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Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union…
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Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign… (edición 2010)

por Howard Jones (Autor)

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411515,237 (3.2)9
In this examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War from both European and American perspectives, Howard Jones demonstrates that the consequences of the conflict between North and South reached far beyond American soil. Jones explores a number of themes, including the international economic and political dimensions of the war, the North's attempts to block the South from winning foreign recognition as a nation, Napoleon III's meddling in the war and his attempt to restore French power in the New World, and the inability of Europeans to understand the interrelated nature of slavery and union, resulting in their tendency to interpret the war as a senseless struggle between a South too large and populous to have its independence denied and a North too obstinate to give up on the preservation of the Union. Most of all, Jones explores the horrible nature of a war that attracted outside involvement as much as it repelled it. Written in a narrative style that relates the story as its participants saw it play out around them, Blue and Gray Diplomacy depicts the complex set of problems faced by policy makers from Richmond and Washington to London, Paris, and St. Petersburg.… (más)
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Título:Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era)
Autores:Howard Jones (Autor)
Info:The University of North Carolina Press (2010), Edition: 1, 432 pages
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Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations por Howard Jones

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My wife bought me this book for my birthday on the solid knowledge that I enjoy reading about American Civil War history. And while this book certainly looks fascinating, it sadly falls well short of that mark. One major problem is that the issues in the war, in regards to foreign diplomacy, never changed, at least according to Jones. The South was desperate for international recognition and the Federal government continued to insist that there was no Confederate government, only a bunch of traitors rebelling against their lawful government, and that the Union was willing to spread the war to take on any foreign power who did recognize the South. Many relatively powerful British politicians were in favor of some sort of intervention, even if only to offer mediation, in order to re-open the flow of cotton to English mills, and due to a genuine horror at the slaughter going on, but those within the government who did not want to risk war against the Federals retained the upper hand throughout. The French emperor, Napolean III, constantly held out the carrot of diplomatic recognition and even more substantial aide to the South, but mostly because he thought that would help his own imperialist goals in Mexico. In the end, he would not act in the South's favor without England going along as well. And European diplomats never were able to grasp what the two sides were really fighting about, nor that any suggestions for compromise were doomed to failure from the start. The British, in particular, never thought the North would be able to defeat the South and for two years or more considered the eventual separation of the two sides essentially unavoidable.

Unfortunately, these few points get repeated over and over and over again. In the case of the English, each fresh development in the war, each major Union or Confederate victory, brings one side or the other in the debate into greater ascendency, and each time, we get the entire case described anew, time after time. Eventually it becomes safe to skip paragraphs and even pages.

Another problem is that, as Jones seems more a professional historian than a professional writer, he at times errantly assumes certain knowledge on the reader's part. For example, early in the war, the North announced a blockade of all Southern ports and declared that defying the blockade would constitute an act of war. The complaints, both by the South and by the European trading powers, was that the North had implemented only a Paper Blockade, considered illegal under international law. What is a Paper Blockade? Jones never describes it. And though one can easily enough, eventually, figure it out (it's a blockade declared but not enforced by a sufficient naval force to make it effective), but a more thoughtful writer, or careful editor, would have taken the 30 seconds and 20 words or so to make this explicit. Another example: early in the war an international incident occurred when a Union naval captain acted on is own to stop a British ship and forcibly remove two Southern diplomats on their way to Europe. The complaint from the English was that they had only taken the diplomats and let the ship continue on its way rather than claiming the entire ship and crew as a prize of war. Why was that considered such a faux pas? Jones never tells us.

Finally, a huge portion of the book is taken up, as I've indicated above, not by any information about "Blue & Gray Diplomacy," but by the interminable debates within the British government on the subject.

So while I did gain some interesting knowledge through reading this book, I wish it had been half as long as it's 324 pages, and I can't say I recommend it. ( )
1 vota rocketjk | Sep 30, 2013 |
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In this examination of Union and Confederate foreign relations during the Civil War from both European and American perspectives, Howard Jones demonstrates that the consequences of the conflict between North and South reached far beyond American soil. Jones explores a number of themes, including the international economic and political dimensions of the war, the North's attempts to block the South from winning foreign recognition as a nation, Napoleon III's meddling in the war and his attempt to restore French power in the New World, and the inability of Europeans to understand the interrelated nature of slavery and union, resulting in their tendency to interpret the war as a senseless struggle between a South too large and populous to have its independence denied and a North too obstinate to give up on the preservation of the Union. Most of all, Jones explores the horrible nature of a war that attracted outside involvement as much as it repelled it. Written in a narrative style that relates the story as its participants saw it play out around them, Blue and Gray Diplomacy depicts the complex set of problems faced by policy makers from Richmond and Washington to London, Paris, and St. Petersburg.

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