The verdict is in: the Civil War was won in the “West”–that is, in the nation’s heartland, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. Yet, a person who follows the literature on the war might still think that it was the conflict in Virginia that ultimately decided the outcome. Each year sees the appearance of new books aimed at the popular market that simply assume that it was in the East, often at Gettysburg, that the decisive clashes of war the took place.
Actually, anyone who has followed the “literature on the war” over the past few years cannot help but notice the sharp increase in studies that cover every aspect of the war in the west. How many books need to be published before we can dispense with this little marketing ploy?