Monday, July 27, 2009

Daniel E. Sutherland's "A Savage Conflict"

Daniel E. Sutherland is professor of history at the University of Arkansas. He is author or editor of thirteen books, including Guerrillas, Unionists, and Violence on the Confederate Home Front.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War, and reported the following:
The Page 99 Test works wonderfully for A Savage Conflict. The sixth of its twelve chapters, entitled “Not the West Point Way,” begins on that page, and it describes how, by the mid-point of the Civil War, North and South suddenly realized that a nasty guerrilla conflict, which had sprung up quite spontaneously, was lurching out of control. The generals of both armies, conditioned by their training to think of wars as tilts between grand armies in climatic battles, were confronted by a brand of warfare that no one had anticipated, yet one that threatened to upset all their carefully laid plans. Indeed, as the book’s subtitle suggests, A Savage Conflict shows why it is impossible to understand the Civil War without appreciating the scope and consequences of the guerrilla struggle. The guerrilla ranks included not just Confederates, but also southern Unionists, violent bands of deserters and draft dodgers, and criminals who saw the war as an opportunity for plunder. Together, they made the general conflict a far bloodier and more savage affair than it might have been, and their lack of restraint proved to be a significant factor in the collapse of the Confederacy.
Learn more about A Savage Conflict at the publisher's website, and visit Daniel Sutherland's faculty webpage.

--Marshal Zeringue