Paul Escott’s The Confederacy: The Slaveholders’ Failed Venture offers a unique and multifaceted perspective on the United States’ most pivotal and devastating conflict, examining the course of the Civil War from the perspective of the Southern elite class, who were desperate to preserve the “peculiar institution” of its slave-based economy, yet dependent on ordinary Southerners, slaves, and women to sustain the fight for them.
Against the backdrop of the war’s military drama and strategic dilemmas, The Confederacy brings into sharp focus the racial, class, gender, and political conflicts that helped destabilize the Confederacy from within. Along the way, Escott shows how time and time again, the South’s political and economic elite made errors that further weakened a South already facing a Union army with greater numbers and firepower.
- Photographs, maps, and graphs enrich the text and illustrate changes in military strength, the importance of the Border South, and the loss of Confederate territory over time
- A bibliographical essay directs the reader to some of the most important and recent works in the vast historiography of the Civil War