The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

almost forty pages. Yet unlike Parish, he offers no general appraisal of
his subject. This stands as the only major weakness in a work that will
undoubtedly achieve acclaim as a classic survey text.
The University of Texas at Austin T. MICHAEL PARRISH
John Bell Hood and the War for Southern Independence. By Richard
M. McMurry. (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky,
1982. Pp. xi+239. Preface, maps, notes, bibliographical essay,
index. $19.50.)
John Bell Hood, a Kentuckian by birth and a Texan by choice, was
the eighth and last Confederate full general appointed by President
Jefferson Davis. Undoubtedly, he was one of the most controversial
and least understood of the southern military leaders. He rose to fame
as the leader of the fighting Texas Brigade in the Army of Northern
Virginia and ended his military career as the ill-fated commander of
the Army of Tennessee. Brave beyond measure, seriously wounded
twice, Hood had few peers on either side as a brigade and division
commander, but, as most Civil War historians agree, lacked the ca-
pacity for corps and army command.
The author explores in some depth Hood's genealogy, his early
life and his career prior to the war, including his Texas assignment
with the Second U.S. Cavalry, trying to find the key to his wartime
behavior. As several of his contemporaries have done, McMurry por-
trays Hood as a romantic living in an unrealistic world, riding through
life as a chivalrous knight on a white horse. Unfortunately, he devotes
but a small portion of the book to Hood's career with the Army of
Northern Virginia, the most successful months of his Confederate
service. More space is devoted to Hood's "off again, on again" ro-
mance with Sally ("Buck") Preston than to any of the major battles
in the East in which Hood fought. One-half of the book is devoted to
less than one year of the general's participation in the war, his assign-
ment to the Army of Tennessee.
The most significant part of the book is McMurry's handling of
the Atlanta campaign, the subject of his doctoral dissertation at
Emory University. Even so, the detail makes for laborious reading, ex-
cept perhaps for the military analyst and the most dedicated and
knowledgeable of the Civil War buffs.
The author leans heavily on newspapers while ignoring almost
completely other primary sources such as the Confederate Veteran
Magazine and the "Record of Events" entries on the bimonthly mus-

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 87, July 1983 - April, 1984. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117150/. Accessed November 28, 2014.