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"A Signpost That Was Missed": Reconsidering British Lessons from the American Civil War

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385 - 414
Number of pages30
Issue number2

King's Authors


This article reviews the influences that have shaped our views of the "lessons" of the American Civil War as interpreted by British writers. It attempts to evaluate the enduring impact of Major General J. F. C. Fuller and Captain Sir Basil Liddell Hart, particularly the latter, on the interpretation of the lessons, especially through the medium of Jay Luvaas's seminal book, The Military Legacy of the Civil War (1959). It does not suggest any wholesale revision of Luvaas's work, but alters his relative emphasis. Both Fuller and Liddell Hart argued that the significance of the Civil War had either been ignored or misinterpreted before 1914, but they seem unduly preoccupied by operational considerations and judge the "lessons" by the standards of the First World War

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