Ben McCulloch and the Frontier Military Tradition

Thomas W. Cutrer, Author
Thomas W. Cutrer, Author University of North Carolina Press $59.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-8078-2076-6
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-1-4696-1374-1
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Confederate general Ben McCulloch (1811-1862) is commonly depicted as an amateur out of his depth in a large-scale war. This well-written, comprehensively researched bigraphy, written by an associate professor of American studies at Arizona State University, instead places McCulloch in a distinctively American tradition of citizen commanders. He began as a militia private, but was no mere backwoodsman: self-schooled in the craft of war, McCulloch was as well read as most West Pointers. He was a charismatic combat leader, a first-rate organizer and a Jacksonian Democrat whose common touch inspired raw volunteers. Cutrer ( Parnassus on the Mississippi: ``The Southern Review'' and the Baton Rouge Literary Community, 1934-1942 ) makes a strong case that McCulloch was underutilized by Jefferson Davis and would have adapted to the conditions of the Civil War as effectively as he did to earlier conflicts in Texas and Mexico. (June)
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