Sun Jul 20 00:09:38 2008
I enjoyed Mark E. Neely’s essay “Was the Civil War a Total War?” I especially liked his critique of the idea of Total War. Total War strikes me as a rather fuzzy concept that each writer defines or redefines as he pleases. Even if there is a clear and accepted definition I don’t really see the value. To use the Fischer problem-solving approach, what do we learn from asking and answering the question “Was the Civil War a Total War?” Why is this interesting? What do we gain from this peculiar demarcation? Perhaps there is more at stake than I realize, but most talk of total war strikes me as senseless posturing that is of no value in solving real historical problems.