This Mighty Scourge

This Mighty Scourge : Perspectives on the Civil War

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The author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom and the New York Times bestsellers Crossroads of Freedom and Tried by War, among many other award-winning books, James M. McPherson is America's preeminent Civil War historian. In this collection of provocative and illuminating essays, McPherson offers fresh insight into many of the enduring questions about one of the defining moments in our nation's history. McPherson sheds light on topics large and small, from the average soldier's avid love of newspapers to the postwar creation of the mystique of a Lost Cause in the South. Readers will find insightful pieces on such intriguing figures as Harriet Tubman, John Brown, Jesse James, and William Tecumseh Sherman, and on such vital issues as Confederate military strategy, the failure of peace negotiations to end the war, and the realities and myths of the Confederacy. This Mighty Scourge includes several never-before-published essays-pieces on General Robert E. Lee's goals in the Gettysburg campaign, on Lincoln and Grant in the Vicksburg campaign, and on Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief.
All of the essays have been updated and revised to give the volume greater thematic coherence and continuity, so that it can be read in sequence as an interpretive history of the war and its meaning for America and the world. Combining the finest scholarship with luminous prose, and packed with new information and fresh ideas, this book brings together the most recent thinking by the nation's leading authority on the Civil War.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 20.32mm | 385.55g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0195392426
  • 9780195392425
  • 1,077,875

About James M. McPherson

James M. McPherson is the George Henry Davis '86 Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University. He has published numerous volumes on the Civil War, including Lincoln and the Second American Revolution, Drawn with the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, which won the prestigious Lincoln Prize in 1998.
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Review quote

It will seduce anyone, Civil War neophyte or fanatic, for its authority and judgments...There is not a bad chapter in this book. This Mighty Scourge is a marvelous read from a master historian. Like all good history, what it makes you want to do is know more." * The Boston Globe * For readers unfamiliar with McPherson's work, [This Mighty Scourge ] provides a useful introduction - one that, it is to be hoped, will lead them to his masterwork, Battle Cry of Freedom (1988) - and for those who know that work, it provides numerous interesting footnotes. * Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post * James M. McPherson again demonstrates that he is our greatest historian of the war...they stand as a remarkably elegant and clarifying narrative exploration of the most basic questions concerning the Civil War, issues over which scholars and activists still contend...This Mighty Scourge, in fact, is an exemplary exercise in the contribution a great historian and eloquent writer can make to a people's understanding of themselves. * The Los Angeles Times * Non-fiction books, especially history, rarely earn praise as 'page-turners.' James M. McPherson makes the feat seem routine. A satisfying and insightful set of ruminations that will appeal to both specialists and general readers. Reading his book of essays might be no substitute for having attended his former seminars at Princeton University, but it might be as close a book-and most readers-will get to doing so. * Christopher Phillips, Civil War Book Review * Essays which collectively illustrate his customary mastery of the field. * John Y. Simon, The Journal of Southern History *
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Table of contents

PREFACE ; PART 1 SLAVERY AND THE COMING OF WAR ; 1. And the War Came; Escape and Revolt in Black and W ; PART II: THE LOST CAUSE REVISITED ; 3. The Confederacy: A House Divided?; ; 4. Was the Best Defense a Good Offense? Jefferson Davis and Confederate Strategies; ; 5. The Saratoga That Wasn't: The Impact of Antietam Abroad; ; 6. To Conquer a Peace? Lee's Goals in the Gettysburg Campaign; ; 7. The Last Rebel: Jesse James; ; 8. Long-Legged Yankee Lies: The Lost Cause Textbook Crusade- ; PART III: ARCHITECTS OF VICTORY- ; 9. "We Stand by Each Other Always": Grant and Sherman; ; 10. The Hard Hand of War; ; 11. Unvexed the Sea: Lincoln, Grant, and the Vicksburg Campaign- ; PART IV: THE HOME FRONT AND BATTLE FRONT- ; 12. Brahmins at War; ; 13. "Spend Much Time in Reading the Daily Papers": The Press and Army Morale in the Civil War; ; 14. No Peace Without Victory, 1861-1865-Part V: Lincoln- ; 15. To Remember That He Had Lived; ; 16. "As Commander-in-Chief I have a Right to Take Any Measure Which May Best Subdue the Enemy"
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Rating details

537 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 44% (234)
4 39% (208)
3 15% (83)
2 2% (9)
1 1% (3)
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