Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour

William C. Davis, Author
William C. Davis, Author HarperCollins Publishers $40 (784p) ISBN 978-0-06-016706-6
Paperback - 978-0-06-092326-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-0790-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-0845-9
Paperback - 784 pages - 978-0-8071-2079-8
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This portrait puts the emphasis on Davis's private warmth, public coolness, personal insecurity and indecisiveness during the Civil War. Relying mostly on contemporary sources, the author ( Image of the War ) explores how Davis's attitudes and values were developed at West Point and during his Mexican War service and how they were put to the test in his years as U.S. senator, as secretary of war under Franklin Pierce and as president of the Southern Confederacy. The author defends Davis (1808-1889) against the charge that he interfered with his generals, partly by showing how well he and Robert E. Lee worked together. The book also makes clear that Davis lacked managerial skill, was inflexible, could not admit making a mistake and had great difficulty delegating authority. Nevertheless, as the author points out, Davis built the systems that kept the Confederacy afloat from his inauguration in 1862 until he was captured by Union troops in 1865. This is a pragmatic but sympathetic biography that explains why Davis was respected but never loved by the citizens of the Confederate states. Illustrated. (Dec.)
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