McDonough, James Lee 1934- (James L. McDonough)

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McDonough, James Lee 1934- (James L. McDonough)


Born June 17, 1934, in Nashville, TN; son of James W. (a postal supervisor) and Ora Lee McDonough; married Nancy Sharon Pinkston (a teacher), May 28, 1957; children: David, Sharon, Carla. Education: David Lipscomb College, B.A., 1956; graduate study at Vanderbilt University, 1958-60; Abilene Christian University, M.A., 1961; Florida State University, Ph.D., 1966.


Home—Lewisburg, TN.


Historian, educator, and writer. Lipscomb University (formerly David Lipscomb College), Nashville, TN, instructor, 1965-66, assistant professor, 1966-69, associate professor, 1969-75, Justin Potter Distinguished Professor of History, beginning 1975; Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA, Howard A. White professor of history, 1985-88; Auburn University, Auburn, AL, professor of history, 1988-2000, professor emeritus, 2000—; part-time instructor at University of Tennessee, Nashville.


Southern Historical Association, Tennessee Historical Society, U.S. Commission on Military History.


Schofield: Union General in the Civil War and Reconstruction, University Presses of Florida (Tallahassee, FL), 1972.

Shiloh, in Hell before Night, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1977.

(With Richard S. Gardner) Skyriders: A History of the 327/401 Glider Infantry Regiment, Battery Press (Nashville, TN), 1978.

Stones River—Bloody Winter in Tennessee, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1980.

(With Thomas L. Connelly) Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1983.

Chattanooga—A Death Grip on the Confederacy, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1984.

(With James Pickett Jones) "War So Terrible": Sherman and Atlanta, Norton (New York, NY), 1987.

War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 1994.

Nashville: The Western Confederacy's Final Gamble, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 2004.


James Lee McDonough is a historian who has authored or coauthored several books about the Civil War, including War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville. The author's book about the fighting between the North and the South in 1862 Kentucky, which ultimately ended in a stalemate, is noted as being "researched thoroughly and written clearly" by Booklist contributor Roland Green.

In his 2004 book, Nashville: The Western Confederacy's Final Gamble, McDonough focuses on the end of 1864 and a Confederate Army offensive led by General John Bell Hood. Despite being outnumbered and poorly equipped, Hood and his troops were intent on taking Nashville, Tennessee, in an effort to reverse the misfortunes of the Confederacy, which was in the final stages of losing the Civil War. McDonough "retells the story with new insights and fresh vigor," stated H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online contributor Ben H. Severance, who added that the author "organizes his book as a fast-paced, chronological narrative."

Although McDonough's account of this daring but misguided venture describes the many factors that led up to Hood's attempt to take Nashville, much of the book focuses on the battle. The Union Army had heavily fortified Nashville, while the Confederate soldiers were cold and hungry and facing an impossible task. The author tells the story of the battle from the Union and Confederacy points of view and, as Severance noted, "smoothly weaves in the contemporary observations of various participants with the scholarly commentary of an impressive host of Civil War historians." As expected, the Confederate attack was successfully held off, and the Confederate troops were ultimately routed deeper into the South by a counter attack.

"Carefully researched and assembled, this is a book of lasting value," John Mosher wrote in a review for History: Review of New Books. Calling the book "a worthwhile study in battle command," Scott A. Porter, writing for Military Review, commended the author for his "analysis of the complexities and interaction of decision making at the tactical and operational levels."



Booklist, October 1, 1994, Roland Green, review of War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville, p. 234.

History: Review of New Books, fall, 2005, John Mosher, review of Nashville: The Western Confederacy's Final Gamble, p. 9.

Journal of Southern History, February, 2006, Larry Whiteaker, review of Nashville, p. 193.

Military Review, July-August, 2005, Scott A. Porter, review of Nashville, p. 99.


Civil War News, (July 29, 2008), John F. Marszalek, review of Nashville.

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, (July 29, 2008), Ben H. Severance, review of Nashville.

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McDonough, James Lee 1934- (James L. McDonough)

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