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Gary W. Gallagher

Author of The Confederate War

141+ Works 3,485 Members 21 Reviews 7 Favorited

About the Author

Gary W Gallagher is a civil war historian with a special interest in the military aspects of the war. He is the author or co-author of several books including Lee and His Generals in War and Memory and The Confederate War. He has also served as President of the Association of Preservation of Civil show more War sites. He is a professor of history at the University of Virginia. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Gary W. Gallagher

The Confederate War (1997) 263 copies
The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History (2000) — Editor — 183 copies
The Wilderness Campaign (1997) — Editor; Contributor — 176 copies
The Union War (2011) 129 copies
Lee the Soldier (1996) 120 copies
The American Civil War (2000) 108 copies
The Antietam Campaign (1999) — Editor — 96 copies
Chancellorsville: The Battle and Its Aftermath (1996) — Editor — 76 copies
The Spotsylvania Campaign (1998) — Editor — 61 copies
The Southern Bivouac (1886) 8 copies
Antietam 1 copy
Gettysburg 1 copy

Associated Works

Andersonville: The Last Depot (1994) — Editor — 175 copies
Ken Burns's The Civil War: Historians Respond (1996) — Contributor — 150 copies
Writing the Civil War : The Quest to Understand (1998) — Contributor — 115 copies
Chancellorsville and Gettysburg (1882) — Introduction, some editions — 113 copies
Lee's Maverick General: Daniel Harvey Hill (1961) — Introduction, some editions — 79 copies
James Longstreet: Lee's War Horse (1936) — Foreword — 60 copies
Lee's Aide-de-Camp (2000) — Introduction, some editions — 14 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Spring 1998 (1998) — Author "When Lee Was Mortal" — 14 copies
MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History — Spring 2005 (2005) — Author "Immortal Confederate Cavalier" — 8 copies


Common Knowledge



This selection from Great Courses is an excellent overview of the American Civil War including events leading up to it and the immediate aftermath. It's as comprehensive as it can be for a course of 48 lectures of approximately 30 minutes each. Professor Gallagher is extremely knowledgeable and renowned in this subject matter and has received numerous awards from academia, as well as having authored numerous books, articles and scholastic papers.

I think any American would be well served by listening to The American Civil War Great Courses lectures by Professor Gallagher. As well as anyone interested in the topic. I learned so much from this Audible audiobook. While previously I had a very basic and general knowledge about the Civil War, this course filled in so much information and so many details for me; from biographical information about the main participants on both sides, a timeline of battles and the strategy behind them and the politics throughout. Hearing the number of casualities listed from each of the major battles, one by one, is staggering and mind boggling. All of it defies logic. We have many misconceptions surrounding the Civil War and this course dispels those for us. The North was not all abolitionist by any means and many of them were only in the fight to get the Union back together. Lincoln was at times not nearly abolitionist enough himself and often frustrated abolitionists. He also supported transporting freed slaves to Liberia, "to their own native land". I was appalled to learn that an "experimental" boat load of freed slaves was sent to a private Caribbean island, sponsored by a wealthy man full of promises of fulfilling all their needs and providing them with jobs, etc. None of that turned out to be the case and these some 800 former slaves were left on the island under despicable conditions. By the time they were returned to the U.S. after a year, several hundred of them had died. Simply deplorable.

Well, there is so much to be learned from Professor Gallagher in this course. I recommend you listen to it and learn some of this history. I feel it is all the more important at this turning point in United States' history, a critical, crucial moment in the American experiment. At times it feels like we have not come nearly as far as we should have in the years since the Civil War took place, nor have we learned the lessons that one might have expected us to after so much bloodshed. That people now constantly use rhetoric calling for another Civil War in America is beyond belief to me. Why can't we use and expand our intellect instead of warmongering? I see our only hope in education and knowledge. Great Courses like this one from Professor Gallagher can help immensely towards that end.
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shirfire218 | 1 other review | Feb 8, 2024 |
f you are interested in how the Civil War is presented in film and art then this is definitely a book you should check out. The book examines the evolution of historical memory in film and art and provides a unique way of thinking about historical concepts. Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know About the Civil War examines the four popular traditions of interpreting the Civil War in popular culture (the Lost Cause, the Union Cause, the Emancipation Cause, and the Reconciliation Cause). Gallagher examines how each of these distinctive ideologies has been portrayed in film and art and how this has evolved over time. While each of the four ideologies are examined a large amount of time is spent examining the Lost Cause and the Union Cause. Gallagher argues that film and art have done more to shape the idea of the Lost Cause than professional historians. "More people have formed perceptions about the Civil War from watching Gone with the Wind (GWTW) than from reading all the books written by historians since Selznick’s blockbuster debuted in 1939.”[1] Gallagher stresses that out of all the films which portray the Civil War Gone with the Wind has had the most powerful influence on perceptions of the Civil War. He argues that the film is one of the reasons that the Lost Cause has been allowed to flourish in films with a shift away from this only beginning to take place in the late 1980's. When it comes to the Union Cause, Gallagher asserts that it holds a weak presence in film and art. He doesn't feel that any scene in film or art has been able to capture the devotion to the Union which animated those in the North during the Civil War. He attributes this failure to how popular culture has lost sight of the idea of nationalism as a motivating force. Instead portrayals of Union Cause focus on illustrating comradeship as the factor that bonds Union soldiers together and motivates them to fight. Gallagher argues that films not only suffer to depict this Cause but also have shifted to portraying Union soldiers in a negative ways. He attributes this to Hollywood's choice to cast the United States Army in a post-Vietnam light. While the Lost Cause has captivated Hollywood and popular opinion Gallagher believes that that the Union Cause is “Hollywood’s real lost cause. Lincoln’s vision of a democratic nation devoted to economic opportunity would seem an attractive theme, but it remains largely unexplored in the Civil War genre.”[2] Overall, Gallagher's book provides a concise overview of the history of the Civil War in film and art. Gallagher even manages to highlight how the current reality can and does impact our memory of past events. A point he most clearly illustrates through discussion of the Union Cause.

[1]Gary W. Gallagher, Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten: How Hollywood and Popular Art Shape What We Know about the Civil War (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2008),10.

[2]Gary Gallagher, Causes Won, Lost, and Forgotten, 114.

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BookReviewsbyTaylor | 2 other reviews | Aug 13, 2022 |
Overall, this is an excellent, balanced history of the United States. I used it as part of my daughter's home schooling. Up until the lead-in to the Civil War, the course is taught by Allen Guelzo, and this is his best performance in the Great Courses. The material is well organized and he doesn't get too bogged down in religious history as he tends to do. The Civil War years are problematic. Professor Gallagher is nerve-wracking to watch, as he seems to fear getting too far from his lectern. His delivery is also sub-par, although I found I could listen to him much easier if I just didn't watch him. Professor Alitt brings things back up to a high standard for the last part of the course. This is a fairly old course, so there aren't great visuals, just a lot of pictures of the folks being talked about. So it works very well as an audio only course, if you're looking for something educational for a VERY long car trip!… (more)
datrappert | 2 other reviews | Nov 28, 2020 |
I bought this book because it was recommended by James McPherson, but I was not especially impressed by it. Gallagher carefully explains in his introduction that he is not a neo-Confederate because he was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Colorado and had no relatives who fought in the war. But neo-Confederate is more a matter of ideological sympathy than heritage. This book is a response to those scholars who have said that the CSA had serious problems with desertion and low civilian morale and that Lee's and Davis's strategy was flawed, especially because taking the offensive cost too many soldiers' lives. On the low morale and desertion, Gallagher does have some serious points --apparently many of the deserter only went home temporarily and then returned to the army, and some at least on the home front were still writing passionately pro-Confederate diaries and letters right up to the bitter end.He says there was nothing in the CSA to match the New York draft riots, ignoring, for instance, a Unionist uprising in Tennessee. In response to those who said the CSA died of states' rights, he quotes a number of people, mostly soldiers, expressing strong loyalty to the nation as such, but ignores the strongly states rights governors like Brown of Georgia and Vance of NC. .To e the most dubious part is his sharing the adoration many Confederates expressed for Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. He responds to postwar critics like Beauregard and Johnston who felt it should have been more defensive, and to modern admires of Mao and Ho Chi Minh who felt it should have been a guerrilla war. He does have a point that the civilians wanted an aggressive policy and rejoiced in victories; like Chancellorsville, but he does not address the fact that when Johnston was replaced by Hood who openly tried to imitate Lee's offensive policy the result was disastrous losses of men as well as the city of Atlanta. On the guerrilla war, he says the Confederate officers were West Pointers and members of the slaveiholding elite who would not have accepted that kind of war, which may be true, though when he denies there was a single officer capable of fighting that kind of war, he omits Nathan Bedford Forest, who in effect won a guerrilla war during Reconstruction with the KKK which, with allied movements, did in fact wear out the northern forces and win back control of the south. From as modern point of view, that was a terrible blow to the rights of the freed slaves, but there is no denying it was strategically effective in its time.… (more)
antiquary | 2 other reviews | Jul 18, 2016 |


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