Using widely scattered and previously unknown primary sources, Parrish's biography of Confederate general Richard Taylor presents him as one of the Civil War's most brilliant generals, eliciting strong performances from his troops in the face of manifold obstacles in three theaters of action.
This definitive biography by the author of Confederate Imprints: A Bibliography presents Taylor, familiar to historians as one of the Confederacy's better generals, in a broader context. A wealthy plantation owner, son of President Zachary Taylor, he saw himself as a principled aristocrat and conservative critic of democracy (whether northern or southern), failing to realize that his position was sustained by his involvement in the democratic struggle for power and capitalist competition for wealth. Only Taylor's service to the Confederacy, during which he proved himself as both a combat leader and an administrator, reflected his ideal of public duty. His postwar assertion of southern rights within the Democratic party confirmed his status as the titular ``soldier prince of Dixie''--a characterization well suited to a life lived on the boundary between myth and reality. ( Aug .)