Battle Cry of Freedom
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Battle Cry of Freedom : The Civil War Era

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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 944 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 46mm | 599.99g
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • maps, illustrations, bibliography, index
  • 0140125183
  • 9780140125184
  • 62,098

Review quote

The definitive study, meticulous in its scholarship and compulsive in its readability Financial Times McPherson is wonderfully lucid... Above all, everything is in a living relationship with everything else ... Omitting nothing important, whether military, political or economic, he yet manages to make everything he touches drive the narrative forward ... historical writing of the highest order The New York Times A distinguished contribution to American history ... He has succeeded brilliantly. He has written what will surely become the standard one-volume history of the great conflict which forged America as a united nation Independent Absolutely brilliant ... McPherson has fresh approaches to the war's background, the four years of struggle and the aftermath Washington Post Book World McPherson wears with equal ease the hats of biographer, economist, sociologist and military historian .. Probably the best single-volume history of America's Civil War yet written Economistshow more

About James M. McPherson

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

Review Text

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)show more

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.show more