoic, Shakespearean quality that survived into the best work of Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood.Ronald Davis provides the first indepth look at Hart's life and craft.Hart is not always a pleasant person, but great artists often do not fit the mode of a "nice guy."Hart was deeply interested in the West and formed close friendships with some of the region's great characters (such as Wyatt Earp) in an attempt to broaden his understanding of what the "West" meant.This biography is well written and reads nicely, drawing on newly available letters from Hart's collection.Anyone interested in early Hollywood or the development of the Western should have this book on their shelf.Let's hope Davis will turn his attention to that other great early Western star, Tom Mix.

3-0 out of 5 stars Useful But Unsympathetic
This slender volume offers an overview of Hart's life and an appraisal of his work, without detailed analysis of individual films.

Unfortunately, the tragic view of life which was central to Hart's personality and art appears to arouse the author's hostility. In fact, Prof. Davis has little use for Hart as a human being, assaulting him with a wide range of denigratory epithets: "rigid", "melodramatic", "immature", "self-pitying", "whining", and even "wimpish"(!).Hart's famous 1939 spoken introduction to TUMBLEWEEDS, which most viewers find quite moving, is here described as "bombastic".In short, the reader is caught in a clash of personalities between author and subject.

The book's greatest asset is an abundance of new biographical information, gleaned from Hart's own letters and other sources, pertaining mostly to his later years.

Diane Koszarski's COMPLETE FILMS OF WILLIAM S. HART, with its excellent introductory essay, is a good introduction to this film-maker's work.Despite Prof. Davis' efforts, there is still a need for full-length biographical study which takes Hart seriously as a person and as an artist. ... Read more

10. Taste for War: The Culinary History of the Blue and the Gray
by William Davis
 Hardcover: 226 Pages (2003-01-01)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$27.00
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Asin: 1422391701
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"[Hardtack was] positively unsuitable fodder for anything that claimsto be human...and I think it no exaggeration to say that anyintelligent pig possessing the least spark of pride would haveconsidered it a pure insult to have them put into his swill." (WilburFisk, Civil War soldier).We know the uniforms they wore, the weaponsthey carried, and the battles they fought, but what did they eat and,of even greater curiosity, was it any good? Now, for the very firsttime, the food that fueled the armies of the North and the South andthe soldiers' opinions of it--ranging from the sublime to justslime--is front and center in a biting, fascinating look at the CivilWar as written by one of its most respected historians. There's even acomprehensive "cookbook" of actual recipes included for those intrepidenough to try a taste of the Civil War. ... Read more

11. Operating Systems: A Systematic View (6th Edition)
by William S. Davis, T.M. Rajkumar
Paperback: 688 Pages (2004-05-01)
list price: US$140.00 -- used & new: US$74.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0321267516
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This sixth edition provides students with an applied introduction to the principles of operating systems while guiding them through most operating systems used today. Aimed at students who are interested in using, rather than designing, computer operating systems and networks, the text is designed to show why operating systems are needed and what they do. This book takes students through the principles of OS and illustrates them with a wealth of examples. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book for the newbie
I'd purchased this book for a computer class & I have to say that I did like the book. I'll admit, it wasn't the most thrilling textbook I had to read, but it did list things pretty clearly.

The beginning of the book had some pretty basic stuff, which I already knew but I suppose that there's people out there who are even more of a newbie than I am & didn't know some of that stuff.

This is a good textbook, but I'm interested in seeing what the next edition has in comparison to this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very well written.
However, one should have some basic understandings before start reading this book.
You can learn everything about the main types operating systems from it .

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome buy
The book was great at a great price. Came new in the plastic and for half of what my college bookstore wanted. It came in the time they said it would and I am very happy with this purchase.

5-0 out of 5 stars TextBook review
Book is exactly as stated. A+++,, Shipping was fast... Will buy from the seller next time...

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent breadth and clarity, organization and details wanting
Unlike other OS books I've seen, A Systematic View is a clearly written, concise introduction to the foundations of operating systems -- or at least the first few chapters are. As noted by other reviewers, the book doesn't know where to go after the first section -- it meanders into too-brief-to-be-useful hands-on tutorial sections for the middle portion, then moves on to touch open a few particulars with a few popular systems in a way remniscent of excerpts from a heavier text before concluding with a section on distributed computing (the bulk of which concerns remote file access via CIFS/SMB). Scattered amongst the latter half of the book are some decent portions on virtual memory and x86 architectural features.

The book would benefit greatly from having the tutorials moved to online appendices, the OS-specific analysis moved to standard appendices, and the core principles delved into more deeply. Davis and Rajkumar could also do with a few more technical proofreaders; while grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors are kept to a minimum, terminology is used oddly at best throughout the work with many of the "real-world" examples being flat-out wrong.

Reservations aside, I have not found a more approachable introductory/survey text. It's just a pity that there are so many problems with it even in the 6th edition. With a bit of work this could be a respectable upper-division text, but at the moment I can only recommend it for two-year technical/community colleges. ... Read more

by William C. Davis
 Hardcover: Pages (1983)

Asin: B000UCSEHE
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13. Duel Between the First Ironclads
by William C. Davis
Paperback: 220 Pages (1981-05-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$6.98
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Asin: 0807108685
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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One was called "a tin can on a shingle"; the other, "a half-submerged crocodile." Yet, on a March day in 1862 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, after a five-hour duel, the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the U.S.S. Merrimack) were to change the course of not only the Civil War but also naval warfare forever. Using letters, diaries, and memoirs of men who lived through the epic battle of the Monitor and the Merrimack and of those who witnessed it from afar, William C. Davis documents and analyzes this famous confrontation of the first two modern warships. The result is a full-scale history that is as exciting as a novel. Besides a thorough discussion of the designs of each ship, Davis portrays come of the men involved in the building and operation of America's first ironclads-John Ericsson, supreme egoist and engineering genius who designed the Monitor; John Brooke, designer of the Virginia; John Worden, the well-loved captain of the Monitor; Captain Franklin Buchanan of the Virginia; and a host of other men on both Union and Confederate sides whose contributions make this history as much a story of men as of ships and war. William C. Davis is the editor of Civil War Times Illustrated and the author of Breckinridge: Statesman, Soldier, Symbol ; The Battle of New Market; Battle at Bull Run; and The Orphan Brigade. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars So Far the Best Text
I reviewed "The Battle Of The Ironclads" by Quarstein and called it the best book that I'd read on the Monitor and Virginia/Merrimack. That was before reading this book. This book has more source material and, consequently, more detail and is a better text. "The Battle Of The Ironclads" has more contemporary illustrations so both books complement each other in some ways. Despite the additional source material there are strange omissions in Davis' book, for one he does not mention why the Navy Department disliked Erickson: "The Princeton" affair wherein a gun, not designed by Erickson, blew up killing some high govenment officials when tested on the Princeton, a ship designed by Erickson, and Erickson was blamed for the deaths. Davis also casually mentions that the Confederacy was working on an ironclad called the Richmond when the Confederates abandoned the Norfolk Boatyard. In fact, work was proceeding on both the Richmond and Virginia simultaneously and it is possible that the Virginia could have been completed earlier with more devastating affect on the Union fleet if all work had concentrated on her.

Davis' work is the more scholarly of the two with an index and list of references. Either one is a great read with much detail and the true student of the Battle or of the Civil War will want to read both.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Account of the Battle of Hampton Roads
"Duel Between the First Ironclads" is probably the best book I have read about the historic clash between the CSS Virginia (Merrimac) and the USS Monitor.It relates the fascinating tale of the development and fight between the two great ironclads and their meeting on March 9, 1862.

William C. Davis is both a historian and a storyteller.He expertly weaves memoir and journal accounts from actual participants to reveal a human side to what many would consider 'dry' history.That Monitor and Virginia were the first Ironclads to meet in battle is notable.But it is the men who commanded those ships, fired their guns and worked their engines who were behind it all.Davis expertly captures that and brings it to life.It is this mesh of human drama and military might that makes this book so valuable.

Then there's the fact that it is simply well written, well paced and just entertaining.While this subject has been covered before in countless books on Civil War Naval history and military, none I have seen has gone into this much depth, both for the human side and the historical background.

I really enjoyed this one.I think it's written well enough that I could suggest this book to just about anyone who has an interest in military history, or just likes a good story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written and well researched.
Wiliam C. Davis chronicles the race to build the ironclads as well as the dramatic battle that ended unresolved.All of the colorful charactors on both sides of the war are portrayed as both human and visionary, in theirdesperate gamble to win..More importantly, however, Mr. Davis places thisbattle into its proper context as a crucial turning point in military andnaval history.The chapter on the development of ironclad technology afterthe battle and war is the proper ending. For the first time, the trueimportance of this battle and the race to build the ironclads was broughthome to me. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bad Title, Great Book
The USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (ex-Merrimack) were not the "first" ironclads... rather, it was the First Duel of Ironclads.It can only be supposed that the title was forced on Mr. Davis by thepublisher.Still... this is perhaps the best of all books on the historicfight between the Monitor and the Virginia, stirringly re-created and wellannotated, and is a vital work for anyone wanting to know what reallyhappened on the water in the Civil War.Highly recommended. ... Read more

14. The Battlefields of the Civil War: The Bloody Conflict of the North Against South Told Through the Stories of Its Great Battles (Rebels & Yankees Series)
by William C. Davis
 Hardcover: Pages (1996-08)
list price: US$27.98 -- used & new: US$13.95
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Asin: 0765198363
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars a good basic source of information
Final book of the Rebels & Yankees series.

Having covered the men and commanders it is only appropriate that the battlefields on which they faught and died be covered. This book does the job quite well as well as completes the trilogy .

Well illustrated and well written. The maps are most informative. My only complaint is that it only covers Mobile bay as a sample naval battle even though there were others just as significant to the conflict.

A good book to have for those interested in this subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This book is really good because it uses very detailed maps and pictures of relics found at the battlefields.The description of what happened during each battle is written so well you feel as though your actuallythere.I would recomend this book to anyone who is interested in the CivilWar. ... Read more

15. Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour
by William C. Davis
Paperback: 816 Pages (1996-04)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$8.99
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Asin: 0807120790
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jefferson Davis: The Man behind the Myths
Perhaps no American is so misunderstoond and so reviled by so many people as Jefferson Davis, and yet so very little of the man is actually known. It is then perhaps an irony that no one man was so saddened at the division of the nation as was Jefferson Davis.

In his lifetime, Jefferson Davis was considered one the brightest lights in Washington, if not in all of America. No one Southener fought so hard to both preserve the nation and a way of life as did Jefferson Davis. There is no denying his love of country, of state, and of home. His compassion, though misplaced, for his slaves, was just as sincere, and as the author shows, their love for Davis was equally as real (in fact, late in life, it was a former slave who was his truest friend and defender).

While so much has been written about Lincoln, very little of his counterpart is known by many. This is the best source yet written about this complex, and ultimately tragic man. An excellent book for anyone wanting to known more about the real Jefferson Davis and his Times.

5-0 out of 5 stars Compelling Narrative & Well Researched
It's not always easy to write a compelling 700 page biography of a man who is viewed negatively by most people today and many in his own day.But William C. Davis managed to do it in Jefferson Davis: The Man & His Hour.
The author Davis, a longtime historian, takes up the subject of Confederate president Davis (no relation) in an extremely well-researched and readable narrative that covers Davis' life from birth to death.As the author points out, the main reason that Davis is known today was because of his role in the American Civil War, and therefore much of the book is dedicated to that enthralling four-year period from 1861-1865.But Davis's life involved much more than that period alone.
The youngest child in a large family, Jefferson Finis Davis was born in 1808 to parents who aptly named their child, hoping (rightly so) that he would be their last child.Born in Kentucky, Davis was ultimately raised in Mississippi.After a brief stint at Transylvania University, he accepted an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.Always fiery and opinionated, Davis was a less than stellar, albeit popular student who made friends and enemies that would last a lifetime.After graduating, he continued his military career and eventually became a war in hero in the brief Mexican War of 1846-1848.
As a young man, Davis married the daughter of Zachary Taylor, his commanding officer and future U.S. President.Although Taylor initially did not want his daughter Sarah to marry a soldier, he eventually reluctantly consented when Davis resigned the service and moved back to his native Mississippi.But early summer was not a good time for the newlyweds to move to the tropical climate and both soon came down with malaria.Davis almost died.Sarah did.A mere two months into their marriage.Young Jefferson Davis was utterly devastated.
For the next ten years, Davis became a reclusive farmer.His older brother Joseph, more than twenty years his senior, served as a father -figure to Jefferson and gave him a portion of his land to manage.For the next decade he worked with his brother managing the plantation and he largely kept to himself.But eventually he became involved in local politics, and he found romance once again.
At the age of 35, Davis met the young Varina Howell and married the 17 year old girl who would eventually become the First Lady of the Confederacy.Around this same time, Davis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.At times, the marriage was strained as the firm and opinionated Jefferson learned to live with the much younger and equally opinionated Varina.But eventually their union became a blissful one, producing several children.
Davis never finished his term in Congress because of the outbreak of the Mexican War.He resigned so he could serve as Colonel in the 1st Mississippi volunteers.After he came home a hero, he attempted a run for governor, but was defeated.From 1853-1857, he served in the cabinet of President Franklin Pierce as Secretary of War; ironically building up a United States military that he would one day fight against as Confederate President.
After his stint in Pierce's cabinet, Davis was elected U.S. Senator from Mississippi, this being the last office that Davis would hold in the Union.In 1861, he resigned from the Senate and returned to Mississippi to await what would happen as the Southern states seceded, eventually forming the Confederate States of America.He was appointed by the governor to serve as Brigadier General of Mississippi volunteers and desperately hoped to be a commanding general in the coming war, but fate had other plans.He was unanimously selected to serve as President of the new nation and was summoned to Montgomery, Alabama the first capital of the C.S.A.Davis claims to have never wanted the position, but rather accepted it out of a sense of duty.His hope was that once the government was firmly established he would return to field service, but his election to a six-year term in 1862 ended such hopes.
As President, Davis tried to establish a new government, while also serving as Commander-in-Chief to a fledgling nation fighting a war for independence.A bureaucrat by nature, Davis at times struggled in his role as chief executive.He idolized some generals, like Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston; while he loathed others, namely Joseph Johnston and Pierre Beauregard.He was loyal to a fault to those he considered friends, while sometimes irrationally critical to those he deemed enemies.
William Davis, while writing honestly about the President's many faults, also manages to bring out the tender human side of Davis.He was a man intensely sensitive to the feelings of others; and a father who reveled in playing with his children.Publicly considered cold and aloof, Davis could be quite warm and engaging when he visited with friends in private.For most of his time as President, he carried a tremendous burden and it usually showed in his outer actions and demeanor.
During the war, Davis was baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church and seems to have been a committed Christian for the remainder of his life.In fact, Davis was sitting in church on a Sunday morning when he received an urgent telegram from Robert E. Lee that he must evacuate Richmond at once.Davis and his cabinet complied and began to flee south temporarily establishing capitals in Danville, Virginia and Greensboro, North Carolina.Having already sent Varina and the children ahead several days earlier, he eventually caught up with them and they were reunited, though the reunion would prove to be brief.
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln made Davis a wanted man.In the hysteria following Lincoln's murder, Davis and other high ranking Confederate were suspected as conspirators.Some wanted him captured, tried, and hung for murder or treason.He was eventually captured near Irwinville, Georgia in May of 1865.
The next two years would be some of the most trying of Davis' life as he sat imprisoned awaiting what charges might be filed against him.As word leaked to the public of the persecution Davis was experiencing at the hands of his jailers an ironic sympathy began to grow for him, even in the North.Some demanded he be released on bail and brought to a "speedy trial" but in truth the Federal government had no idea what to do with him.They feared a public trial that might lead to his acquittal, so eventually, he was released.
The next ten years of Davis's life were difficult as he sought to somehow make a living and rebuild his life.He spent time in Canada and England before eventually moving to Memphis where he served as President of the Carolina Life Insurance Company.But the economy destroyed the company and Davis had to look for other work.Ultimately he moved to Biloxi, Mississippi where he was given a rent-free house to work on his memoirs.The Rise & Fall of the Confederate Government was a lengthy two volume work that Davis wrote with the help of others to give an accurate defense of his actions during the war.The book did not sell well and Davis probably received nothing in royalties from the work.But he did have a new home.The rent-free estate Beauvoir was left to him in the will of the woman who owned it and Davis would spend the rest of his life there.
Davis died in 1889 from complications from pneumonia.Varina and two daughters survived him, though four sons and a daughter preceded him in death.He was initially interred in New Orleans, but later moved to the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, the city that made him famous.
William Davis' book is an excellent account of the enigmatic Jefferson Davis.Highly readable and interesting, William Davis manages to give an honest account of Davis' shortcomings while also adequately telling of his positive traits.Some authors manage to convey scads of facts, while others are short on facts but excel in compelling narrative.William C. Davis does both. Not only did I learn a lot about Davis, I also came away with a greater respect for the many struggles he endured in life.Any study of Jefferson Davis should include this book as a solid reference for the Confederacy's only President.


5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent analysis of the man and his time
Davis presents casual readers and historians with an excellent bio of Davis and his tenure as president of the short-lived Confederate nation. His meticulous research is evident in this interesting account of the man AND his motivations. I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Davis address a Civil War Round Table shortly after the publication of this book. His other works, especially "The Deep Waters of the Proud" are also highly recommended

4-0 out of 5 stars Davis on Davis.
William Davis has written many has written many wonderful books about the Civil War and quite frankly he has come a long way as a writer since he wrote this book. In this book all too often his sentence structure is poor and I had to read some sentences two or three times to see what he meant. There are also a few typos in this edition but that is hardly Davis' fault. On the other hand there is a reference in the book about Bedford Forrest being from Alabama which is hard to explain.Overall though this book is well written and will certainly hold the reader's attention.

All in all, this is an excellent biography of Jefferson Davis. I would suggest that anyone who reads this book also read William Cooper's biography of Davis because the two authors take different approaches to their subject and together they offer a great insight into the life of President Davis.

This biography tends to delve more into the personality quirks that made Davis who he was and is sometimes very critical of these quirks. In fact, this book is sometimes much more critical of Davis than is Cooper but on the other hand there is plenty of praise for the subject also. The author tends to focus on Davis as commander in chief and generally on his relationship with his generals, especially Joe Johnston, Beauregard and Bragg. These three relationships Davis argues were devastating to the Confederacy and were examples of Jefferson Davis at his worst. Full credit is given to Davis however for realizing what he had in Robert E. Lee and for doing all he could to support his best general through good times and bad.

After all is said and done the author reaches what seems like a sound conclusion. Jefferson Davis probably did as well or better than any of the other possible choices the South could have picked as their leader. He made mistakes but it was he who set up the structure that kept the armies in the field for four years. Davis was the one who persuaded Congress to pass the laws that sent the armies men and food, Davis chose Lee for command when "Granny Lee" was not at all popular, and Davis dealt with the obstinate Governors who tried to keep men and arms to themselves when they were desperately needed elsewhere. In short, Davis held the new nation together longer than most any other Southern leader could have.

Finally, the author deals quite well with the process that brought Davis to near sainthood in the South after the war. It was a process that started with his imprisonment in Fort Monroe and ended with one of the largest funerals in Southern history. Together, Cooper and Davis cover most every aspect of the life of Jefferson Davis and the two books compliment each other quite well. What Davis misses, Cooper takes care of and what Cooper only touches upon, Davis completes. These two books will serve as the most complete biographies of Jefferson Davis for years to come, and they may never be surpassed. ... Read more

16. Jefferson Davis, American
by William J. Cooper
Hardcover: 784 Pages (2000-11-07)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$63.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394569164
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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West Point graduate, secretary of war under President Pierce, U.S. senator from Mississippi-- how was it that this statesman and patriot came to be president of the Confederacy, leading the struggle to destroy the United States?

This is the question at the center of William Cooper's engrossing and authoritative biography of Jefferson Davis. Basing his account on the massive archival record left by Davis and his family and associates, Cooper delves not only into the events of Davis's public and personal life but also into the ideas that shaped and compelled him.

We see Davis as a devoted American, yet also as a wealthy plantation owner who believed slavery to be a moral and social good that could coexist with free labor in an undivided Union. We see how his initially reluctant support of secession ended in his absolute commitment to the Confederacy and his identification of it with the legacy of liberty handed down by the Founding Fathers. We see the chaos that attended the formation of the Confederate government while the Civil War was being fought, and the ever-present tension between the commitment to states' rights and the need for centralized authority. We see Davis's increasingly autocratic behavior, his involvement in military decision-making, and his desperation to save the Confederacy even at the expense of slavery. And we see Davis in defeat: imprisoned for two years, then, for the rest of his life, unrepentant about the South's attempt to break away, yet ultimately professing his faith in the restored Union.

This is the definitive life of one of the most complex and fascinating figures in our nation's history.Amazon.com Review
The title might seem odd, given that Jefferson Davis (1808-89) served as president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and never once, in the 34 years between the end of the war and his death, expressed any remorse for his part in the conflict that tore America apart. Yet, as historian William J. Cooper Jr. reminds us in his sober, comprehensive biography, Davis "saw himself as a faithful American ... a true son of the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers." Indeed, Davis's own father had fought in the Revolution, and Davis himself was a West Point graduate and Mexican War veteran. He declared January 21, 1861, "the saddest day of my life," as he resigned his U.S. Senate seat to follow his native state of Mississippi out of the Union; yet he also unflinchingly defended secession as a constitutionally guaranteed right. Cooper's measured portrait neither glosses over Davis's lifelong belief that blacks were inferior nor vilifies him for it: "My goal," he writes, "is to understand Jefferson Davis as a man of his time, not condemn him for not being a man of my time." The chapters on the Civil War show Davis intimately involved in military decisions, as well as in diplomatic attempts to gain foreign support for the Confederacy. Cooper acknowledges the irony of his subject--who interpreted the Constitution as strictly limiting federal authority--being forced by the war's exigencies to create a powerful, centralized Confederate government. Yet, this depiction of a forceful, self-confident Davis makes it clear that he never could have been anything but "a vigorous and potent chief executive." The author also paints an attractive picture of a warm family man who was devoted to his strong-minded wife and their children. Neither hagiography nor hatchet job, this evenhanded work sees Jefferson Davis whole. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but not a thriller; much focus on the war years
I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of Jefferson Davis, but I cannot say it was riveting or anything quite like that.It is a biography, albeit a wonderful one, and not a thriller.

That said, Davis had one of the most eventful, dynamic, and passionate lives that could be imagined, and Cooper does a great job of weaving it all together.There is ample discussion of both Davis's pre-politics and post-Confederacy years, but each war year still has its own chapter.At times, the writing switches topics unexpectedly, but never without having completed the previous point.All in all, Cooper mixes narrative with actual writings and contextual events to bring the reader into the essence of Davis. Still, this book gives a recount of his life while leaving the reader to guess as to how events shaped his character and inner thinking.

A note about the title: While it is "Jefferson Davis, American", it is not ardently pro-South or anything of the sort. Rather, the biography is written such that the reader understands how Davis saw himself and how his world saw him, and it is not about what people from our time might think (bad or good) if someone espoused Davis's political views today.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Big Life Covered in a Big Book
Cooper has put together a lot of information and made it readable. He did not produce a page turner, but he does not put you to sleep either.The book is not interpretive, but Davis is presented more as a hero than a traitor.

While I am not qualified to judge the completeness of the biography, it seemed complete until it ended abruptly with Davis's death. I did an internet search to learn more about the death and aftermath of Davis. The funeral was significant and should have had more than a mention in the book. While there is some information on Varina as a widow, given her outstanding role in this book (and JD's life), more detail on the widowhood should have been included in the biography. I don't know if there are other gaps.

There is a lot here. Davis led an outsized life, and a totally amazing one given the confines of his health and times. Just the amount of travel, in the 19th century mode, sometimes through war zones, is staggering. He was where the action was, be it as a child just happening to visit Andrew Jackson's Hermitage on the way to school or fighting a pivotal battle in the Mexican War or being at Zachary Taylor's side in death or fleeing Richmond just before it fell. He served as US Secretary of War and later as the Commander in Chief of the country's only domestic enemy. After the war he met leaders and luminaries at home and abroad.

He managed his plantation (earning him $40,000/yr making him one of the richest men in Mississippi) from remote, but in government, he was a fanatical micro-manager. Later in life as the COO of an insurance company, he was obviously not micro-managing the receipts and expenditures. Despite his fame, he could not make ends meet in the "Gilded Age". He turned down college presidencies because they did not pay well enough. He made a point of not accepting charity, but accepted free residence and board from admirer, and later inherited the woman's full estate.

Cooper seems to take Davis at his word on his lack of responsibility for the southern secession; I do not. I read the quotes in this book as showing how Davis sowed regional paranoia. Davis framed issues that had little practical effect on Mississippi voters such as to the location of the western border of Texas or the ability of slave owners (what % of the population?) to take "their property" to Washington DC as major affronts to the Southern pride. His pre-war "we're not there yet" attitude towards secession certainly doesn't reflect a commitment to the Union. If he wasn't a "disunionist"/"secessionist" as he claimed, he completely converted to a fanatical one in less than 2 months after secession occurred. While Cooper does not fawn over or flatter Davis, he puts him, as the title suggests, in better light than I think is deserved.

As I read his words, I hear Davis making an elaborate defense for self interested actions. I hear him idealizing slavery because he needed it to run his plantation. I hear him inflatingthe impact of any new "free soil" state on the South to win elections. From this rhetoric, a war was created. From here, the "lost cause" had begun.

It's hard to believe that the Confederate leaders, who well knew the population and industrial balance of the north and south, could actually tell the citizens of their "new country" that they could build an army from scratch and win a war. It's also hard to believe that these leaders could print money with no backing, but Davis did just this. He cheerlead the cause even after Lee's surrender. He was obviously delusional at the end, but was he throughout? Did he, with his military background, once he realized there would be no foreign help, really believe the south could win this war? With Cooper's book as background, I hope to find and read interpretive work on Davis, and his also intriguing wife, Varina.

4-0 out of 5 stars Jefferson Davis,American
This book gives a thorough overview when it comes to Jefferson Davis as a military, politician and as a family man. It gives insight into the political thinking in North America and Europe before and after the middle of the 1800s.

This magnum opus delves into the interaction between Jefferson Davis and generals Robert E. Lee, and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. Jefferson Davis' role as a father is documented frequently throughout the whole book. All in all the author gives many new facets of a political landscape not too far away in time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well-Written Biography of the Civil War's Forgotten Man
When most people think of the Civil War, many almost immediately think of Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, or Stonewall Jackson.Somewhere down that list, people may recall Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy.In some ways, Jefferson Davis is the Civil War's most notable forgotten personality.

Jefferson Davis was one of America's best known political figures before the war, respected by citizens both North and South.He was a West Point graduate, successful planter, Mexican War hero, Secretary of War, served on the first board of regents for the Smithsonian Institution, and was twice a U.S. Senator.So, how does a man with that background ultimately come to lead the effort to break apart a nation he clearly loved?William Cooper's work is dedicated to answering that question, and he does so splendidly.

Cooper takes us along on Davis' journey from patriotism to insurrection and (somewhat) back again.The work is well written and moves along pretty well, so no need to be worried about its 700+ page length.The work is much more than a "this happened, then some other things happened" biography; the reader really feels like he begins to understand Jefferson Davis as a husband, father, and leader.

The only drawback to this book in my opinion was that coverage of the war years was a little thin.Certainly, there are many volumes devoted to the Civil War, and Cooper's biography isn't totally unfulfilling; however, I had hoped that there would be more explanations of Davis' conduct and decisions throughout the war.The personality conflicts between Davis, Joseph Johnston, and Pierre Beaureguard are well covered and extremely interesting.

Cooper's Jefferson Davis, American is an interesting study of a man overshadowed by his contemporaries.I highly recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Incomplete man and Incomplete book
Jefferson Davis was no saint. That much is made painfully obvious in this well-researched bio. He chose to cling to the stubborn idea that the South had every right to leave the union and that Blacks were inferior to Whites. True, a lot of folks at the time, northerners included, thought Blacks to be inferior but Davis clearly took it too far. Davis comes off as a complicated man that would Praise the Lord out of one side of his mouth, while excusing his own behavior as both a young man and an adult.

Cooper does a first-rate job in showing the dimensions of Davis' character.

Davis drank too much as a young man and never could settle on a good paying job after the Civil War. He kept thinking he was poor but he and his family never once missed a meal or did without a vacation here, a trip to Europe there. He took money from people who provided for him as the good former President of the confederacy. And, based on what I read, he most likely had an ongoing affair with a woman despite professing his love for his beloved Varina.

He had some serious character flaws.

Cooper does a great job in painting the picture but not judging his character flaws. And for that I would give this book five stars.

What really bothers me about this book are two things.

The author never really talks about how Davis was viewed after the Civil War in the North. Yes, the South continued to love him but he wrote a book that sold well I'm assuming throughout the U.S. Did people forgive the South? Did they forgive Jefferson? What did U.S. Grant think of Davis? What did any high-ranking member of Post-Civil War politics think of him or was he just a footnote?.... The People's President in the South but was he always reviled in the North. I imagine with all the death in the Civil War the North needed a fall guy. Was is Davis?

What bothered me even more was the abrupt ending to this book.

Davis' death is literally the last paragraph in the book. The author writes more than 700 pages on this man and then doesn't even tell me where he is buried. It doesn't talk about the funeral procession or what was said about him by influential people after his death. It was like... he died and I'm tired of writing.

I went on Wikipedia to find out when his wife died (15 years later about) and where he was buried. His body was actually moved a few times and then wound up in Richmond.

There are also many historical sites dedicated to Davis and the author doesn't talk about any of those. He doesn't talk about the fact that Beauvoir in Mississippi where Davis lived many of the later years of his life was almost destroyed in Katrina. This book was published in 2000, but maybe that should have been added to later editions.... just a thought.

This was a really great book and then just ended too abruptly. Did someone tell Cooper that it couldn't be over 700 pages long and then he decided to cut out 25 pages of this info at the end and leave some of the crap in the middle because like any 700 page bio there was probably 100 pages of crap that could've been pulled and it would've actually been a better book.

I would recommend it but was disappointed with some of the omission.

... Read more

17. Touched by Fire: A National Historical Society Photographic Portrait of the Civil War
Hardcover: 648 Pages (1997-01-12)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$9.55
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Asin: 1579120016
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This two-in-one volume features 1,200 rare photos of the soldiers, their machines, and the country the Civil War ravaged. The book focuses on the leaders and the infantry, the ideologies of the governments at war, the aspirations of the people that supported them, and the devastation wreaked on the nation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff
Excellent work, both in written descriptions of chapter intros and arrangement and collection of Civil War photographs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Touched By Fire
I bought this book for someone who is very involved in Civil War reenactment. He Loves it!

5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT COLLECTION!
This is one of the better collections, between two covers, of Civil War photographs I have come across and own.There are well over 1000 black and white photographs in this rather thick and heavy volume, each being well annotated and described.The quality of the vast majority of these pictures is of excellent quality.The overall theme is of course military in nature, although there are quite a number of works featuring civilian homes, business, farms and such.Many of the photographs themselves were taken by some of the greats, Gardner, O'Sullivan, Edwards, Petty, Russell and Brady, but the unknown photographer and the assistants of these men are well represented.

I have looked at and examined many works from this era over the years, but found many photographs in this book that simply have never been published before.The book is broken down into various categories such as Around the War, TheEmbattled Continent, The Men in the Ranks, Ships and Seamen, Johnny Reb, Billy Yank, The Men who Led, and many, many others.I was particularly interested in the section dealing with ships and seamen.I am not particularly interested in Naval Warfare, but some of these pictures are absolutely fascinating and this book contains quite a large collection.Another aspect I found most helpful was the photographs in the actual uniforms of the warriors, both sides being represented.These actual pictures are so much more accurate, interesting and telling than many of the renditions by modern artists.So often the difference in "ideal" and "reality" is quite striking. As a collector of the artifacts of this particular war, I found this to be most helpful.

This work also includes numerous articles addressing various aspects of the war.Each of these short essays and informative background pieces are quite well done and contain much interesting information.While I am normally not a big fan of "coffee table books," I see no other format that could handle the data presented here.Most of the photographs are large enough for even old eyes like mine to see.The other aspect of this work I enjoyed, is that there is just enough questionable information that could be somewhat challenged, to keep the most diehard Civil War nit-picker in complete bliss.Now the questionable information found here is indeed questionable itself, and as to weather it is correct or incorrect is, for the most part, in they eye of the beholder.It is in the nature of Civil War Buffs to be so though, so this is fine.

All in all, this is a wonderful addition to any library concerning this event in our nation's history and I do highly recommend it.I like to leave through this one ever so often as with each reading I find something that I had previously missed.

5-0 out of 5 stars A massive, intense look at the Civil War
This book is a remarkable collection of Civil War images. They're striking, disgusting, personal, posed, spontaneous, beautiful, ugly, brutal, profound, fascinating or plain old interesting, extraordinary,run of the mill, boring, and with all of them this collection gives you an amazing glimpse of life. It's a smorgasbord of pictures, from people, to landscapes, to architecture, to machinery of war; the death and destruction, or the grandiosity and pomp, this has it all, and much more.

Even if you're a Civil War buff, you probably won't have seen most of these photographs. I believe there are about 1,000+ in this, and it's immensity and diversity bombards you with a continual, ongoing, and very varied glimpse into that time and that life (A note though, the focus of the book is 95% military, with very few photographs of civilians. They are in there, but usually in a military setting.) It doesn't take long to get through, I've managed in half an hour, and I've read it dozens of times now. The images pull you back, as there is always something to discover or appreciate or wonder at hidden inside the photo.

William Davis' commentary ispretty and emotional and light. He doesn't write a history lesson here, the photos take care of that, but enough to put things in perspective.

It's been said (over and over and over) that an image can speak a thousand words, and although it's a well worn cliche, it's one of the truest of cliches. I find that photographs, Civil War included, help me to have a greater understanding of the world, of history, because they almost reach in and suspend a moment for all time, and within that moment are cross-sections of existence. They can teach you as well, better in certain ways, as any lesson or research book or whatnot. "Touched By Fire" is no exception, and is one of the best Civil War books I own for it's sheer size and power and grand capturing of life during the Civil War.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Photographic History
If Civil War photographs are as fascinating to you as to me, this topically arranged volume has hundreds of examples for your perusal, many never seen before.The short essays range in quality from the well crafted to the pedantic, depending on their author's creativity.The captions also vary widely.Some reflect the critical eye of William Frassanito, the "photographic consultant," while others add little to the image and occasionally distract from it. ... Read more

18. Jefferson Davis: The Essential Writings (Modern Library Classics)
by Jefferson Davis
Paperback: 496 Pages (2004-08-10)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$10.31
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812972082
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Jefferson Davis is one of the most complex and controversial figures in American political history (and the man whom Oscar Wilde wanted to meet more than anyone when he made his tour of the United States). Elected president of the Confederacy and later accused of participating in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he is a source of ongoing dissension between northerners and southerners. This volume, the first of its kind, is a selected collection of his writings culled in large part from the authoritative Papers of Jefferson Davis, a multivolume edition of his letters and speeches published by the Louisiana State University Press, and includes thirteen documents from manuscript collections and one privately held document that have never before appeared in a modern scholarly edition. From letters as a college student to his sister, to major speeches on the Constitution, slavery, and sectional issues, to his farewell to the U.S. Senate, to his inaugural address as Confederate president, to letters from prison to his wife, these selected pieces present the many faces of the enigmatic Jefferson Davis.

As William J. Cooper, Jr., writes in his Introduction, “Davis’s notability does not come solely from his crucial role in the Civil War. Born on the Kentucky frontier in the first decade of the nineteenth century, he witnessed and participated in the epochal transformation of the United States from a fledgling country to a strong nation spanning the continent. In his earliest years his father moved farther south and west to Mississippi. As a young army officer just out of West Point, he served on the northwestern and southwestern frontiers in an army whose chief mission was to protect settlers surging westward. Then, in 1846 and 1847, as colonel of the First Mississippi Regiment, he fought in the Mexican War, which resulted in 1848 in the Mexican Cession, a massive addition to the United States of some 500,000 square miles, including California and the modern Southwest. As secretary of war and U.S. senator in the 1850s, he advocated government support for the building of a transcontinental railroad that he believed essential to bind the nation from ocean to ocean.”

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jeff Davis, An Authentic Man
Davis's humanity comes across in poignant, almost heartbreakingly vivid style, in particular when he is forwarding his love to his children in one of the many letters to his wife, Varina. Also so much more vivid than in any other "Civil War book" are the hundreds of travails and picayune distractions he endured as chief executive of the Confederacy, and his desperate attempts to hold back the invasion of his country from all points. I never before realized how really hopeless the Southern war of independence was, facing what they ultimately had to face.Reading these accounts, unless they have been severely skewed to whitewash Davis, I cannot believe charges that he mismanaged the war or his country.

Davis's authority and resolve grow throughout the course of the book. And his often lengthy letters recreate in vivid detail the context in which he writes. He has a wonderful (for us) habit of recounting all that has occurred that prompted each letter or report or speech, and thus little editorial explanation is really required. Sometimes, however, his accounts of events are almost diffident and self-effacing, and lack true context, as for example in his official report of his tactical decisions at the battle of Buena Vista in the Mexican War. The context, of course, is that it was a splendid victory, and he returned home to Mississippi as a war hero and important national figure. During writings like these, I longed for a more intrusive role from the editor, but Davis's words are left to speak for themselves.

One of Davis's most remarkable attributes is how strikingly different his written communiques are from his speeches. The first are straightforward, almost as functionary as that Mexican War report. His speeches, however, are powerful and full of ringing phrases and colorful metaphors and similes. It is true that Davis studied rhetoric and highly prized the flourishes and style of the classical orator, but we have here before us vivid proof of his extempore style in glorious bloom, filled with clarity and humor. His written prose often sits a bit sullenly on the page.

This selection of writings also makes plain Davis's unapologetic views on slavery and blacks, along with his clear-eyed opinions of states' rights versus federalism, the U.S. Constitution, and the right of secession. Time and again he details ideas that seem shocking to us today: he justifies slavery because blacks can't take care of themselves, or because it exposes them to Christianity. He believed slavery also to be good for whites, because it "elevates" poor Southern whites to work above the menial, and to enjoy an equality with the wealthy. Some of these views seem laughable and antique (if not deplorable) to our 21st Century ears. Some of them even appear apologetic and self-serving. But Davis was no hypocrite; further, his writings (and the writings elsewhere of many others) point up how contemporary Northerners (excluding, officially, abolitionists) felt complete distain for blacks. He also notes the shocking scenes of extreme white poverty he saw in Northern cities, and the sweat-shop conditions of working whites in Northern factories, virtually slavery. Davis's point to Northern moralizing was simple: Put your own house in order before condemning and trammeling on the institutions of others.

Most dramatically, Davis comes across not as a secessionist. His closest equivalent today would be the "strict constructionist" judges and politicians who believe the U.S. Constitution meant exactly what it said. And what it said was, slavery is legal, the states are voluntary members of a voluntary union, and people have a right to their property (even if that property is another human). Davis condemned Northern-sponsored restrictions on the rights of slave-owners to migrate with their slaves to the western territories. Others could bring their property with them to these new lands, presumably held in common by every American; why not slave holders? Davis saw Northern agitators, attacking legal institutions which Southerners had inherited, as the true instigators of disunion. Throughout the war, he insists again and again, the Yankees had usurped the true American nation, forcing out Southerners now intent on recreating the original vision of the Founding Fathers.

Depending on your point of view, Davis either was out of step with the times, or a man refusing to yield on a point of principle. In reality, he straddled a critical transition between the old ways and the new. Like standing over an earthquake fissure, he had to jump one way or the other. He and his countrymen jumped firmly on the side of the old, and the South went down in flames. But Davis never went down. He was unreconstructed to the end, the original father and symbol of the Southern cause. Who knows ... he may have hated the role. But he played it out perfectly to the end.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent, gripping, comprehensive
Jefferson Davis remains a dark, remote Civil War figure, hardly as romantic as Lincoln or as inspiring as Lee.

What William C. Davis has done is to make both the man and the forces that gave him fire and light more immediate and tangible.

Weaving through the myriad controversiesand struggles of the pre-Civil War, Civil War and post war years, theauthor somehow manages to explain endless geographical, political andsocietal issues without ever losing sight of Davis' central role inthem.

A dense but vastly entertaining book that even readers who are notinterested in the Civil War would find fascinating.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating version of Jeff Davis and the Confederacy.
Really enjoyed listening to this book, especially the themes in which Jeff Davis' strengths and flaws were carry on throughout his entire adult life.The last few tapes are outstanding on how the confederacy got reduced to awell guarded 3 mile wagon train.

5-0 out of 5 stars superb work by a master historical author.
William C. Davis has written THE biography of Jefferson Davis. The book not only reads as easily as a novel, it also has been meticulously researched. Keep your eye on this Davis. He is fast becoming one of America's best popular historian. ... Read more

19. Retaking the Universe: William S. Burroughs in the Age of Globalization
by Davis Schneiderman, Philip Walsh
Paperback: 328 Pages (2004-05-20)
list price: US$34.00 -- used & new: US$0.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0745320813
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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William S. Burroughs is one of America's most influential and widely studied writers. A leading member of the Beat movement, his books and essays continue to attract a wide readership. His films, paintings, recordings and other projects that grew out of his literary work, together with his iconic persona as a counter-culture (anti-)hero, mean his work has become a broad cultural phenomenon.

This collection of essays by leading scholars offers an interdisciplinary consideration of Burroughs's work. It links his lived experience – as junkie, bohemian, queer, drug-addict, visionary and much else besides – to his many major prose works written from 1953 on, as well his sound, cinema and media projects. Moving beyond the merely literary, the contributors argue for the continuing social and political relevance of Burroughs's work for the emerging global order.

Themes include: Burroughs and contemporary theory; debates on 'reality'; violence; magic and mysticism ; cybernetic cultures; language and technology; control and transformation; transgression and addiction; the limits of prose; image politics and the avant-garde. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Accessible Studies of Burroughs
This text joins what appears to be a growing number of books collecting critical essays on Burroughs' work.

The attempts to address Burroughs' relevance in the "Age of Globalization" are tenuous at best; Some authors wisely avoid the subject altogether, while others make a very shoddy job of it. It seems this was a term employed just to sell the concept of the book.

The earlier essays in the text, drawing parallels betweens Burroughs' work and other contemporary movements (Surrealism, Dadaism, etc.) are the most valuable.

Halfway through the book, however, one author writes his essay in a way that can only be described as "fan fiction," and things start to go downhill from there. I actually had to stop reading the book toward the very end, in the middle of a ridiculous essay that tried to connect dots between Burroughs and Crowley. There may be some connections worth mentioning between the two, but they were not at all well illustrated here; citing trends in the comic book industry didn't help the authors' cause or credibility. This, after a too long (and very messy) essay that tried to squeeze Burroughs' humor through some of the most excruciatingly dull scholarly language...

That aside, the book was not a total waste of time for this long-time Burroughs scholar. Start with the "At The Front" collection for a much better survey of Burroughs essays through the years.

3-0 out of 5 stars All agents defect - wouldn't you?
Even the best ¨critical¨ ¨theory¨ is just stuff that's been made up to sound big and clever - and this anthology's no different. Some of the pieces are better than others - in that they correlate more with my personal prejudices. One might expect a book about WSB and Globalisation to critique Burroughs's engagement with the Control Machine: Nike/Gap ads, work with corp-rockers U2 blah blah, publication by Murdoch and so on. Strangely this is all omitted. There's not much point pretending it didn't happen just coz it's too hard for you. At least WSB never pretended he was a lefty like these guys do. ... Read more

20. Barack Obama: The Politics of Hope (Shapers of America)
by William Michael Davis
Paperback: 168 Pages (2007-10-15)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$16.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1595560327
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Biography of the Senator from Illinois who has launched a bid for the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential nomination. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars This book should be kept from children
A completely biased political indroctrination piece on perhaps the most dangerous, inexperienced president we have known.


1) Would You Pick These People As Your Advisors?Obama Did.

- Anita Dunn, former White House Communications Director is on record statingMao Tse Tung & Mother Theresa are her two favorite philosophers.She actually defended the Mao statement

- Van Jones, former Green Jobs Czar, who claimed he became a Marxist while in prison. Was ousted only after signing petitions claiming Bush Administration carried out 9/11

- Cass Sunstein the Regulator Czar who questioned the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms & who's 2004 book states he believes animals should be permitted to bring suit, w/ human beings as their representatives

- Science Czar John Holdren who co-authored a book Ecoscience where he proposed population controls by putting sterilants in drinking water & forced abortions

- Energy Czar, Carol Browner was an official member of Socialist Internationals Commission For A Sustainable World Society til summer 08, a group who's key position is that rich countries must shrink their economies to address Global Warming

- Mark Lloyd, FCCDiversity Czar -he praises the "democratic revolution and rise to power" of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Calls for white media execs to set down so minorities can take their place

- Tim Geithner.Failed to pay his taxes for 4 years.When caught by the IRS for 2 years, he paid them but not the other 2. Only paid them when appointed Sec. Of Treasury, which if you don't know, runs the IRS.His AIG ties are another disturbing matter you can look up for yourself.

After being associated with the vile Reverend Wright or terrorist bomber William Ayeres, their backgrounds come as no surprise to me.

2) Would You Defend Tillman Act?

The Presidents State Of The Union Address public criticism Of Courts Decision On Citizens United Vs. Federal Elections Commission is wrong and ironic.
Aside from the decisions support of our 1st amendment that says that congress shall pass no law abridging the freedom of speech, it also threw out Tillman Act passed in 1907.
The act is named for Senator Benjamin Ryan "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman (1847-1918) (D-SC).He was one of the most despicable men to have ever served in the US Senate andis said to have done more to establish the Jim Crow system in the South than any other single person.In the post-War south, he was a leader of the "Red Shirts", a terrorist paramilitary group organized to attack and intimidate blacks and Republicans.
His Red Shirts' campaign of murder, violence, and fraud led to the defeat of South Carolina's integrated reconstruction Republican government. Arguing that, "The negro must remain subordinated or be exterminated,"He openly called for the murder of blacks in order to, "keep the white race at the top of the heap."
Elected South Carolina Governor in 1890, he then created South Carolina's 1'st literacy test for voters and he promoted a number of property and educational requirements for voting.For his services, South Carolina sent him to the U.S. Senate, where he served from 1895 until his death in 1918
His intent in the Tillman act was aimed to cut the power of northern industrialists, Republicans, whom Tillman hated in part because of their more liberal attitudes on race.That the President should publicly challenge the Supreme court over this matter is unprecedented, that he should decide to defend the Tillman act and all it was intended to represent, is sad and ironic.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent juvenile biograph of the Kenyan Kansan running for president
The bubble has yet to burst on Barack Obama's campaign to get the Democratic nomination for president, but whether he returns to the U.S. Senate or becomes the first president of African-American descent, this juvenile biography will provide a solid introduction to Obama for any young reader who is inspired to find out more about the man.Although copyrighted for 2008, "Barack Obama: The Politics of Home," has already been published and it tells the story of how a "Kenyan Kansan" ended up in Washington, D.C.Author William Michael Davis provides a look at Obama's entire life, spending as much time on when "Barry" was in school (like his young readers) as when Obama starting running for office to "create a better politics."

Davis begins this biography at the moment that many Americans were first introduced to Obama, when the obscure state senator from Illinois delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and suddenly gained a national reputation.Obama's speech was reminiscent of Barbara Jordan's keynote at the 1976 Democratic National Convention and Mario Cuomo's keynote in 1984.Both of those celebrated orations thrust their speakers into national politics--there was talk of putting Jordan on the ticket as vice-president and Cuomo was considered a potential candidate for a decade after his dazzling oration--but only Obama actually became a candidate for the highest office in the land.So even if young readers do not remember the speech or its coverage, telling the story of the impact it made is a great starting point for this biography.

After looking at Obama's speech, chapters are devoted to Barack Hussein Obama being raised in Hawaii by a mother from Kansas, a father from Kenya, and a step-father from Indonesia, going to college, becoming a community organizer, and attending Harvard Law School, where he was the first black president of the "Harvard Law Review."The second half of the book looks at how Obama set down roots in Chicago's South Side, became a state legislator, and was then elected to the U.S. Senate.The final chapter, "We've Got to Create a Better Politics," covers the decision to run for President, the main opponents he faces for the Democratic nomination, and what running a presidential campaign is like these days.Davis does not get into Obama's political positions, instead focusing more on his optimistic political philosophy.

Reading this book I am reminded of some juvenile biographies of Colin Powell that I read a decade ago when there was speculation that he might throw his hat into the ring and run for President.I remember thinking they should have waited for Powell to decide because there could be more to the story to tell.That did not prove to be the case with Powell, and whether Obama goes on to the White House or simply has a lengthy career in the U.S. Senate, Davis's book explains why so many people are excited about him as a politician.The back of the book includes a Chronology of key events in Obama's life from 1961 to 2007 when he announced his candidacy, Chapter Notes documenting all of Davis's sources, a list of articles about and books by Obama for Further Reading, a trio of useful Internet Resources where readers can go to find out more, and a standard Index.The book is illustrated with dozens of photographs, both color and black & white.

This book is one of the early releases in a series of eight Shapers of America volumes that offers an interesting cross-section of figures from American history.In addition to Obama we have "Jim Beckwourth: The Man Who Opened the West," "John C. Calhoun: Champion of States' Right," "John Marshall: The Man Who Made the Court Supreme," "Billy Mitchell: Evangelist of Airpower (Shapers of America)," "J. Robert Oppenheimer: Father of the Atomic Bomb," "Sacagawea: Lewis & Clark's Pathfinder," and "Ida Tarbell: Crusading Journalist."Obama hardly qualifies as one of the Shapers of America given that roster of Americans, but there is no question that he is inspiring millions of young kids to becoming interested in politics and to accept the idea that if he can run for president, then maybe we all are created equal in this country.

5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkably extensive biography for young adults about the charismatic African-American state senator
Part of the "Shapers of America" series, Barack Obama: The Politics of Hope is a remarkably extensive biography for young adults about the charismatic African-American state senator from Illinois who has become one of the Democratic Party's most prominent figures. Tracing the journey of his life from Hawaii and Indonesia to Harvard Law School, Chicago's South Side, and the halls of Congress, Barack Obama is illustrated throughout with black-and-white as well as color photography. Chapter notes and an index round out this highly accessible resource especially recommended for school and community library collections. ... Read more

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