Book review

28/07/2020 - The Great Partnership by Christian B Keller

Those who attended our Conference of 2017 will remember the presentations of Christian Keller on strategy and command. He mentioned his forthcoming book and here it is!



The story of the unique friendship between Lee and Jackson, two leaders who chiselled a strategic path forward against the odds and almost triumphed. Why were Generals Lee and Jackson so successful in their military partnership during the Civil War? What was it about their styles, friendship, even their faith, that cemented them together into a fighting machine that consistently won despite often overwhelming odds against them?


The Great Partnership has the power to change how we think about Confederate strategic decision-making and the value of personal relationships among senior leaders responsible for organizational survival

Those relationships in the Confederate high command were particularly critical for victory, especially the one that existed between the two great Army of Northern Virginia generals.

It has been almost three decades since any author attempted a joint study of the two leaders. At the very least, the book will inspire a lively debate among the thousands of students of Civil War history; at best, it will significantly revise how we evaluate Confederate strategy during the height of the war and our understanding of why, in the end, the South lost.


“Students of strategy and tactics, as well as of the Civil War, will find this a useful look at a storied partnership.”—Kirkus Reviews.


“Christian B. Keller’s perceptive analysis of Jackson’s contribution to the partnership, the impact of operations in the Eastern Theater, and the degree to which personal and professional ties intersected should spark a good deal of discussion among those interested in the Confederacy’s premier army and its most famous commanders.”—Gary W. Gallagher, author of Lee and His Army in Confederate History


“Christian Keller explores anew this well-studied relationship in a fresh, insightful, and persuasive work. This book will kindle debate, generate controversy, and reframe old arguments. Simply put, it is good history.”—Jeffry D. Wert, author of A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee’s Triumph, 1862-1863


“Christian Keller cuts through the Lost Cause haze and a century of debate to give us our clearest view yet of arguably the most important and effective partnership of the American Civil War. This is an important, thoughtful book, well done.”—John Hennessy, author of Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas

Christian B. Keller is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Chair of National Security and Professor of History in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.


Published by Pegasus (ISBN 978-1-64313-134-4)