Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era

Hardback Oxford History of the United States (Hardcover)

By (author) James M. McPherson

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 944 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 51mm | 1,361g
  • Publication date: 16 June 1988
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0195038630
  • ISBN 13: 9780195038637
  • Illustrations note: 16pp halftones, 15 maps
  • Sales rank: 161,187

Product description

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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Author information

James M. McPherson is Professor of History at Princeton University.

Review quote

what will surely become the standard one-volume history of the great conflict which forged America as a united nation. Godfrey Hodgson, The Independent _ probably the best single-volume history of America's Civil War yet written. The Economist

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)