Book Review: Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era


by William J. Cooper

Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2008. Pp. viii, 128. Illus., notes, index. $24.95. ISBN: 9780807133712

In this work Prof. Cooper, of LSU, the author of the award-winning biography Jefferson Davis: American (New York: Knopf, 2000), gives us what might be termed a meditation of the life, image, and importance of the erstwhile Confederate president as seen in eight essays that focus on various aspects of the man's life and works. 

Cooper looks at Davis in terms of his beliefs and actions in his various roles; as politician, which he was for most of his life; as believer in, yet opponent of, secession; as war leader and as commander-in-chief; as strategist, and, in the end, as shaper of the "Lost Cause," which is the subject of two essays. Working with an enormous amount of papers, documents, letters, and such, Cooper uses Davis' intellectual, cultural, and social foundations, as the basis for his analysis, and demonstrates quite effectively how the man's to show how his personality affected his decisions, and thus helped shape the national crisis, the course of the Civil War, and the how the nation has perceived in the 150 yeas since. 

A good book for those interested in the Civil War era

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi   

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