Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Short History of the Confederate States of America

Have you ever read a truly scholarly history book? Unless you're a scholar-type person, it got really tedious, didn't it? I know there have been a couple along the way that just left me going, "What year was that, again?" Jefferson Davis' The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Volumes 1 and 2 can really get that way, especially when a very scholarly Davis starts to discuss the minutiae of American and Confederate history. You've got to be a scholar or at least not intimidated by scholarly writing that has fully half-pages of foot notes and digressive discussions to illustrate otherwise simple points to read either of those volumes. In fact, he spends several chapters just leading up to the idea of secession before he ever discusses it. A real tough read, to be sure.

There is good news, though. Jefferson Davis apparently was also one of those rare scholars who did not have trouble relating to or communicating with the common man. He wrote a third volume of Confederate history: A Short History of the Confederate States of America. This is the common man's abridged version of the story of the South's battle for freedom and independence. Here is a very accessible telling of the story which does not skimp on any essential detail of the War Between the States, yet does not bog down in detail, minutiae, or footnotes. This book is wonderfully written and easy to follow, and it was written by Jefferson Davis himself; he is eminently and uniquely qualified to write this story.


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