Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History 'Read it. It will open your eyes about race history in America. It will shock you for what it tells you about politics in America today.' Richard Ford 'A remarkably wide-ranging synthesis of the history of the 1850s and the Civil War ...that effectively integrates in one volume social, political and military events from the immediate aftermath of the Mexican War through the sectional strife of the 1850s, the secession movement, and the Civil War ...It is a masterful work' New York ...
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History 'Read it. It will open your eyes about race history in America. It will shock you for what it tells you about politics in America today.' Richard Ford 'A remarkably wide-ranging synthesis of the history of the 1850s and the Civil War ...that effectively integrates in one volume social, political and military events from the immediate aftermath of the Mexican War through the sectional strife of the 1850s, the secession movement, and the Civil War ...It is a masterful work' New York Review of Books 'Compellingly readable ...the best one-volume treatment of its subject I have ever come across. It may be the best ever published ...This is magic' The New York Times This book covers one of the most turbulent periods of the USA's history, from the Mexican War in 1848 to the end of the Civil War in 1865. With a broad historical sweep, it traces the heightening sectional conflict of the 1850s: the growing estrangement of the South and its impassioned defence of slavery; the formation of the Republican Party in the North, with its increasing opposition to slavery; and the struggle over territorial expansion, with its accompanying social tensions and economic expansion. The whole panorama of the Civil War is captured in these pages, from the military campaign, which is described with vividness, immediacy, a grasp of strategy and logistics, and a keen awareness of the military leaders and the common soldiers involved, to its political and social aspects.
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there is a lot of this book and it goes into an immense amount of detail. This includes the battles of the Civil War - well of course. My problem with the book in this respect is that assumes a complete familiarity with the geography of the USA and provides no maps to assist you in your way around say Virginia. The quite numerous maps it does provide of battle locations are produced in a limited greyscale rendition which makes understanding them very difficult.
Names of political and military protagonists come thick and fast and a few summary tables or a glossary of these many characters would have helped immensely.
I'm finding my way into the Civil War and my reading is meant to supplement a course I'm following. This book is not really an introduction for the novice - too long, too detailed; maybe I'll be glad to come back to it in a year when I've a better impression of the overall picture.
Aug 23, 2007
An unusual blend of scholarship and readabilty. McPherson's concise treatment of causes and events leading to the War Between the States prepares the novice for the "picnic" atmostphere at the start of the conflict through four years of hellish brutality. Hard to leave unopened and unfinished.
Apr 21, 2007
Simply the Best One-Volume Civil War History
This book opened my eyes about a lot I did not know concerning Civil War History and it is so well written that I couldn't put it down. McPherson covers the entire war including the period just prior to the war in order to put it in perspective. When he cites the reasons the war was fought he pulls from primary sources and I found much of it challenged what I was taught about the Civil War in school. I can't recommend this book enough.
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