War in the Western Theater: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War

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Chris Mackowski and Sarah Kay Bierle
Pub Date:
May 2024
Hardcover, 6 x 9
8 maps, 55 images, 336 pp.
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About the Book

Often relegated to a backseat by action in the Eastern Theater, the Western Theater is actually where the Federal armies won the Civil War.

In the West, General Ulysses S. Grant strung together a series of victories that ultimately led him to oversee Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House and, eventually, two terms in the White House. In the West, the fall of Atlanta secured Lincoln’s reelection for his own second term. In the West, Federal armies split the Confederacy in two—and then split it in two again.

In the West, Federal armies inexorably advanced, gobbling up huge swaths of territory in the face of ineffective Confederate opposition. By war’s end, General William T. Sherman had marched the “Western Theater” all the way into central North Carolina.

In the Eastern Theater, the principal armies fought largely within a 100-mile corridor between the capitals of Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia, with a few ill-fated Confederate invasions north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The Western Theater, in contrast, included the entire area between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River, from Kentucky in the north to the Gulf of Mexico in the south—a vast geographic expanse that, even today, can be challenging to understand.

War in the Western Theater: Favorite Stories and Fresh Perspectives from the Historians at Emerging Civil War revisits some of the Civil War’s most legendary battlefields: Shiloh, Chickamauga, Franklin, the March to the Sea, and more.

Advance Praise


 “For much of the previous century, the Western Theater was relegated to the backburner. Thankfully, the contributing voices of the Emerging Civil War have greatly expanded our knowledge of that ‘forgotten’ theater. These essays bring an entirely new level of scholarly quality to discussions of the most decisive theater of the war.” — Joseph D. Ricci, Historian, Battle of Franklin Trust


“With nearly 50 separate entries by almost as many authors, War in the Western Theater is thought-provoking and well worth the read. There is a wealth of facts to be mined here and plenty of revelations about obscure but important leaders and actions. Penetrating observations abound. Simply stated, this book satisfies on many levels.” — Brig. Gen. Parker Hills (Ret.), Battle Focus Tours


War in the Western Theater presents an eclectic potpourri of unique, interesting, and easily readable essays on diverse aspects of the Civil War in the West. Subjects range from civilian life on the home front to soldiers on the battlefields. Abundant maps and photos connect characters and events to the reader.” — Stephen M. Hood, award-winning author of John Bell Hood: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of a Confederate General and The Lost Papers of Confederate General John Bell Hood








Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is the editor in chief of Emerging Civil War. He is a writing professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University and the historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books on the Civil War. Sarah Kay Bierle is a managing editor for Emerging Civil War’s blog. A graduate from Thomas Edison State University with a B.A. in History, she has spent the last few years researching, writing, and speaking about the American Civil War, helping audiences gain a better appreciation for the accounts of real people caught in the struggles of the past.