Total a very good read and an excellent book. Witt's research is impeccable and his writing style is top notch. There are some places where the book seems to replicate itself, and then the last chapter feels a lttle bit like a cop out, like it could have, should have been longer, but still, overall, a very good book that I would highly recommend. If you see this book in stores and want an idea of what it's about, the epilogue provides a great short outline of the book., Completely surprised me personally about how precisely the origins of behavior in war came about. I am only part way into the book, but have very much enjoyed the things i have read so far. Worthwhile even if I don't have time for you to read farther., Insightful about historical facts that are important even today! A reading for all thinking about the civil war and their different influences., Fascinating history of the subject. Nicely written and well worth reading to understand the introduction of the law of war. Highly recommended., Great book, got it as a gift idea for someone, This can be a well and clearly written, detailed conversation of the development of the Laws of Conflict from the viewpoint of the USA as developed over the years of our own Revolutionary War to President's Lincoln's General Orders Number 100, 1862, on the conduct of Conflict during our Civil Conflict. The horrors of war are presented in a nuanced fashion to show the reasons for the developments, but not in such detail as to be gory or dwelled upon. Many references and clashes are made to current Geneva Exhibitions, thus enabling the reader to position the task in modern as well as historical terms. There are numerous excellent condensations of Congressional quarrels, like the attempt by Henry Clay and others to censure Andrew Jackson's performance of two British Citizen's in North Florida, a couple of years before Jackson was elected President. The comparisons of our own Native American Laws of War with those of Europe, and the reply of the USA working to develop it's own Laws of War are the clearest I have ever read. This book is actually a legal text and includes much detailed history of the development of a fancy subject. A fair knowledge of American History is prerequisite to reading this book as many items in our history are referenced as if generally known and understood beyond a high school level of understanding. This would be an excellent addition to any Civil War buff's collection or as additional reading at the university or law school, or military academy level., Most people glancing at this title will think it primarily as a study of Lincoln's conduct and criminal prosecution of the Civil Conflict as well as that isn't actually incorrect. What Witt instead presents is how Lincoln's conduct through the war created a legal basis for what was to would later become the Geneva Convention treaties for how to conduct war. Civil Wars by way of a very nature tend to be more vicious and Lincoln searched for to generate rules of engagement and conduct that would minimize the potential for harm to civilians, prisoners of war, and conduct on the battlefield, in the process reshaping how wars were fought. The principles Lincoln subsequently created started to be utilized by other combatants in succeeding wars and in the process led to the creation of the Geneva Convention treaty in 1864 and further treaties signed in 1906, 1929, and 1949. Lincoln was part of any broader movement of reformers such as Clara Barton and Henry Dunant who sought more humane remedying of the sick and wounded, but it was largely what Lincoln subsequently created that might be drawn upon in later years. We all primarily think of Lincoln's steadfast leadership during the war and his ultimate sacrifice to the cause of preserving the Marriage, but rarely think of his actions resonate through to today in very real terms.
Much of what Lincoln created would also often become abused by succeeding Presidents, as with the Wilson era Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918, to FDR's internment of Japanese - Americans under Executive Order 9066 and the Supreme Court's rulings in Korematsu versus. United States (1944) and Ex Parte Endo (1944), to George W. Bush's use of Guantanamo, dark-colored sites overseas and so much more. There certainly are valid arguments that some of what Lincoln subsequently did was unconstitutional and most of the arguments made then and after this resonate through the ages. So many aspects of Lincoln's conduct of the Civil War have relevance to today's society that we scarcely stop to ponder them all and how they are Constitutional or represent violations thereof. Witt seeks to do just that in a way that is approachable to historians, legal scholars, and lay people. Nevertheless, some of this may be a lttle bit advanced for more everyday readers or those not well versed in American history, military history, or legal history and while Witt's prose is certainly lively some may find it a chore to get through at times. Being a historian and someone versed in the law, I found it utterly fascinating. It gave me yet another newfound respect for Lincoln's wisdom and sage leadership. He truly was one of our most astute politicians and very much an equal of the Transcendentalist philosophers of his age.
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