Destruction & Reconstruction
The South's best take on the War between the States and its aftermath
The most interesting thing about this book is that you get to read a first-hand account of the War between the States, from one of the greatest military heads of either the North or South. And also a very cultured man. His knowledge comes out prominently, almost too much so. When one just wants to read about how it was, the War and the so-called Reconstruction, it becomes a little tiring to have to take in with it also all the references to European military history, ancient history et al. Those names of old generals and foreign politicians of by-gone eras are just a bother to the reader. And that brings me to -what I think is- the reason for the failing side of this book: It was meant for Taylor's contemporaries. It just feels from the start that the man is taking for granted that the reader knows much of the “story”, and he is just telling another side to it: his own side.
It is a readable book though, and entertaining, if you discount the argument mentioned above. And it sure is a definite contribution to the South's take on the whole conflict and the times. Elegant, sad, and full of Southern sentiment.