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The Quest For Annihilation
The Quest For Annihilation

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The Quest For Annihilation
By Christopher Perello

Civil War came to the United States when the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter on 12 April 1861. Most people, including the military and political leaders of both sides, thought the war would be won or lost quickly in the Napoleonic tradition, with a great battlefield collision. Instead, the war ground on for four increasingly bloody years, inching steadily but slowly into the Southern heartland. Battles were frequent, but rarely decided more than the control of a single town or a few blood-soaked fields.

The Quest for Annihilation examines the nature of those battles and the reasons they failed to produce a decisive end to the war. The book is loaded with detail – and copiously illustrated with more than 220 maps, plus more than 100 diagrams, photographs, orders of battle, and data tables – describing the war's unique combat, fought on the cusp between the era of single-shot muzzle-loaders and that of automatic weapons.

Each chapter uses the events of a single battle or campaign to describe the component parts of one aspect of the war: how armies were formed, trained, and moved; how commanders decided whether to fight or avoid battle; the men, their weapons and drill; the leaders and the techniques they used to bring it all together at the right place and right time. ( 320 pages )
Average Customer Review: Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 2 Write a review.

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  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 A "must have" for all Civil War enthusiasts January 17, 2020
Reviewer: Chris D. from Asheville, NC United States  
Thanks to this book I can really see how this war unfolded.  Each chapter is like putting a slide under a microscope.

Prologue: The presumption that a great battle would end the war
1. Strategy: How it was decided where and when battles were fought
2. Armies: How soldiers were raised, organized, trained, and supported
3. Infantry: How the primary component of the armies fought
4. Battleplans: How generals planned to destroy their opponents
5. Artillery: How the firepower of cannon could dominate a battle
6. Siege: How fortifications were attacked and defended
7. Campaigns: How armies were brought to the place of battle
8. Fieldworks: How siege warfare came to the open-field battle
9. Cavalry: The speed and striking power of horsemen on the battlefield
10. Pursuit: How a battlefield victory was turned into a greater result
Epilogue: The Civil War as the end of the great battle era

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  4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Quest for information May 3, 2012
Reviewer: Hans Korting from Hoorn, Noord-Holland Netherlands  
Chapters following the course of the war show the reader the progress of this conflict between brothers, telling you how tactics, weapons and leadership evolved. This is done by clearly written text, numerous maps, tables, text boxes adding detail. And there's a lot of information inside!
Boxes take you back to the Napoleonic era and forward to WWI, to showing how some ACW events were a development from or prelude to these wars. It also tells the story about southern problems in manufacturing weapons, keeping its armies supplied. It is about segregation and how black soldiers made their entrance in the field, to fight and stand their ground.

Does it show you each and every battle in detail? No, but it picks some of the moments in the period of 1861-65 and tells you how the conflict progressed, where man fought man, the weapons they employed developed, and experience taught commanders how to make use of them.

The Quest of Annihilation makes for an interesting read.

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