• For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War See large image

    For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (Paperback) By (author) James M. McPherson

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    DescriptionJames M. McPherson is acclaimed as one of the finest historians writing today and a preeminent commentator on the Civil War. Battle Cry of Freedom, his Pulitzer Prize-winning account of that conflict, was a national bestseller that Hugh Brogan, in The New York Times, called 'history writing of the highest order.' Now, McPherson has brilliantly recreated the war and battle experience of that war from the point of view of the soldiers themselves, drawing on at least 25,000 letters written by over 1000 soldiers, both Union and Confederate. He shows that, contrary to what many scholars believe, these men remained highly motivated and idealistic about the cause for which they fought, regardless of the obstacles and deprivation that they faced.


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    Title
    For Cause and Comrades
    Subtitle
    Why Men Fought in the Civil War
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) James M. McPherson
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 256
    Width: 136 mm
    Height: 204 mm
    Thickness: 13 mm
    Weight: 226 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780195124996
    ISBN 10: 0195124995
    Classifications

    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1KBB
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC subject category V2: HBLL
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T4.2
    BIC subject category V2: BG, JW
    BIC E4L: HIS
    BIC time period qualifier V2: 3JH
    LC subject heading: , , ,
    BIC subject category V2: HBJK
    LC subject heading:
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 03
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 01
    Ingram Theme: APPR/CLASSA, CHRN/LATE18
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15560
    Ingram Subject Code: HM
    Libri: I-HM
    B&T General Subject: 430
    Ingram Theme: TOPC/CIVLWR
    DC21: 973.7
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: HIS036050
    DC22: 973.7
    B&T Approval Code: A44093200
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    BIC subject category V2: 1KBB, 3JH
    LC subject heading: , , , , ,
    LC classification: E492.3 .M38 1998
    BISAC V2.8: HIS027110
    Thema V1.0: JW, DNB, NHK
    Edition statement
    Reprint
    Illustrations note
    bibliography
    Publisher
    Oxford University Press Inc
    Imprint name
    Oxford University Press Inc
    Publication date
    05 November 1998
    Publication City/Country
    New York
    Author Information
    James McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of American History at Princeton University where he has taught since 1962. The author of eleven books on the Civil War era of American History, he won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 1989 for Battle Cry of Freedom.
    Review quote
    This is an extraordinary book, full of fascinating details and moving self-portraits. The Wall Street Journal _ _
    Review text
    A grunt's-eye account of the Civil War. Drawing on some 25,000 letters and 250 diaries from 1,000 Yankee and Rebel soldiers, Pulitzer Prize - winning historian McPherson (Battle Cry of Freedom, 1989; Drawn with the Sword, 1996; etc.) examines what it was that kept these men engaged in a horribly bloody, and often mismanaged, conflict. Pondering the suicidal assault at Gettysburg that history remembers as Pickett's Charge, McPherson asks at the outset: Why did these soldiers "go forward despite the high odds against coming out safely"? Why, despite frequent opportunities, did they not all cut and run for home, North and South alike? Comparing his findings to data from other wars, especially Vietnam and WW II, McPherson concludes that the seemingly quaint concepts of duty and personal honor motivated the fighters far more effectively than did ideas of patriotism, states' rights, or abolitionism, although those concepts were certainly powerful; and, he notes, "the motivating power of soldiers' ideals of manhood and honor seemed to increase rather than decrease during the last terrible year of the war." Brave though these men were, their letters and diaries, filled with expressions of the loneliness and terror of combat, make for sobering reading. Many of the young writers (the median age of the combatants was about 24) did not outlive the war, and it is touching to read their hopeful words, even at strange turns, as when a Confederate officer urges his wife to buy another slave, remarking that, if the South loses, the money spent would be worthless anyway, while if the South wins, the slave's value would certainly increase. McPherson's own narrative is somewhat flat, but he touches on many points of interest, not least of them a thoughtful exploration of combat stress and the madness wrought by unrelenting battle. McPherson's newest addition to a long roster of books is valuable not only for Civil War aficionados but for students of military history generally. (Kirkus Reviews)