Saturday, October 09, 2010

Book Review: War on the Frontier

Josephy Jr., Alvin M. War on the Frontier: The Trans-Mississippi West. The Civil War. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, Inc., 1986.

This book was simultaneously boring, puzzling, and educational.

It was boring because so little of it seemed to matter. They'd win a victory, and the end result would be about the same as if they'd lost.

It was puzzling because of how few men were involved and how little attention was paid to it. When I play strategy games, I pick off the weak outlying provinces first, and work my way in. Everything in the Civil War was devoted to the eastern front. A single brigade of cavalry could have swept away everything on the frontier, but that much was a rounding error in the east.

It was educational because I knew so little about it, despite having lived in Minnesota where the Dakota Conflict (formerly known as the Sioux Uprising) took place. You had to feel sorry for the Native Americans, however. It did make sense--make war on the Americans while they were busy killing each other--but it was too little too late.

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