Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Paperback

By (author) James M. McPherson

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 944 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 198mm x 46mm | 600g
  • Publication date: 29 March 1990
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0140125183
  • ISBN 13: 9780140125184
  • Illustrations note: maps, illustrations, bibliography, index
  • Sales rank: 67,222

Product description

McPherson recounts the momentous episodes that preceded the Civil War including the Dred Scott decision, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. From there it moves into a masterful chronicle of the war itself - the battles, the strategic maneuvering by each side, the politics, and the personalities.

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Author information

James McPherson is Professor Emeritus of American History at Princeton University. Battle Cry of Freedom won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 2003.

Editorial reviews

With this major work, McPherson (History/Princeton; Ordeal by Fire) cements his reputation as one of the finest Civil War historians. The volume begins with a deft description of the ragged American army trudging into Mexico City in 1847. From there, the narrative speeds through 28 chapters that draw a precise and lively picture of what America and Americans were like in mid-19th century. McPherson delineates the issues that galvanized and divided the American public from the end of the Mexican War in 1848 to the opening of the Civil War in 1861, providing thorough explanations of the pre-war period's gravest crises - the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the prairie guerrilla war it started; the national clamor over the Dred Scott case; anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant violence and the brief life of the nativist Know-Nothing Party; and the panic over John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859. And McPherson's coverage of the Civil War is just as strong and clear. The author also addresses arguments about the root origins or that war and pinpoints major causes: hatred of slavery and blind regional prejudice. What distinguishes McPherson's work is his fluid writing style and his able use of anecdote and human interest to flesh out his portrait of the times. Social history and verified gossip abound and are used to good effect: the 1851 racing victory of the US yacht America over 14 British vessels in the Royal Yacht Squadron became the talk of the sporting world and, also, heralded this nation's emergence as an industrial and technological force; talk of U.S. Grant's drinking problem and how he struggled to control it is shown to have shaped the general's personality in many positive ways; etc. McPherson also works in many bits of trivia that, while they may not be of historical import, make his treatment nearly effortless reading. This new volume in the Oxford History of the United States series should become a standard general history of the Civil War period - it's one that will stand up for years to come. (Kirkus Reviews)

Table of contents

Prologue: from the halls of Montezuma. The United States of midcentury; Mexico will poison us; an empire for slavery; slavery, rum and Romanism; the crime against Kansas; mudsills and greasy mechanics for A. Lincoln; the revolution of 1860; the counterrevolution of 1861; facing both ways - the upper south's dilemma; amateurs go to war; farewell to the 90 Days' War; blockade and beachead - the Salt-Water War, 1861-1862; the River War in 1862; the sinews of war; Billy Yank's chickhominy blues; we must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued; carry me back to Old Virginny; John Bull's Virgina Reel; three rivers in winter, 1862-1863; fire in the rear; long remember - the summer of '63; Johnny Reb's Chattanooga Blues; when this cruel war is over; if it takes all summer; after four years of failure; we are going to be wiped off the Earth; South Carolina must be destroyed; we are all Americans. Epilogue: to the shoals of victory.