Timothy B. Smith, The Iron Dice of Battle: Albert Sidney Johnston and the Civil War in the West, 1st ed., Signed on Bookplate


The First Work Detailing Johnston’s Career in Over 60 Years
(Due late November)


Killed in action at the bloody Battle of Shiloh, Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston stands as the highest-ranking American military officer to die in combat. His unexpected demise had cascading negative consequences for the South’s war effort, as his absence created a void in adequate leadership in the years that followed. In The Iron Dice of Battle, noted Civil War historian Timothy B. Smith reexamines Johnston’s life and death, offering remarkable insights into this often-contradictory figure.

As a commander, Johnston frequently faced larger and better-armed Union forces, dramatically shaping his battlefield decisions and convincing him that victory could only be attained by taking strategic risks while fighting. The final wager came while leading his army at Shiloh in April 1862. During a desperate gambit to turn the tide of battle, Johnston charged to the front of the Confederate line to direct his troops and fell mortally wounded after sustaining enemy fire.

The first work to survey the general’s career in detail in nearly sixty years, The Iron Dice of Battle builds on recent scholarship to provide a new and incisive assessment of Johnston’s life, his Confederate command, and the effect his death had on the course of the Civil War in the West.

Smith, Timothy B. THE IRON DICE OF BATTLE: ALBERT SIDNEY JOHNSTON AND THE CIVIL WAR IN THE WEST. Louisville: Louisiana State University Press. 248p., 1st ed., dj; Signed on Bookplate. 

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