Reviews

Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Stoker (strategy & policy, Naval Postgraduate Sch., U.S. Naval Coll.) chastises Civil War historians for their supposed indifference to or ignorance of Civil War strategy and insists that his is the first book-length treatment of the subject. Despite that overstatement, Stoker makes a signal contribution to understanding the dynamics of the war by carefully defining policy, military strategy, operational strategy, tactics, and other political and military terms and showing the interactions, for example, of politics and strategy, in explaining Abraham Lincoln's development as a successful commander in chief and Jefferson Davis's failure to capitalize on Confederate advantages. Still, he insists the Union might have won the war earlier had it found generals in 1861 and 1862 able to think and act strategically. Stoker's overall conclusions about Lincoln, Davis, and the principal Civil War generals are not especially new, though he does give Robert E. Lee high marks as a strategic thinker and even sees merit in George McClellan's grand design. VERDICT General readers will profit from Stoker's clear explanations and sensible arguments, while more seasoned scholars will find his delineation of strategic concepts useful. A worthwhile addition for public and university libraries.-Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.